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Birth of the Blues

I honestly don't remember the last time I saw my dad. I know it was 1985, and I know I was nine years old. He was a concrete worker, who always smelled like a mix of gasoline carburetors and Quick-Crete. I still think of him everytime I pump gas.



He paid $35 for a 3/4 sized acoustic guitar the year before he died. Maybe for my birthday, or maybe a Christmas present. I don't know what the occasion was. Either way, I wasn't mature enough yet to put the time into really learning an instrument. That would take another three years and CMT.


So instead of learning chords or scales, I just found a pattern that worked from string to string. Second and fourth fret stuff alongside an open root string. And the very first songs I wrote were all built over that pattern. Someone eventually told me it was called the twelve-bar Blues, and that Robert Johnson had beaten me to that shit by 75 years. But the pattern served me well from the ages of nine to eleven... even if I hadn't invented the twelve-bar Blues.


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