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THE TIME I OPENED FOR AMERICA LAWYER, FATHER … ROCK STAR
no one was around to hear me or in a school chorus with other people. That changed when we went up to visit some family in New York. My cousin Jamie knew how to play guitar at the time, and during the trip she taught me how to play four chords. I loved it so much that when we went back home, I got my own guitar and taught myself how to play. I didn’t take many formal lessons, but when you have a sense of rhythm, you can pick it up really fast. Turns out, I have pretty good rhythm. I really liked the fact that I could play guitar and sing at the same time. It wasn’t long before I was playing in a band with some high school friends. Our band at one point was called “The Skid Marks.” I’ll admit I’m glad we didn’t make it big under that title. We played a few gigs before I went away to college, where I would join another band, though that never got serious either. Surprisingly, my music career started to take off when I was in law school. “It was an unbelievable experience, one I would have never imagined when my cousin first taught me how to hold a guitar when I was 15.”
During the summer between my second and third years of law school, I caught an America concert at The (now defunct) Boathouse in Norfolk. The thing is, I wasn’t an audience member; I was the opening act. The venue was packed, and it was just my guitar and me up there on the stage. The lights went up and taking a deep breath, I hit the first note and heard the gut-wrenching sound of my first “low E” guitar string breaking. Uh-oh. As I stood there with no music being played, the crowd was starting to get restless, and that could have very well been the end to the biggest gig of my life until that point. Fortunately, before the show, I’d done something I usually never did: I brought a spare guitar. My brother, who helped me out as roadie that night, (now also an attorney and an amazing drummer) quickly handed me his guitar, I plugged it in, and kept rolling. Pretty soon, I had the 3000-strong crowd back on my side. Meanwhile, one of the guys on the America crew kindly re-strung my guitar backstage, and I was able to finish my set playing my own guitar. In fact, buzzing off the energy of that packed house, it turned out to be an awesome show. It was an unbelievable experience, one I would have never imagined when my cousin first taught me how to hold a guitar when I was 15. I’ve loved music all my life. As a kid, I was a singer, and I had taken some piano lessons, but I was also really shy, so I only sang when
In my first year and during the summer after my first year in law school, I started booking gigs like crazy as a solo acoustic artist.
Sometimes I had a gig in the afternoon and another one at night. Nothing outlandish, just different bars around Hampton Roads. I was not bad, I had a good set of cover songs I could bang out, and that became my summer job. Eventually, I got a phone call from a local booking agent called Cellar Door. They had heard me during the school year in Williamsburg and were impressed. They were the ones who booked me to open up for America, and later, Leon Russell at The Boathouse in downtown Norfolk. After my
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