Growing up in upstate New York, I was exposed mostly to country and blue grass. When I wanted to hear blues or rock, I would tune my tube radio to Chicago, late at night. Over the years, I’ve played some rock and blues (and like it! ), but I’ve always found myself drawn back to my country roots. I love the guys that I grew up practicing to, like Hank, Buck, Johnny Cash, George Jones. That said, there are great county artists right here in Texas and I’ve spent many nights at The Spoke or Gruene Hall, savoring that same country flavor I grew up with.
I first found a guitar at my Uncle Jim and Aunt Helen’s house; it was pretty rough, so after a year, my parents bought me a nice Gibson flat top that I still have today. I can still remember “Tiger By The Tail” which was the first song I could play and sing all the way through. My folks had lots of country records to learn from and we went to see local country bands , as well as big shows. At the Syracuse War Memorial, I got to see Johnny, June, the Carter Sisters, the Statler Brothers and Carl Perkins, all in one show in 1965! We even had jam sessions at our house. I was a Lucky Dog!
It seems like playing guitar and entertaining folks is something I’ve always enjoyed doing and, somehow, thought the years, I’ve managed to keep pickin’ and grinning, even while doing my stint in the service, working full time, and raising two girls with my sweetheart. I’ve been a Lucky Dog! I first played in a band called The Pacers, later named the Pee Wee Country Kings by a country reporter who heard us play at a local Jamboree. While in the Service I played with “The Nashville Sounds.” We were the only band on a small overseas base and the NCO and Officers clubs provided us lots of gigs. The Service brought me to Austin and I have never left, playing with the Armadillo Band of San Antone, Stage Two out of Giddings, and many years with the Carolina Band of Texas Band. That band played all the clubs and dance halls up and down Hwy 71 and 290. For the past 17 years I have been performing as a duo with my excellent harmonica playing friend, T-Bone, as the band, Jim and T-Bone. The Manchaca Fire Hall was one of our favorite venues as well as the Broken Spoke. You can still catch us sometimes at the Hyatt Lost Pines Resort in Bastrop.
Not long ago, a good friend introduced me to Greg Smith and Jerry Crees. I sat in on guitar and vocals a few times with these guys, and next thing you know, we’re calling ourselves The Lucky Dogs, and starting a website! I was inspired and musically rejuvenated when we started making music as this basic trio. I think what we are trying to do now is to combine our love of classic country with our deep appreciation, and fondness, for home grown, Texas style music. What could be better! We’re “The Lucky Dogs.”