September 06, 2007
My favorite songwriters
Originally published April 2, 2004
I've been playing my guitars a lot lately. I own seven of them, and they're all very good instruments. The 1964 Martin D-28 is the kingpin, but the others aren't bad, either. After I played on stage down in Florida, I started thinking about how music has affected my life.
Music has meant a lot to me for a long time.
I have a picture on the shelf above my entertainment center. My mama gave it to me as a birthday present two years ago. It's a picture of me, as a twelve year-old boy, playing a $19 Silvertone guitar on a picnic bench in the back yard. Bejus! I look young and innocent in that picture.
Recondo 32 and Georgia took a trip up to Clyo, Georgia, with me not long after I got that picture. They had a new camera that they wanted to test, so we found an old railroad depot that was covered in kudzu and almost falling down. I posed with a guitar on the railroad tracks for a couple of pictures.
I have the big picture of 12 year-old Rob mounted above the picture of 50 year-old Rob sitting on those railroad tracks. If you look really closely, you can tell that it's the same person. But you have to look really closely.
People often ask me, "What kind of music do you play?" That's a stupid question to ask a musician. I'll play any got-dam thing you want to hear, from Frank Sinatra to Barry Manilow. (I drew the line at John Denver-- that bastard wouldn't play any of my songs, so I never played any of his.) Don't ask me what kind of music I play. I play it all.
Ask me what I LIKE to play.
I like to play John Prine (I performed "Angel From Montgomery" in Florida) and I believe that Paul Simon is one of the best songwriters who ever lived. I copied my finger-picking style from him. I like James Taylor and Stephen Stills. Gordon Lightfoot was my mentor and my god for many years. I would love to hear him listen to my rendition of "Canadian Railroad Trilogy." I do that song better than he does, and yes, I play it on a 12-string, too.
I can play whatever you want to hear. But I'm better when I play want I want to play.
All content © Rob Smith