An old guy sings an old hymn
September 20, 2014
My wife has endured a lot of my singing down through the years. She’s always been gracious about it.
When a person grows up playing guitar and singing as I did, he can never really get it out of his system.
I still remember vividly the first time I heard a person play the guitar in person. It was some guy visiting folks across the street from my grandmother’s house in one of those old country stores that used to populate the highways of the South. I was just a kid who walked in to buy a Coke and candy bar, when I saw a man with a guitar strapped around his next.
He was playing whatever came to him, using steel finger picks on a flat top steel string acoustic guitar. I don’t recall what songs he played, nor do I remember if he sang. But the sound of his fingers on those strings burned into my brain, opened a door I have never wanted to close. How the vibrations of six strings on a wooden box can produce that sensation in a person I have no clue.
All I know is that I was hooked on guitar music, and knew I had to learn how to play it.
By the time I reached my early teens I had acquired a couple of guitars. But most importantly a few of my friends had become infected with the guitar bug, too. I spent hundreds of hours with a guitar in my lap, practicing, if you want to call it that. I say that because every moment I have spent with a guitar in my hands has been a precious one. When I am playing the guitar, I never want it to stop.
Anyway, I eventually added singing to the gig, and played all over East Texas, mostly in churches, but also at meetings of local groups like the Civitans, and Lions and Kiwanis. In those days folk music was big, and I was one of Peter, Paul and Mary’s biggest fans. Glen Campbell’s, too.
Throughout my love affair with the guitar, I have always preferred what I call homemade music. One guitar, one singer. Music that a person can make on the front porch without any electricity, without any frills, without fancy production work from a studio. Just a singer with an instrument in his hands playing songs that seldom have more than four chords.
My wife has been on me a long time to record the classic hymn My Jesus, I Love Thee, for her. It’s her favorite of the songs I sing. It’s also the song I come back to year after year, circumstance after circumstance.
I hope you enjoy it.