|Barb performing a rockin' rendition of You are My Sunshine circa 1963|
I was the first born child, grand child, great grand child, great great grand child, niece, and great niece in my family. With this came the expectation of perfection.
My Dad's nickname for me was and still is #1, much to my middle sister's chagrin. She would point out here, "See, you don't even use my name!".
I was destined for greatness, if you lived in my head. How could I not be? When you are the first born child, grand child, etc, everything you do is held up high for everyone to see.
Example, someone saw a hidden talent in the way I played the plastic violin with the little crank on the side when I was almost two. By the age of five or six, I was playing guitar at recitals. "Don't make people beg you to play," Grandma would scold me. "God gave you a talent, use it!"
|School talent show.|
When you are #1, what is more alluring than becoming a rock star?
I got my electric guitar and amp while still in elementary school. I had a band. We played "Steppin Stone" and "Little Black Egg" at the County Fair. I began to write songs about drugs and butterflies. It was the 60's after all.
High school was the garage band scene, drunk teenagers listening to us play "Wipe Out" over and over and over because the drummer just loved his drum part. Sometimes I would take my guitar to school and sit in the hall, playing Led Zeppelin or Buffy Sainte-Marie.
|Oh that hair.|
From my mid-twenties on I decided to go solo and focus on songwriting. I started with benefit concerts in Lansing and open mic night at the Ark in Ann Arbor, and turned into a folk musician rooted in rock-n-roll. By my thirties I was winning awards and selected as one of the first Resident Artists on Isle Royale National Park. I even shared the stage with Bill Danoff, the guy who wrote Country Roads. We stood side by side, he in his silk shirt, with me singing harmony and playing guitar on a little stage in Silver Springs, Maryland.
|First concert of all my original music, 1984.|
People knew me, no matter where I went in my home town. Even in other parts of the state someone might recognize me. "Make me proud," I could hear my Grandma say. I thought I was on my way.
My mid-thirties and most of my 40's found me in Pennsylvania, starting all over with my music career. I made my way from Cape Cod to Atlanta, playing on weekends at folk venues and coffee houses. My favorite gigs were on the Cape. It looked like the UP.
To soon I entered my 50s. The age of digital downloads, smart phones, AARP, colonoscopies.
The job placement agency has special classes for "Over 50 Resumes". Hide your age, they say. Don't put in dates. And get rid of those wrinkles.
Attendance at shows drops to mostly friends. Ok, all friends. I am becoming a Beach Boy, a Mick Jagger, a Grace Slick. All five of my CDs show up on Ebay, and in thrift shops right next to Grand Funk Railroad and Steppinwolf 8 track tapes. An old press photo is found online for sale. "Veteran Folk Sensation" the heading reads.
I am officially a "has been".
|Me with dear friend Annie Capps at last CD release concert.|
Today I realized I will never be a rock star. I am sure at some point Ron Paul will realize he will never be a President. But neither of us quit trying.
When I look back over my life I am satisfied. Except for one thing.
I really wanted to be a rock star.