My first instrument was a banjo. I started playing around on it when I was just a wee bit older than nine, and have always found it suited my desire to make notes float and weave and drift by in little circles in front of my ears.

When I turned nine, my parents told me, "You have to pick an instrument." I immediately said, "DRUMS." Dad looked at mom. Mom knew what he was thinking. They smiled at each other.


They told me not to rush it, and to find something that I would really enjoy. Then one morning I was eating breakfast with my parents, who listened to the local AM country station religiously. Paul Harvey's "The Rest of The Story" was playing as usual and it was always something my dad tried to catch.  This particular morning just as the radio show concluded the station played a song rather than going to commercial break.

I listened to the sounds coming out of the tiny speaker of the clock radio in the kitchen make spirals and circles and as the Flat & Scruggs classic "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" continued to tear through the air, I decided that this twang was just what I would enjoy trying to emulate. I said, "I wanna play that."

My parents looked at each other again, this time with confusion on their faces. My mom asked, "Isn't that a banjo"?

to be continued...

JJ likes to get busy.