In 1976, I turned twelve. I was running with my dad on a regular basis, makin’ loops around the neighborhood in our small town for two or three-mile runs. We were loggin’ some miles, stretching our legs toward what would be my first real distance event – the eight-mile Dallas Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day.
I was also stretching out on the piano, getting away from just classical sheet music and picking more songs out by ear. I would make cassette tapes from records on my stereo upstairs, slap them into my dad’s portable cassette player, and carry them down to the living room where the piano lived…and go to work.
Bob Seger’s Night Moves album came out around then. The title cut was the biggest hit off that record. “Mainstreet” and “Rock and Roll Never Forgets” also made it to the radio. My favorite tune from that record was “Fire Down Below,” rockin’ and aggressive and awesome for a twelve-year-old kid to bang out again and again and again.
Bob Seger’s career took off with that album…and I followed it. More big records and more hit songs. I grew as a musician, nourished by many of those songs. “Sunspot Baby.” “Turn the Page.”
And like every other card-carrying bar band warrior, I have played Seger’s “Old Time Rock and Roll” eleventy-seven thousand times in clubs across the country for many years since.
Then, in 1976, I was running three-mile loops with my dad and picking out Bob Seger’s first hits on the piano.
Now, in 2010, I’m back in Dallas visiting my folks. On Sunday, my dad will be cheering me on at the Inaugural Rock ‘n’ Roll Dallas Half Marathon…and just a few weeks ago, Bob Seger was in the audience of our “Southern Voice” tour in Madison, Wisconsin as we performed some of the hit records I’ve played on with Tim McGraw…after first honing my craft…from learning his.
Thank you, sir.