Mike McKaskle// Nashville, TN

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Well, I thought about putting (aka- Pops) in the title for this entry, but I figured I’d leave a little suspense. For those who don’t know already, Mike McKaskle is my Dad, and probably the greatest reason I play music at all right now. I grew up listening to him finger-picking his 76′ Martin guitar- which he paid $600 for new, btw- and he and my mother would sing together in the kitchen after dinner, and at coffee shops and county fair sort of events in West Tennessee. When I was really small I’d sing with them, but mostly I got to soak up the influences of the greats like Doc Watson, Merle Haggard, Jimmy Rogers, John Prine, and Greg Brown, as played by my father.

I began singing with him again when I was about 17, and for my 18th birthday/ high school graduation, he got me my first guitar! He tried teaching me a few chords, but it wouldn’t be until the end of my first (and only) semester away at college that I’d start to really be interested in learning. One of the greatest joys I have is the gift of getting to share music with him, and it has been a connection that has carried us through difficult periods in our relationship.

He played in bands growing up, and most recently has formed a band with his fancy-fingered friend John Zajdel, under the moniker, “The Grindstone Plowboys”. Have a listen!

I Love you, Daddy! Thank you for the gift of you=]

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Maurice Barrett// Nashville, TN

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The first place I sang, tried to play guitar in front of people, and debuted my first attempts at songwriting were in the back bar at Cafe Coco’s open mic, which used to happen every Thursday night. Maurice Barrett ran sound for all the music there, and honestly I was pretty intimidated by him. I could tell he was really cool, and that he knew what he was talking about, and I knew my friends all shared a friendly but great respect for him. I would find out later, that Maurice (also known under the moniker 24/7) was a brilliant musician/creative person in his own right. He would never tell you that though- he’s incredibly humble. You have to do a little research or talk to people who’ve known him a while to hear any reports of his work. Lately the creative endeavor that has become more his focus requires him being behind the lens and capturing the art or experience of other artists and people. He’s got a really neat series going called “Dave’s Place” during which he spends time with artists (musicians, engineers, painters) interviewing and displaying their craft in a very cool way. I got to work with Maurice for one of these installments and let me just say- not only am I SO grateful to have that well-done interview/take-away show to send to people, but he just makes you feel so comfortable and at home in talking to him. He allows for a very easy, natural vibe, and just does such great work.

Love you 24! Thanks for the gift of you!

Pleeease do yourself a favor and go to his website to check out his work!
http://www.mauricebarrett.com