After taking a few days to reflect and look back on the experience of writing this blog, there is so much for me to be grateful for, and so many people I have to thank for my life in music.  I will tackle all of that today.  I didn’t know exactly what to expect from all of this, but in addition to hundreds, if not thousands of new songs I learned, many of which have since been added to my many playlists, I gained so much knowledge and understanding of music from the past 100 years.  As I hoped, I saw so many cases where one album or performance helped to shape and influence the next, and so many of the legends resurfaced throughout the journey as their songs were performed by others and leaned upon for lyrical and musical inspiration.  I plan to spend the rest of my life working more diligently to find new music to discover, share, and enjoy, while also never walking away from the music that has shaped my life since the beginning.  For me, whether it is an album, CD, tape or digital stream, or even memories made at Red Rocks, McNichols Arena, Tipitinas, and several other stadiums, arenas, amphitheaters and clubs, I hope to never take any of those experiences for granted.  As I prepare to list my appreciation and gratitude for so many who helped me arrive at this point in my life, I have to start with the thousands of artists who made it their life’s work to share their talents and gifts with all of us.  As a point of access to all of this music and the knowledge I acquired, I am grateful for Spotify and Wikipedia, both of which were constant companions each day along the way.

     When it comes to my love for music, I have to start by thanking my parents, Jim & ML.  Their tastes in music couldn’t be more different, but there are songs and albums that will always be a part of me, that I remember from my earliest days thanks to music always being on and around our home.  This also has to include my sister Amy, who has attended shows with me since the 1970s, and along with Scott, has embraced the Struts as I have as a current favorite act in 2022.

     Three of my friends served specifically as inspirations and mentors as writers.  Two of them also blog, they helped me figure all of this out.  Thanks to Mike and David for their entertaining reads and their helpful advice.  I also want to thank my former boss, Chris.  He wanted to prove to himself and others that he could write and publish a novel, and he did just that, publishing “Creek of Bones”.  Any of you out there can do this, if you are so inspired.

     Next on the list, I have to again thank a select group of friends and family who went above and beyond with their support of music in my life and this blog in particular, as you saw a tribute to each in previous postings.  To the Mikes, Jim, Scott, Nils, Wandering Dave and especially Christie and Zach, I love and appreciate each of you for love, support, and encouragement.

     My infatuation with music ramped up in my teen years, and so many of my friends from junior high and high school were a part of this daily immersion.  Trips to records stores, camping out for concert tickets, attending shows, late night discussions and debates, and even the occasional air guitar contest, how could I ever forget those moments?  Thanks not only to Mike & Jim, but also to Matt, Doug, Shane, John & John, Joe, Chris, and the many people of Parker who made that experience a real treasure to recall.  And for those from that world who left us way too early, like Brandon, Eric, and Andy, among others, your impact on my life was meaningful and I only wish you were here with us to look back and laugh like we do.

     We just added to our club in college, and people like Monument Mike, Darren, Tim, and Sam, among many others, all helped me expand my aperture and musical reach.  It wasn’t always completely coherent, but for pure entertainment and absurdity, those four years spent in Greeley were probably the most fun I ever had, at least up until now.

     As I began my career, I was so blessed to make friends with Matt.  A phenomenal saxophone professional in his own right, we shared a trip to New Orleans with Shane and established a life-long passion for funk, jazz and all things spicy and lively from the Big Easy.

     As I neared and reached my 30s, a new circle of friends formed around our love for running, and while the primary objective was torturing ourselves on the open road, we often talked about and shared music with each other.  Wandering Dave, Dr. Mike, Dwayne, Steve, Jim, David, and Mike were the regulars at the time, and each remain an important part of my outdoor and musical life to this date.

     For the next 20 years, most of my time was spent at work.  The friendships I formed there remain a fundamental component of my daily interactions even now, and although many of them have preceded me in retirement, their influence on my life and the music and laughter we shared still makes me smile constantly.  The Drunken Republican himself, Mike, was my office companion for some of the most ridiculous times we shared, and along with Mark, Todd, Thunder Dan, Jeff, Brent and Mark, among others, the exchanges of concerts, experiences and stories carry on.

     For the first half of the 2010s, my focus shifted to watching my son perform and entertain in all different settings and venues.  I expressed this previously, but raw talent is only a part of the equation, and he and I would not have been able to share those irreplaceable moments of pride were it not for the guidance and friendship from Natalie, Jeff, Anne, Melissa, Gary, Steve, Kim and James, among so many others.  As he moved from the Music Shack to the Orlando Shakes, Orlando Repertory Theater and Lake Howell High, all of those voices played a key role in who he is, and also who I am, today.  He was also able to make lifelong friends like Phil and Ivan.  As he moved to Amherst College, he joined the Zumbyes, and added to that list with friends like Markus and Jacob, along with Stuart, Eugene, Brian, Emma and so many others, all of whom I enjoyed meeting and seeing perform.

     Around 2015, my life changed notably, and Charlie, Eric, Eric and Kurt were a huge part of helping me laugh and enjoy again.  Music was always around us, whether it be good or awful, but we always had fun, and you always had my back, just as you do today.

     Work and fun tended to intersect a bit more as my live continued to move forward, particularly as I relocated for several years to Virginia.  The workdays could be long and draining, but thankfully that allowed for some tradeoffs in fun at night.  To my dear friend Morgan, we probably spent as much time listening to Disney music as we did rock and roll, but your friendship through some pretty isolated times will be treasured forever.  To THE TODD, MICHAEL, and Christine, the ability to commiserate while rocking out to 80’s hip-hop at the Big Stick remains one of my favorite and most entertaining phases of a career that is nearing its end.

     Even within work, I found coworkers who love music like I do.  It started with Kelly, Nils and Debbie, and in my current role, it has been a great and unexpected surprise to realize how musically influenced Greg and Tess are, as the topic frequently bleeds its way into our daily grind.  I appreciate learning these common bonds that bring us closer as we take on one stressful situation after the other.

     As I have relocated to Florida, a new circle of friends has formed where I live, and I have quickly discovered how much music means to them.  For people like Joe, Jimmy, Brian and Bobby, music is a clear and constant passion, and for other friends like Chuck, Lewie, Vince, Dick and Christy, not only are they always thinking and talking music, but several of them have also encouraged and supported my journey as a blogger, as so many of these entries have been written since that relocation.  We tend to share most of our time together on the golf course or close by, and music is a constant presence in our surroundings.  I’m sure there are others I have overlooked in this list, and to all of my friends and family from everywhere I have visited, thank you so much for giving me a reason to laugh and put my music back on each new day.

     The deepest bonds and most enduring connections always come back to family, and thankfully, this is yet another constant source of discussion and exchange of music.  To my son Zach, my partner in life, Christie, her beautiful daughters Cailynn and Cenna, and our parents and family around us, thanks to each of you for making me laugh and inspiring me to think and listen to music new and old every day.  I am so grateful to have you in my life, and I look forward to a lifetime-plus of music together as family for as long as we can.

     There will be one more posting to come as I conclude this blog.  I will come forward with my Top 50 Favorite Albums of All Time, as if I was a voter in this process, after I review and look back through all of my writing over the last two years.  Until then, be well, and listen to as much music as you possibly can.  I can promise you I will be doing the exact same thing.

Me With The Struts

“We’re gonna rock around the clock tonight…”

“Just let me hear some of that rock and roll music…”

“It’s been a long time since I rock and rolled…”

“Keep on rocking me, baby…”

“It’s wasn’t a rock, it was a rock lobster…”

“Rock and roll ain’t noise pollution…”

“Rock the Casbah…”

“I wanna rock!”

Published by tacopepper

A music fan...

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