R.J. Reynolds Building
I recently returned to my hometown of Winston-Salem for a few relaxing days and nights, staying with my parents and spending time with old friends. Can't begin to tell you how therapeutic it was for Guitar Dad. Here are a few photos I snapped with my iPod as I whiled away the hours.
It wasn't that I didn't like the ukulele, I just didn't consider it a ... well ... respectable musical instrument. Then I met Kevin Ecker.
He strummed that little four-string thing with a rare rhythmic aggression, a steady pulse, and a grip that was tight and true. Almost like Pete Townshend would play the uke ... in a way that was bold and powerful and, actually, quite guitar like. I tried on numerous occasions to talk Kevin into switching to the guitar. "Come on, man, if you sound this good on the ukulele, just think what you'd sound like on the real thing!"
He would have none of that. He was uncompromising in so many aspects of his life. I suppose "dedicated" is the more appropriate word ... dedicated to staying true to his ideals and passions and what was important to him.
Kevin was above all a man of great humor and fun. It's true that he was awfully silly much of the time, and I didn't always relate to that, given that my nature is serious and practical. But I always laughed with Kevin, and he always loosened everybody up, whether they wanted to be loosened or not. Kevin was also smart as hell, irreverent, fast-talking (and fast-thinking) and most of all a gentleman. He adored his family and friends, and would often get misty-eyed and his voice would falter when his thoughts turned to his loved ones.
Today, as we remember Kevin and grieve his untimely passing, I am deeply grateful to have met him, spent quality time with him making music and been welcomed into his inner circle by marrying his sister.
Thanks for always putting on such a great show, brother. Last call is never much fun, especially this one, but something tells me you're smiling and laughing and strumming the bejeezus out of that ukulele on your new stage.
The memories and music go on and on ...
Below is a video of Kevin shot not long ago by a co-worker in Chicago:
Click the arrow below to hear an instrumental song Kevin and I recorded several years ago. He's strumming the uke and I'm adding guitars. He had a different name for this song but it always struck me as "Spooky Uke."
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