From Brian: I was born in 1960 and grew up in South-East Michigan. Growing up in the Motown area, part of my musical background is that I started practising percussion at nine and was playing drums professionally when I was 13 years of age. During my teens, I was lucky enough to begin my musical career playing and singing with Jack Ries and the Michigan Weekenders. This was an unusual blending of older and younger musicians as well as older and newer music. I played with Jack's son, Tim, who went on to play saxophone with the Rolling Stones. During the same time period, I was playing with a rock band, Bittersweet, with one of my older brothers. Between the two bands, I was playing around 200 performances a year. While I was playing in these two very different genres, due to my brother's influence, I learned to play stringed instruments, which allowed me to enjoy and expand my musical growth. I have continued to perform for the past 40 years and still have a lot longer to go. My father, a jazz trumpeter, sparked all of our interests in music. It was not a question of if we were going to play, just what we were going to play. My biggest influences were my older brothers. They had natural abilities which they developed further through practising and performing and I followed their lead. I was raised with an eclectic assortment of music, so my musical influences range from Miles Davis to Jeff Beck to John Coltrane to Elvis Costello to Santana to the Tower of Power to Deep Purple, and the list just goes on. Being from Detroit, I was, of course, influenced by Aretha and many others who produced the Motown sound. I would be lying if I told you that The Beatles were not a huge influence on my musical life. As corny as they were (sorry about that, Roger.), they changed the way I looked at and listened to music. Being influenced by a wide variety of artists helped me to create my own musical style, which takes into account the five Ts (tuning, tone, technique, taste, and talent), which I use whether I am performing a cover song or my own original songs. My first original, “Changes in Me,” was written about my father, but I did not think that it would change me personally 20 years after I wrote it. I moved to Florida in 1981 and, after thawing out, found myself with an acoustic guitar on the beach, where I belong. During the late 1980's and early 1990's, I took a break from music to raise my daughter while I was waiting for “music” to return. I found myself disenchanted with the digital reproductions of synthesizers and midis. The idea of perfection through digital did not sound real to me, coming from a big band background. I re-entered the music scene with solo acoustic performances and duo work. I went on to play with some great musicians, like Phil Stokes (Pure Prairie League), Johnny G. Lyons, Eddie Rey (The Jeff Lober Fusion), as well as my own band, Sharp Project, but I always kept my rhythm and blues roots. I still live in an analog world and still play 30-year-old Stratocasters through Marshall amplifiers (no digital!). I do not consider myself a religious man, but I do believe Aretha Franklin is God. That being said, I have been blessed by working with some of the greatest musicians and producers in the world and also by the love and support of my family and friends throughout my life and would not be here without them. (You know who you are.) I am also happy to say that we have started production on my new studio album due for release in early 2014 on the Isis Record label with tour to follow. Thank you for listening.
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