Brad Meador
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Apr 19

Music History

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A couple of folks have asked me about my musical upbringing.  I have avoided posting because I kind of think it’s a bit self-indulgent.  But all blogs are basically created to feed the author’s narcissism anyway, right?

  • My Mom taught piano while I was growing up, so I’ve always been playing music.
  • I took 10 years of piano, starting when I was 4. I can play two songs, neither very well.
  • I took up classical violin in 4th grade. I also dabbled with the viola.
  • In addition to my classical violin training, I played bluegrass and Cajun fiddle at contests all over Louisiana. I only won when my buddy John Johnson was exempt from competition because he had won the year before. I think he plays for Rascal Flatts now. My mom would accompany me on the guitar and my little sister would join on the washboard.  We were the Meador Family Band.
  • Around that time I also picked up the mandolin, though I’m still not as good at it as I would like to be. I’m not all that good at the violin anymore, for that matter. Not an instrument you can put down for a couple of years…
  • I took up string bass in 6th grade. In 8th grade I started playing in a semi-professional symphony orchestra.  The director of the symphony was Tony Kushner’s father.
  • I played bass with a group of professors all through high school to make some extra cash.  It’s good to be one the only bass players in the state.  We played mostly churches.  Trust me, there are a lot of churches in Central Louisiana.
  • I was going to be a String Bass Performance major in college until the Mechanical Engineering bug bit me.
  • It’s been years since I’ve played in an orchestra, and I miss it.  There are a lot of great community orchestras in the Bay Area, but I have commitment issues.  (And my bass will only fit in my car on sunny days…)
  • I was in musicals at the GPGC every summer 1983 – 1986. My crowning glory was playing Conrad Birdie in Bye Bye Birdie. This fueled an Elvis obsession that lasted for years.
  • I played electric bass in various Jazz Bands in high school. Freshman year they made me play electric bass in the marching band and that SUCKED.
  • I was an arts major at my high school, the Louisiana School for Math Science and the Arts.  I was in the 18 piece show choir junior\senior year. Yes, we sang and danced (unbelievable to me now) in shows all over the state. We appeared in Steel Magnolias.
  • I taught myself guitar late in college, mostly to support my singing habit. To date, I play it almost to the complete exclusion of all else.  My guitar fetish has proven to be an expensive habit.  More on that in another post…

Definitely a jack of all master of none thing going on here, but you get the idea.  For the record, I don’t think my story is much different than just about everybody who grew up with the arts.

Thanks for indulging!

Dec 28

Texas Music

Filed under: family, live music | Back to: Homepage

A quick note as I wrap up my holiday trip to Texas.  I got to see some good music while here.  On the Saturday before Christmas my Dad and I caught Rick Trevino and Asleep at the Wheel at the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar while my Mom and Cynthia shopped.  I had heard of, but hadn’t heard Rick before and really enjoyed his set.  I think my favorite song was his cover of Wasted Days, Wasted Nights.

image I have been an Asleep at the Wheel fan for a long time.  This show was a quartet rather than the full swing band.  What I hadn’t realized before was just how incredibly talented a guitar player Ray Benson is – I really enjoyed this set.  Way Down Texas Way is probably my favorite of theirs.  If you’re a fan of Bob Wills and Western Swing, check them out at the Broken Spoke sometime.

image On Friday, my sister, brother-in-law, B.P. (*) and I headed down to San Antonio to catch the Old 97’s at Sam’s Burger Joint.  These guys have been my favorite band for close to a decade.  I found the venue to be a little strange, but overall it was great to see the 97s at home (Rhett’s a 7th generation Texan!)  Despite some initial sound issues, the show was great and I came out with a better appreciation of the latest album, Blame it on Gravity.  If you haven’t seen these guys live, you really need to check them out.  Rhett is a superlative songwriter and has written one of the perfect songs (Question) and I’m always drawn to Murry’s songs (Up the Devil’s Pay) in concert.  A few other choice songs:

No Baby, I
Barrier Reef
Murder (or a Heart Attack)
Time Bomb

Ok, that’s more than a few and there are many, many more good ones.  Enjoy.

(*) B.P. = Baby Place.  My sister is very pregnant and already teaching BP about good music.

Jul 18

Rattlesnakes and Relatives

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Cheyenne in better days...FYI – the tag line for this blog is "a blog sometimes about music."

Apparently centuries of Australian breeding didn’t teach my Mom’s Blue Heeler, Cheyenne, that she shouldn’t go sticking her nose around things that rattle.  At the ranch this past weekend she took a bite from a North American rattlesnake and lived to tell about it.  There’s Cheyenne in better days to the right…

That’s not my story.

While talking about Cheyenne’s pitiful state, my Mom dropped this gem about my grandfather, Bliss Wilson.  Papaw did not like snakes at all, though his job as a soil conservationist in rural Oklahoma probably kept him in close proximity to them.  One day, on a drive back from fishing at the farm, he and Mamaw heard a loud buzzing in the pickup.  My grandfather, thinking it was a rattler, jumped out of the moving truck while it was still in gear, leaving my grandmother to fend for herself as it rolled to a stop.

Ultimately the sound was snagged fishing line being pulled through a reel.  No harm no foul I guess, but my grandmother still hasn’t forgiven Papaw for leaving her in a moving truck that he thought had a rattlesnake in it!