From the Editor: My Long Journey Home

My name is Dave Himes and I’m the owner of Sycamore Ridge, LLC and publisher of JamGrass.net. I’m husband to an ideal wife, father to near-perfect twin daughters, best friend to a scruffy looking nerf-herder, and hopefully a diligent employee for a pretty decent job. My dad’s family moved to Atlanta from Kalamazoo, MI (GreenSky Bluegrass’ home) and my mom from Louisville, KY. Bloodlines include Scottish and Irish, so the bluegrass roots run deep. Nonetheless, I’m Georgia born, Georgia bred, and when I die I’ll be Georgia dead.

My hobbies include:

  • Any outdoor pursuit, but especially hiking, camping, paddling, and mountain biking
  • Playing my Gibson acoustic guitar and Mya-Moe baritone ukulele, and
  • Listening to music

This site is part of an intentional effort to include my hobbies more in my day-to-day life. My thinking is that if I place some responsibility behind these hobbies, it will encourage me to pursue each hobby more regularly. JamGrass.net is the initial effort. Forthcoming efforts include a site dedicated to inflatable kayaking and another will target low-cost outdoor products. The revenue model for each site will focus on advertising and affiliate marketing.

The purpose of this post is to give you an idea as to why I am motivated to launch JamGrass.net. My musical journey is probably somewhat predictable but worth explaining.

Early childhood:

  • Listening to the Oak Ridge Boys sing “Elvira” on the radio of my dad’s truck while sitting between him and my grandfather on the way to Lake Hartwell (my dad is a country music fan)
  • My mom’s affinity for Neil Diamond (“Saving Silverman” actually made me realize how many good songs he had)
  • Listening to The Bangles “Walk Like an Egyptian” and many other 80’s hits on my Pocket Rocker, and
  • Wham!, George Michael, Billy Joel, Phil Collins, Genesis, Michael Jackson and Huey Lewis & the News.

Pocket_Rocker

Late elementary through high school:

  • A LOT of The Beach Boys, The Beatles, and other classic hits from Fox 97, a classic hits station in Atlanta circa 1989
  • NKOTB, MC Hammer, Tone Loc, and Sir Mix-a-Lot
  • The Spin Doctors, most notably “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong” and “Two Princes”
  • A brief country music phase (think Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson and other early 90’s stars) as I tried to fit in with the cool kids, and
  • Blues Traveler, Dave Matthews Band, Counting Crows, East & West coast rap (Snoop, Dre, 2-Pac), ska, country, and anything my girlfriend listened to at the time (including Ace of Bass).

College:

  • Freshman year was mostly a continuation of high school, just with more Dave Matthews and less Hootie
  • Saw Widespread Panic for the first time in Athens at Panic in the Streets, couldn’t hear it and didn’t like it much
  • Listened to PHISH while participating in extra-curricular activities where I perceived listening to PHISH was a requirement
  • More Dave Matthews Band and an increasing array of classic rock, most notably Led Zeppelin (which I thought was metal up to that point), Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix
  • Talking Heads (a girl I had a crush on liked them… thanks!) and Paul Simon
  • Then I actually started liking PHISH (Farmhouse) and Widespread Panic (and, I’m sorry, as much as folks appreciate WSP live, I really enjoy albums through ‘Til the Medicine Takes), and:
  • My first memories of what I perceived to be bluegrass came from these years: 1) The Gourds cover of “Gin and Juice” that everyone said was PHISH, and 2) “Euphoria” by Leftover Salmon was included on a “burned” CD a girlfriend made for me.

Post-College:

  • Mostly a continuation of the later years of college, just expanding my “jamband” exposure
  • PHISH, WSP, String Cheese Incident, Leftover Salmon, Keller Williams, moe., Perpetual Groove, Grateful Dead, Allman Brothers Band, Tea Leaf Green, My Morning Jacket… pretty much anyone that was invited to an early Bonnaroo festival, and
  • Major phases included a LOT of Perpetual Groove and PHISH> moe.> Leftover Salmon

The last few years:

  • My interest in Leftover Salmon leads me to pursue other similar bands (although anyone who has ever listened to Salmon knows that is fairly impossible)
  • Yonder Mountain, GreenSky Bluegrass, Railroad Earth, and the Keller Williams bluegrass projects have all brought me tons of pleasure the last few years, and
  • That interest has steadily grown to include more traditional forms of bluegrass and progressive bluegrass.

Hopefully you got some enjoyment or giggles out of my therapy. Hell, I got bored writing it so I’m sure I lost a few of you, but I wanted to lay the baseline of how JamGrass.net came to be… not just for you but also for me. The point is, I’ve been around the musical block but feel like I’m finally on my long journey home .

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