In the driveway was a 1958 Desoto, in the house a twelve-year-old boy and a
dad with a plan. “Will trade 1958 Desoto for electric guitar and amplifier”,
that’s how the ad read in the “Kansas City Star” newspaper. One call came
and I went home with a beautiful white Gibson SG Jr. and a Gibson amplifier.
That’s where it all started and I still have both the guitar and amp to this
Years have passed since that day but the sound of that gift my Dad gave me
still rocks and you can hear it on my new album “Secretly Famous”. I played
that guitar on a couple of the songs and let me say “it is a rock & roll
Secretly Famous is my seventh album but I really feel like it’s my first.
This album is different for me because I went further back into my roots
than on any of my other albums. Back to a time before I became “The Rev”.
Back to that blues-rock root that I learned playing that old guitar.
Secretly Famous was recorded at Bessie Blue Studio in southern TN. The
studio is in a 100-year-old house and is owned by the legendary multi-Grammy
award-winning producer Jim Gaines and his wife blues artist Sandy Carroll.
The vibe at Bessie Blue is like going to Grandma’s house, complete with
mauve curtains, pink flowered wallpaper and a huge Magnolia tree in the
front yard. As soon you walk in the door you feel like you belong; making it
easy to relax and get to work. Then add in producer Jim Gaines and look out,
Jim is the go to guy if you want to record electric guitar. Known for his
work with Stevie Ray Vaughn,
Steve Miller and a huge list of others. Needless to say working with Jim
was a dream come true.
I wrote most of the songs on Secretly Famous and had the honor of co-writing
the opening track Jupiter & Mars with my son Jason. The song was Jason’s
idea and once I read the first line, “blinding light, flash of chrome, hot
head blonde in a tricked out Ford”. I was hooked. There’s also something
about my playing on this song that is just wrong enough to be right and the
groove drags you into the song and you can’t help but feel it. All the songs
I wrote on Secretly Famous are for people like me. People that hurt, that
love, that laugh, people that need to forget about their troubles and enjoy
One writer wrote that I’m “a study in contradictions” and at first glance,
yeah I get that. That first glance seems to stop a lot of people, “you mean
you’re like real a preacher”? “Yes I am!” Well then what’s a preacher doing
playing the devils music? Here is what I know, there are only two kinds of
music good and bad and hopefully I’m making some of the good kind. I love
making music and people that know me know that I love to laugh, I love
people and I deeply love my family. I guess one contradiction is that I’m a
happy blues man! Well most of the time anyway.
I consider playing guitar as a gift. Throughout my life I’ve received many
guitars as gifts. In fact most of the guitars that I own were given to me as
gifts. They are constant reminders to me that music is a gift to us all and
it’s my honor to play it for you. Thank you for listening to my music and
sharing part of my life.
Oh yeah, the songs I played the SG on are the solos of “I Can’t Shake That
Thing” & “Starting All Over Again”.
For more info on the making and the songs from Secretly Famous visit