Catching the Dream
Music has always been a big part of our families, first with Howard then passed along to Debra. Howard was raised on a farm where entertainment was family and friends-oriented. Singing and "making music" were a part of many evenings, especially Friday and Saturday nights. Howard's older brothers and sisters played guitars, mandolins, banjos, pedal steel guitars, harmonicas and all sang to accompany playing. Rhythm was provided by strumming the guitars and an occasional "gut bucket" bass. Howard got his first guitar when he was 8 years old; a Sears and Roebuck special which arrived in a cardboard box. He recalls, "It was the happiest day ever. Until then he had played his older brothers' guitar ONLY with permission and great care. Howard learned cords by watching them play and then imitating when he could use the guitar. Since his hands were small, he had some difficulty in forming cords and first learned to play the mandolin. But guitar was his dream. So he continued to play guitar and joined his first band when he was 16 years old. The first band was a country and western band called the "Mel-O-tone Playboys". His mother let him play at the Saturday night dances since his older brother Robert (Red) was also in the band and would serve as a chaperone. Later, he formed a small band while in high school and played for school dances and at the local YMCA teen night dances. It was a trio with a fine piano player, drums (double on Stand-up bass) and guitar. Howard and the piano player did the vocals. In 1952, he joined the Air Force and always managed to find a guitar and some guys who liked to play. While in Japan in 1952, several of them formed a group and played at the Airman's Club on Saturday nights. Music was one of the ways he paid for his college expenses. He played in several bands, sometimes two or more gigs per week. He learned to play and enjoy many different kinds of music from country, blues, folk music of the 60s, pop, swing, to the mellow tunes of Nat King Cole. In the 50's, Bill Haley and Comets were his favorites. When Debra came along, she grew up with music. Her mother loved to play piano and Howard and his friends spent many hours playing guitars, banjos and having "hootenannies" at home on the weekends. Debra got her first guitar when she was eight. She learned to play, sing and make up songs. She loved The Beatles. She wrote her first song that has lasted through the years when she was nine years old. Debra and her Dad Howard enjoyed many evenings playing the guitars and singing songs together. Howard noted that Debra had soon passed him in musical skills in both the guitar and singing. As time passed, Debra went her way to follow a career in music and has created 5 of her own CD's. One of their shared dreams has always been to do some recording together, and in the summer of 2006, it happened in Santa Barbara, CA at 7 South Studios. Debra and Howard recorded 22 songs, and are releasing 2 CDs separately. The title of the first CD as seen above is "Catching the Dream". All the songs for these two CDs are tunes that Howard & Debra selected from their musical past. The tunes are divided into two CD's for their stylistic variance: Catching The Dream is a mixture of old songs sung by Howard and backed by Debra on vocals, guitar, harmonica and trumpet, and is performed with a full band. The second CD 'Turnaround' are songs the two of them sing together, simply guitars and voices uncut as you might hear in a living room hootenany. This second CD, Turnaround, is also available here on CD Baby and is named for title song Howard used to sing to Debra when she was a little girl. The title captures the energy of the whole project and a full circle lifetime of music together. These two CD's are a heartwarming project sure to please generations of listeners!