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What kind of music do you listen to?

I’ve been playing music professionally for over 18 years. During that time, I have been exposed to a lot of different styles and genres of music. I have done Greek weddings, African weddings, Hispanic weddings, Caribbean weddings, Filipino weddings, Russian weddings and even an Indian wedding. Every culture has different traditions and different music and I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing each, first hand. Even music played at American weddings can differ based on where the couple and their friends and family come from. No matter what styles or genres you want, we can accommodate. We have a huge library of music here and it’s constantly growing.

But what I listen too varies from day to day and it all depends on my mood and what’s happening around me.

I grew up listening to rap, hip hop and R&B. 90’s hip hop is still one of my favorite genres and always puts me in a good mood. For the most part, I look back at some of the music I listened to in high school and laugh at how ridiculous it was. I mean, I had multiple Master P albums, multiple! There are still some artists that I like from back then, most notably being Jay Z. I still think he puts out some of the best, most lyrically creative music, I have ever heard. Maybe it’s like this with all genres but I’ve noticed, particularly over the past 10 to 15 years, certain genres like pop and rap, have very short shelf lives. It seems as though a song is a hit one season and gone, never to be heard from again, the next. Maybe it’s because music is so accessible now that people just don’t listen to albums like they did when Doggystyle (my first album) or The Blueprint came out. I’m curious if the artists that I like now like Kendrick Lamar or Pharrell, will stand the test of time and still be relevant 30 years down the road.

Growing up in Spotsylvania (halfway between Richmond and DC), I was fortunate to get radio stations from the Richmond market, the Fredericksburg market and the DC market. Why does this matter? Because had I not had access to the DC market, I would have never been exposed to Go Go music. Go Go music is funk music with a lot of repetitive drumming and lyrics. My favorite go go song of all time is Overnight Scenario by Rare Essence. In high school I use to crank that while riding in my 89 Honda Accord with 4 12’s in the trunk.

In college, I really started listening to more country music and fell in love with artists like Alan Jackson, Alabama, Waylon Jennings, Randy Travis, Clint Black, Kenny Chesney and Brooks & Dunn. In fact, Brooks & Dunn – You’re My Angel was mine and Erin’s first dance. My love of country music is still around but I don’t really love the current sound of this country/pop crossover style. There are still some artists that I like these days, Jason Aldean, some Florida Georgia Line songs but my two favorite are Eric Church and Chris Stapleton. I could listen to anything these guys sing, I’m a big fan.

When I was young, every summer, my family would go camping in Shenandoah National Park. To this day, those memories are still some of my best childhood memories. Because of that, I was exposed to bluegrass music and remember it fondly. While I didn’t appreciate it fully when I was younger, I really grew to like it during and especially after college. One of my favorite bluegrass artists is Ricky Skaggs and his band, Kentucky Thunder. I got to meet him and some of his band members a few years ago and it was amazing. He was very kind and humble and watching him play up close is something that I will never forget.

Within the past 10 years or so, I’ve really began listening to classic rock a lot more. More often than not, a mix of classic rock, bluegrass and country is what’s playing in my house and in my yard. It’s the perfect mix for relaxing on the patio, in the porch swing or around the fire pit, drinking a beer, a bourbon or both. Just writing that makes me want to go home right now, throw a pork shoulder on smoker, pour and drink and light a fire!

I will say that there a couple of classic rock songs that stick out in my mind, More Than a Feeling and Faithfully. When my wife was pregnant with Cecilia, I would go with her to every doctors appointment. I wanted her to know that she wasn’t alone, and, God forbid something bad happen, I wanted to be with her (you know how nervous dads are). Well one morning, in the waiting room, I hear More Than a Feeling and for some reason, it sticks. I don’t know why that song and not the dozens of other songs we heard while waiting for the doctor stuck, but that one did. So now, whenever I hear More Than a Feeling, I go back to that day and all the nervous/anxious/excited feelings I had back then, come rushing back.

Faithfully has become an anthem for my wife and I. The lyrics seem to paint a picture of what life is like doing what I do and being married and loving someone who does what I do. I do appreciate Erin letting me do what I do and putting up with what she has to put up with so I can follow a dream.

Also, if you haven’t heard or listened to Jackson Browne – The Load Out, do it, it’s a great song and I feel like that after every good event that we finish. I’ll link to it below.

The last genre and probably the most unique genre that I listen to on a pretty regular basis is a mix of contemporary/pop opera/lyrical. Groups like Il Divo and Il Volo and artists like Andrea Bocelli and Josh Groban work their way into a lot of my playlists, especially after long wedding events. It’s very relaxing driving music.

As you can see, I have very eclectic musical tastes and that obviously helps me tremendously doing what I do for a living. If the artist or band that is performing has talent, I’m going to be able to find some enjoyment listening to them. They may not make their way into my rotation, but I can appreciate talent.

What’s my least favorite type of music? My least favorite type of music is music that has been over produced to cover up the fact that the artist lacks talent. My least favorite artist or band, Rascal Flatts.

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