A Musical Ear

by Peter Twitchell

I come from a long line of musicians, including mom and dad. When I was born mom already had a pump organ that she and her husband had shipped up from Seattle in 1938. Dad was raised in Akiak and already was playing the guitar when he was twelve, before the war he was playing in bars.

I followed suit playing at the three and a half club in Sitka with my ILUQ Nick Dull. A couple years later I was playing with another polished band at Larry’s Club in Kenai. These guys weren’t beginners like I was – they’d been playing the circuit from Anchorage to Glennallen to Soldotna twenty years before I caught up with them.

“Johnny Waters and Country Maverick,” they were more than polished, they were “professional,” no nonsense group of guys, Johnny Waters, a Blackfoot Indian from Arkansas, Jack Fisher from Afognak, and Mike Young, Mexican Steel Guitar player.

Back in 2015, I played in bands “Kusko Fiddle Band”, “Northern Lights Band” and “The Delta BoyZ.” I really enjoyed playing with Mr. Jack Hopstad with KFB, and Mr. Joe Green with DB, and Mr. Joseph Andrew with NLB. These guys were professional in the sense they didn’t have hang-ups and their ego wasn’t a factor, they simply weren’t concerned who was the best, and they brought out the best in me.

You will notice that when we’re playing, and I’m playing with good guitar players that I’m inspired, motivated and in the groove with the guys. That is how I learned to play music, from the beginning back in 1966.

I’ve performed with bands outside the area. I have a friend from Nenana area, whose name is familiar with the fiddle bands across the state, Mr. Kenny Charlie, plays a mean guitar and has a voice, right up there with Fats Domino.

Mr. Louis Demoski, needs no introduction. He’s a great Athabascan guitar player who learned the guitar licks of Chuck Berry better than any guitar player I know. I’ve also played with the Queen of Athabascan women led fiddle bands, Ann Fears, plays a solid guitar and a voice, a cross between Janis Joplin and Aretha Franklin.

I’ve been fortunate to know the fisher brothers Paul and my good friend Chris. I know another guitar player, my friend and yours Mr. Nokie Edwards of the world famous number one instrumental group in the world, “The Ventures.” His mom is a Cherokee Indian, and Nokie is one of the good guys. He would never put you down if you were the worst musician, but he was privileged to come from a musical family and a long line of musicans. Thank you for a lending an ear.

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