It happened back when I was 14 years old on a trip with my parents and little sister Maggie in Myrtle Beach North Carolina. That’s where I first found my love for the Delta sound. We were driving to Wal-Mart to get supplies for the week, and I found myself in the electronics section wanting nothing to do with the grocery shopping at hand.
I was browsing through the CD section when I picked up a Sublime album, with a picture of the late, great Bradley Nowell and his band mates. A true steal for any fourteen years old with a fifty dollar bill and a taste for Reggae. On the front it read: two for twenty dollars, it being thirteen dollars alone it would have been stupid not pick up another album.
There I saw it, and I didn’t know it yet but this was going to be one of the greatest investment I ever made. The holy grail of Southern Rock: The Greatest hits of Lynyrd Skynyrd. I had heard them on the radio before and liked the southern sound, but other than: ‘That Smell’, ‘Freebird’ and ‘Sweet Home Alabama’, I truly had no concept of what I had in my hand or the effect it would have on my life.
I didn’t actually listen to the album for another three days, being quite content with the warm Atlantic breeze and the songs Sublime offered. I finally decided it was time for a change and put it the stereo; IT HIT ME LIKE A GODDAMN TRUCK.
What had I been doing all this time? Where was this? Why had I been so stubborn? My Pops had been telling me about Skynyrd, Neil Young, and Clapton since I could remember but I just chose to ignore him. This was the greatest thing my ears had ever heard. So genuine, real, and honest lyrically, with so much electric thump it’d make your mother worry. I almost felt ashamed of what I had been listening to before. Not to the discredit any of the musicians and songwriters I listened to in the past, but this music spoke to me in ways that Billie Joe Armstrong and his ‘American Idiot’ punk rock just couldn’t.
I think the first time I got through that album I felt shame more than anything, probably because I had been so hard on blues and country music in the past, but since then I’ve really embraced my roots. Now I see the blues as a part of me and all these years down the road I still love Skynyrd.