Oral History -

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Essra Mohawk wrote songs since she was a little girl! She learned the ability to express the feelings so many of us have about love and happiness using music. Her songs have been recorded by artists such as Tina Turner, the Shangri-Las, Vanilla Fudge and Cyndi Lauper, among others.

Hank Marvin and his buddy, Bruce Welch, formed the instrumental rock band The Shadows in 1958 in England. The highly influential group pioneered the four-member rock band format consisting of lead guitar, rhythm guitar, bass guitar and drums.

Johnny Smith played drums professionally with the Oak Ridge Boys and Travis Tritt, among others, before a group of investors approached him to help create the Songbirds Guitar Museum. Johnny was first asked to find the perfect city for the museum. In 2013, he traveled all around the states before finally suggesting Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Paul Franklin asked his father to help modify his pedal steel guitar, as he had ideas to create sounds and chord changes that were not possible on the instrument at the time. His father, also Paul Franklin, created and patented the Pedabro, which his son, Paul, used on classic recordings, such as “Forever and Ever Amen,” with Randy Travis.

Steve Gibson repeated, “I’ve been blessed,” which acted as a recurring theme throughout his NAMM Oral History interview. The sentiment comes from a review of his extraordinary career as a studio musician, producer, and musical director based in Nashville. At 19 years old, in the early 1970s, he came to town and was recording in a studio on his first day.

Guy DeVillez has always had a passion for music. At age 12, Guy started playing guitar and would collect odd guitar picks that he found here and there. He found colorful and unusual picks in music stores and after gigs in local clubs. As his collection grew, so did his knowledge of pick history.

Gail Davies was the first female Record Producer in Nashville. In 1973, she was encouraged to run her own sessions by Henry Lewy (1926-2008). It was not easy to establish herself as a producer, but she was determined. As a result, Gail has assisted the careers of hundreds of artists over the years.

Tony Boase started his career in music when he was 16 and landed his dream job at Mersey Music, a musical instrument shop on the Wirral Merseyside near Liverpool in the early 1980s.

Dr. Merryl Goldberg grew up inspired by music. Her parents wanted her to learn guitar, but she always had a soft spot in her heart for the saxophone and would sneak in lessons whenever possible. Eventually, her parents gave in, and after graduation, Merryl launched a 13-year career preforming with the Klezmer Conservatory Band.

Anne Fennell knew she wanted to be involved with music from a very young age. Learning to read music was difficult for her and yet, she was not discouraged. Despite these roadblocks, Anne was able to make her dream come true by teaching herself to read music. The experience empowered her to learn all she could about Carl Orff and his methods of creating music makers.