“I’m very dyslexic, and back in the 1960s and 70s, that was parallel to stupid in most academic circles. I could play anything by ear but my dyslexia prevented me from efficiently reading music. Although I did fool them for a while, I was around 18 years old when I decided to take up guitar and started writing music almost immediately. Once I was free of all the restrictions, I was ready to fly and my imagination did the rest.” Terry Craig – Pennsylvania @IgmuTanka5
GETTING TO KNOW TERRY CRAIG
by Jacqueline Jax
Growing up around music…
My mother was an accomplished pianist and vocalist. She insisted that all her children had a chance to play an instrument. I played trumpet from about eight years old till I was about 12 or 13. I’m very dyslexic, and back in the 1960s and 70s, that was parallel to stupid in most academic circles. So I went through trumpet teachers rather quickly. I could play anything by ear but my dyslexia prevented me from efficiently reading music. Although I did fool them for a while, I was around 18 years old when I decided to take up guitar and started writing music almost immediately. Once I was free of all the restrictions, lessons, and expectations, I was ready to fly and my imagination did the rest.
was written for my second musical play/rock opera about a primitive human living in the modern world. However, that project was left unfinished when my medical problems started back in the mid-1990s. All those songs sat for a couple decades. Ripening on the vine I guess you could say. A couple of years ago after deciding to return to the stage, albeit in a much more limited capacity because of my health, I started poring over dozens of my old songs hoping to find a few that I could still sing with my lung and pain problems. Blood was among the first to pop out of the folder at me.
The music scene in the Lehigh Valley…
is one of the best. We seem to have everything from reggae and jazz to punk and heavy metal and folk music, all playing in the area. But to be honest, I’m a bit of a recluse and I’m not much for the nightlife. Not that I never go out on the town. But I’d much rather be out in the wilderness or on some wild mountain top enjoying nature and listening to the musical sounds of tree frogs and crickets. Thankfully the Appalachian Trail is only 20 min. away.
Social Media Challenges…
I’ve been dealing with dyslexia all my life. So I never touched a computer until I was disabled and unable to work anymore. It took some time for me to figure it out. Social media and computers in general have been a bit of a learning curve for me. More so than even learning how to play guitar in my opinion. But that’s probably the dyslexia talking. In spite of this I really enjoy finally being able to get my video work, my music, and my ideas out on the Internet.
I have been dealing with that question for decades and I have yet to find an easy answer. The problem is that on any given day and even moment, my favorite artist can change. Today it might be Jimi Hendrix and tomorrow it could be Satriani. I’ll settle on Frank Zappa for a while and then the following day it will be some guy off the Internet I never heard of that I just happened to find on YouTube. But hey, he was playing one kick ass tune that he’d written and that’s all it takes. I’m also into traditional American Indian music as well, so the Black Lodge Singers or Ulali might pop up on another given day. I guess as a music lover you could say I’m a bit schizophrenic. But sometimes I can be a plus in the music business. Especially as a songwriter. To have so many influences is like having a catalog of possibilities at your disposal.
Who I’m dying to see in concert…
I’ve always wanted to see Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. I would also like to see Xavier Rudd. I hear he puts on a good show.
My health issues tend to keep me out of crowds. So if I’m at a concert I must really want to see someone very badly. Concerts can be a little rough on the handicapped. One would like to think of the USA as handicapped accessible, but that’s really not the case. Often venues will have a parking space, put up a few ramps and some railings around a toilet and call that “Handicapped Accessible”.. But for those of the disabled community using canes, and walkers, and wheelchairs, who find themselves in such a crowd, this can scare the hell out of you at times. A great deal of venues do what they can, but there is only so much that a concert venue can do to ensure your safety. People can be rude and even hateful towards the disabled. And so what some of us will endure just to see our favorite artist on stage is then turned into some kind of act of bravery. We have the same right to go out as everybody else. Even sadder is to see that same attitude from artists on stage as well. Creating an extremely hostile environment towards people who just wanted to see the show. HELLO, Performers out there !?! The handicapped community listens to a lot of music. Often, because we have a lot of time on our hands and we don’t get to go out very often. But mostly we listen to a lot of music because it gives us joy in an otherwise tougher than usual existence. And so the handicapped community supports and purchases a lot of music too… Get the hint?
As a songwriter I try to make it a point to avoid trends at all cost. To ride that trend wave you have to always be thinking of what will be trendy a day, week, or year from now just to keep up. The whole process gets in the way of my ability to create meaningful work. The music I write is a reflection of the world around me, the times I live in, the people I encounter. Just as with most artists I think, we are just a mere reflection of the world that is influencing us at the time.
Now if you ask me as a producer I would say trends can help you shape the sound of a song to within the parameters of its day. But that’s probably why I would’ve made a lousy producer at any other time in history. I like to experiment. And I think that’s acceptable today. So… Yeah, overall I would say throw the trends out the window and create something. Hokahey ! (Charge)
Perhaps there are those who would say my age and my disability have dulled my perspective of success over the years. But personally I feel more in touch with the definition of success than at any other time in my life. I created The Disabled Hiker with the hopes of inspiring others suffering from disabilities and dealing with handicaps to do the same as I have. To never give up the things you love. That you might have to change how you’re doing things, but never stop doing them. And that they can improvise, adapt to, and overcome anything that stands in their way. If I can inspire people with my music and videos or the things I do, this would be a huge success for me. On a separate note, it’s very difficult to see how hard my wife works every day to support us. I would like to be able to help support my family financially again. Even if it’s just in a limited way. I think that too would be success for me at this point.
Anything extra would just be icing on the cake.
If heaven exists what’s the first thing you would like to hear god say when you arrive at the pearly gates…
‘I picked out this great spot in the wilderness, just for you.’
The Disabled Hiker blog http://thedisabledhiker.blogspot.com/
YouTube 2: http://www.youtube.com/user/terzhc
ReverbNation (music) http://www.reverbnation.com/terrycraig?profile_view_source=header_icon_nav
SoundCloud (music) https://soundcloud.com/terry-craig-2