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In the Spotlight: T.G. Mortale

Today we catch up with T.G. Mortale, who is not only a music fan, but also a musician/performer. T.G. is originally from Texas, currently living in Wisconsin.

MDS: What are some of your earliest memories of music in your life?

T.G.: My parents had a Ray Charles "Modern sounds in Country and Western Music" album I listened to all the time, and Nancy Sinatra's "These boots were made for walking" that I eventually broke putting it on the turntable at an age I shouldn't have been

T.G. Mortale: My style is probably "trying to figure out how to play electric guitar blues licks on an acoustic"

anywhere near anything. I was 6 or 7 when I got my first record player, and somehow had enough money to buy 3 albums:

Glen Campbell's "Gentle on my Mind";

Charley Pride's "Sings Heart Songs"; and Donna Fargo's "The happiest girl in the whole USA". Obviously I don't have the albums anymore, but I still listen to songs off all 3, so not a bad first choice I guess.

MDS: Who were the performers or songs that you remember most vividly loving to listen to when you were in your youth?

T.G.: See part of previous question for part of this. Music for me was mostly what was on television, Glen Campbell had a TV show, and watching Hee Haw was a weekly ritual. My first guitar heroes were Roy Clark and Glen Campbell and my mother constantly listened to whatever latest song Charley Pride had released, pretty much whatever the biggest country songs were at the time. About the time I started high school music

videos became a thing, I got my first guitar and ZZ Top released Degüello and...everything changed.

MDS: Were there any memorable live music events you attended?

T.G.: Stevie Ray Vaughan and his brother Jimmie together on stage at aqua fest in Austin playing the same guitar, still coolest thing I ever saw. I remember Mark Knopfler changing guitars all the time on Dire Strait's Brother's in Arms tour and being surprised at that, I'd never really thought about how many guitars might be used in a show before. Tom Petty was just cool, and I've been to enough Jimmy Buffet shows that I'm not sure how many I've seen.

MDS: Who are some of your favorite performers in SecondLife?

T.G.: Anyone that plays a guitar, particularly an acoustic, mostly because I'm trying to steal things. Max Kleene, Camme Carver, Collin Martin, and of course Marqs Desade. And I've stolen something from all of them, but I'm going to deny it if I'm asked.

MDS: Have you attended a RL concert or live music performance recently?

T.G.: The last live music event I went to was a bar on Broadway in Nashville. No idea who the performers were, just walking down the street and something sounded good Three performers up on stage, taking turns with covers and originals in a sort of songwriter showcase style format. The BBQ was good too.

MDS: These days, who are some of the performers/songs you enjoy listening to, and what is it about them you like?

T.G.: Clever song writing, clever chord progressions, and ways of playing the chord progressions.

Ryan Adams...Let it ride

Jason Isbell...Traveling Alone

Lukas Graham...Love Someone

James TW...When you love someone

Eric Church...Three year old

Jack Johnson...

Upside Down

George Ezra...Budapest

Dean Lewis...Be Alright

MDS: How old were you when you first began to play/sing, and what inspired you to begin?

T.G.: Started playing a trombone at 10, guitar at 15. I never really did any singing until a few years ago when I finally realized I was generally the only one that knew the lyrics to what I was playing. Inspiration was probably my grandfather, he played the piano really well and it was just cool to sit and listen, but you had to sneak up on him, he'd stop playing if he knew we were around.

MDS: Who would you say your musical influences were, and what was it about their music or style that you felt drawn to and/or wanted to emulate in your own music?

T.G.: Single biggest influence is probably Jimmy Buffett, just over music should be fun. Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top) Mark Knopfler, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Muddy Waters, Albert King.

MDS: Those are some pretty cool influences. How would you describe your own musical "style"?

T.G.: When no one is listening, everything is blues. My style is probably "trying to figure out how to play electric guitar blues licks on an acoustic"

MDS: Do you have some links to some of your music we can share?

T.G.: I have a youtube channel where I occasionally post some SecondLife videos, some of them are decidedly better than others.

and a soundcloud where I occasionally post some original stuff:

MDS: As a performer/musician, what is it that you feel you gain from performing? What makes it worth the effort?

T.G.: Personally, what I gain is improving on the guitar. There is something about a live performance and it needs to be good this time, as opposed to just rehearsing where there is always an element of I'll get it right in a bit.

MDS: What's the biggest challenge of performing for you?

T.G.: Scheduling and nerves, and which one is the biggest problem changes from day to day.

Thank you, T.G., for taking the time to share some of your musical history and journey as a musician with us!

Anyone who would like to participate in our 'Spotlight' blogs, whether a performer or fan, please email me at .

-♫ M ♫-