Rural Missouri - March 2013 - (Page 40)
N E I G H B O R S
Losing his eyesight made Dave Reeves a better musician
drummer to sit in with us,” Dave says.
“Drummers are iffy and we couldn’t keep
one. His mother said, ‘Billy’s not here,
he’s on the road playing with some band
tep through the doorway at
called America.’ And he still is.”
Dave Reeve’s house in Maryville,
Dave recalls his musical education,
and you immediately know you
which was anything but formal. “It was
are in the home of a musician.
all the school of hard knocks. I remember
That’s because a cleverly positioned guitrying to ﬁgure out how to do a vibrato
tar plays the opening chord from The
on a guitar. I knew this guy doing ‘SunBeatles’ “Hard Day’s Night” when the
shine of Your Love,’ by Cream, you know,
Eric Clapton. They were on the ‘SmothIf the famous chord doesn’t tip you
er’s Brothers Show,’ and I’m watching
off, the upstairs room where Dave gives
Clapton do his thing. That’s how he does
guitar lessons certainly will. Guitars
it! I went to my bedroom, grabbed that
hang from the walls and are tucked into
old Silvertone and about bloodied myself
corners, leaving just enough room for
trying to ﬁgure it out. You learned a lot of
stuff just watching TV in those days.”
Some are common ﬂattops, the kind
Dave also learned by playing with
you used to order from a Sears catalog.
Charlie Ingram, a World War II veteran
Others are rare museum pieces, vintage
who lives in nearby Shenandoah, Iowa.
Les Paul Gibsons and Fender Telecasters.
Dave was fascinated by Charlie’s Gib“This is my ﬁrst inﬂuence,” Dave
son Les Paul guitar. “Here’s this skinny
says, picking up an old Silvertone.
100-pound kid with long hair, bell bot“That’s my dad’s old guitar. Dad bought
tom pants and probably a tie-dyed shirt.
that guitar new in 1950. I was born in
He let me in, let me hold that guitar. Oh,
1951, so as far back as I can remember,
I just fell in love with it.”
that guitar has been around.”
The two still make music together, and
The old guitar inspired Dave to a life
Dave’s collection now includes a “Charlie
devoted to music. Likewise, he’s been an
guitar,” this one a custom historic re-issue
inspiration to hundreds of people who
handmade by Gibson. Dave’s collection
have turned to him for guitar lessons in
numbers around 60, prompting many of
the northwest Missouri town.
his students to ask, “Why so many?”
“I had expected on my ﬁrst lesson I
“Let’s say I pick this one up,” Dave
would be learning to read music,” says
says. “I might be playing rockabilly or
Melissa Hull, one of Dave’s students.
pedal steel licks or country. My mind
“Not with Dave. We actually learned a
goes to that. When I pick up a Les Paul,
song, and it was a song I liked. Dave’s
Musician and teacher Dave Reeves didn’t let adversity interfere with his masI’m thinking more blues or rock stuff.
personality is what really makes him
tery of the guitar. Though legally blind, he’s well-known in northwest MisWhen I pick up this one, I might be
great to be around, and from a student’s
souri for his ability to play just about any style of music on his many guitars.
thinking jazz. They have different tones
point of view, so easy to learn from.
that lend themselves to different styles of
I have been taking lessons with Dave
music, and in my mind, it’s like putting on a dif“This has just been a hobby that has paid off,”
for over a year now, and I truly look forward to
he says. “Thankfully, I had this hobby that turned
lessons every Monday.”
Dave plays with a band called the Rhythm
into a source of income after I lost my eyesight.”
Students know Dave’s had to overcome a lot of
Kings, mixing things up with a blend of counDave grew up listening to his father strum old
adversity in his life — he is legally blind.
try and rock ’n’ roll. While he favors rockabilly
standards from Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter
Twenty years ago, Dave came down with pneumusic, he can play just about anything, which
Family. “The ﬁrst song I ever learned to play was
monia, which weakened his immune system. This
explains the demand for his lessons.
‘Wildwood Flower,’” Dave says. “Mom told me, ‘I
led to an attack on his eyes by a fungus. Doctors
His students have included his own son and
don’t care what you learn to play as long as you
tried to end the destruction using laser surgery,
daughter. Recently, he bought his grandson a toy
learn “Wildwood Flower.” In my eyes, you will
but the damage was already done.
guitar with the hopes he too will learn to play.
then be a guitar player.’ So there was my lofty
“I’m not 100 percent totally in the dark,” he
At 61, Dave is philosophical about the path
goal, right there!”
says. “It’s my center vision that’s affected.”
his life has taken. He says music has helped
When The Beatles hit the U.S.
As his vision worsened, Dave feared he would
him through some hard times.
in 1964, Dave was impressed with
no longer be able to play the guitar, which he
how their guitar licks made the girls
calls “the love of my life.” Panic set in as he
“It’s probably been the best psychiatrist
slowly lost the ability to see what his hands were
scream. He bought a Silvertone like his
I’ve ever had, and I’ve had a lot of things
dad’s and taught himself to play by
doing with the strings.
to deal with over the years,” he says.
“I’ve had marital problems, a brother
watching TV music shows such as “Hul“I would come up here and shut the lights off
pass away at a young age, a father
and play in the dark,” he says. “That was kind of
labaloo” and “American Bandstand.”
pass away. There’s been a lot of things
challenging at ﬁrst. But it made a better guitar
He played with several garage bands
player out of me.”
and crossed paths with the group Kansas.
that would drive most folks to drinking
or dope or something. I avoided that. This has
At least one of the musicians he jammed with —
Before he lost his vision, Dave did facalways been my therapy, come up and do this. My
Billy Leacox — went on to fame.
tory work, cut meat and drove concrete trucks.
guitar is my thing.”
“Every once in a while, we would get this
Through many careers, he held on to his music.
by Jim McCarty
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - March 2013
Rural Missouri - March 2013
Table of Contents
Musings in mud
The lure of tying flies
Out of the Way Eats
Queens of the court
Hearth and Home
All about mulch
Rural Missouri - March 2013
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