'We Are Our Parents' Children
"...we are our parents' children and the primary instrument of our fate is the behavior of your mother and father...Their joint unconscious psyche; the rages they suppress, the longings they cannot fulfill, the images they dream at night, basically form our souls..."
-A Soul's Code: In Search of Character and Calling, James Hillman
When I have the chance, I like to ask fellow musicians about their path into music. I often wonder if their parents had anything to do with their lifestyle, especially if it seems they are on the path of their calling, but who am I to be the judge of that? Recently, I asked one of my favorite multi-instrumentalists, Danny Knicely, about his background. His dad played fiddle and guitar at local dances, and at some point put an upright bass in his hands so that he could join in. That lead him to every other instrument you can think of. Well, my parents play the stereo.
The stereo has been one of the most used devices in my parents' home since as long as I can remember. I imagine you won't be surprised when I tell you that coming out of those speakers, still to this day, are the voices and songs of John Denver, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Mary Carpenter, Lucinda Williams, Nanci Griffith, Alison Krauss, Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt and Kate Wolf, just to name a few. And the instruments, obviously acoustic guitars, mandolins, banjos, and fiddles. My parents have had quite an influence on my musical leanings. It's not a coincidence that the music I create reflects the music that has surrounded my parents, even before I was born. Therefore, I cannot tell my story without sharing a few words about Bob and Kathy Peck.
Back in Mom and Dad's hometown of Rockford, IL, in the late '70's, you might have found my parents at a venue called Charlotte's Web. It sounds like it was a fine place to capture artists touring the Midwest, like Steve Goodman, Robin and Linda Williams, Peter Ostroushko, Leon Redbone, Leo Kottke, and Greg Brown. I don't know what prompted them to attend these shows, but what matters is that something interested them and they returned time and time again to hear more songs and stories. It worked out quite well when the location of my dad's work moved him, my mom, and my older brother to a suburb of Denver, Colorado. Turn's out Denver was a bustling hub of folk and bluegrass music in the '80's.
Out West, according to my parents, there were music festivals that folks could enter for the cost of a song or two. This, however, was not a price Mom and Dad were willing to pay. Marti and Doug, on the other hand, loved this deal. These two good old friends of my parents would carry along to the festivals their guitar and dulcimer. My folks managed to find other deals here and there though. For instance, my Dad and his friend Jeff, while at work, would listen in to the local radio show that would give out free tickets to upcoming shows for being the first to correctly answer music trivia. Their combined knowledge paid off countless times. Donovan, Leo Kottke, Tim O'Brien, Peter Tosh and Jimmy Cliff, and The Amazing Rhythm Aces, are just a handful of shows they attended in and around Denver.
The Response to an Opening
"[Openings] arrive on schedule, like molars. Each of these openings needs a response from family or culture in order to remain open, to become a part of the life...The conclusion is that if the outer world responds, the inner openings will remain open for life, and that corresponding power becomes an integrated part of the psyche."
-The Maiden King: The Reunion of the Masculine and Feminine, Robert Bly and Marion Woodman
Like I mentioned in a previous blog, I began my studies on the violin at age 8. I cannot thank my parents enough for their "response to an opening". Not only was this a financial burden to them, but I know their ears took a toll as well. Early sounds on the bowed instruments are quite unflattering and dissonant. This is not something that cleans up in a matter of weeks, it's more a matter of years. In fact, the cleaning up never ends. Classical music is not my parents first choice, but that didn't keep them from supporting my classical studies, and attending all of my classical recitals. Who would have known my performances would evolve later on into "lyrically driven neo-traditionalist folk music"?
Today, when I walk into my parents home, it's very likely that fiddles and guitars will be filtering out of of the stereo speakers. Or, my mom will be singing and playing her guitar. Yes, about 10 years ago, after I moved out of town, Mom began playing the guitar. Well, first it was mandolin, but guitar was what she ended up being more drawn to. She said she missed hearing the live music in the house. Now she can create her own. When Madeline and I visit, or she's visiting us, we often pull out our instruments and sing and play songs. Funny thing is, they're often sad songs. We have a few of those in our repertoire. Dad will be in a nearby chair reading a book, or using his hands to make Fendrick & Peck T-Shirts. It's good to live so near them again.
Madeline Fendrick and Brian Peck
We're happy to share with you stories from our journey as artists. Stories from the road, and stories from our home base in Stoughton, WI.
Logo Art by:
Robert Peck (Brian's Dad)
Cover Photos by: