When I was a child, my father received an acoustic guitar as a Christmas present. Having a guitar in the house, I was naturally curious and tried to play it. I clumsily strummed the strings with my right hand while the thin and weak fingers of my left attempted to extend across the fretboard; only partially muting the strings as I played. My curiosity and love for the instrument grew, however, I can't say my father's love for it was mutual. Perhaps because I practiced and played his guitar any time I could. I was drawn to explore music. I was attached to the guitar. 

In 1983, that curiosity exploded into passion. While driving in the family pick up truck with my mother, I heard the first few notes of the song “Photograph,” by Def Leppard. It changed my entire world. The song flooded my ears. It filled my soul. I was invigorated by an energy I never knew existed or was missing from my life. I needed more. I remember my hands on the mushroom handlebars of my Huffy as I zoomed out of our neighborhood and downhill to Strawberries record store. As I vigorously pedaled home, I could sense the heat of the "Pyromania" record through the backpack I wore. I couldn't wait to listen to it; and eventually I wore it out. 

My infatuation with music expanded as I discovered bands like Iron Maiden, Dio and Judas Priest. There were many trips to the record store, and as my playing improved, I started listening to the players who would become my inspiration: Joe Satrianni, John Petrucci, Yngwie J Malmsteen, George Lynch, Jake E Lee, Zakk Wylde, and Akira Takasaki.

After a few years, I was playing in local bands, writing songs and trying to find a way to make music my life. It was at this juncture that I was faced with a decision; either music or the family/work commitments I already had. I chose the path that I felt was expected of me. For 30 years my guitar was no more then a friend I visited when I had a few spare moments.

My hiatus from music was filled with family, friends and experiences that made me the person I am today. I think back sometimes and wonder “what if “ but I wouldn’t trade the memories of my past for the world. All of the happiness, pain, hilarity, sadness and joy are now in every note I play; an expression of where I have been, where I am now and where I am going.

Yet, as I step off into this great adventure, I can’t help but be inspired by the opportunity to share my music ( and my journey )with every artist that has ever given up their dream so that they could live another one.

These songs are for you.

Jay C Swift