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From a purely personal point of view, the way Rockie Lynne sees it, life doesn’t necessarily begin at birth. “When I was in the 7th grade I mowed lawns and saved my money until I had enough to go to JC Penney and buy a guitar. That was the beginning of my life.” Technically, Life Before Music – LBM – began for this singer/songwriter in Statesville, North Carolina, in the Piedmont region of the state where Interstates 40 and 77 meet. It was a small town where many of the residents make a living in one of the furniture factories and live their lives according to the strict tenets of the Southern Baptist Church. “Growing up in my family it was church, church, church,” Rockie recalls. “Several times a week, sometimes twice in one day. And according to Southern Baptists, everything is a sin.” Certainly, the notion of a boy, still too young to read a hymnal, who believed that his own words he was singing in his head were better than those he was hearing sung around him by members of the congregation, would have been regarded as near blasphemy, so he kept his words and his thoughts to himself.
And luckily for him, a Kodak moment that caught a 4-year-old Rockie holding his uncle’s guitar did not also reveal the passion in his young heart for music, inexplicable given the fact that there was none in his own home. At least not until he bought the guitar and shortly afterwards a record player from an unlikely source. “The First Baptist Church was having a yard sale and there was a cheap little record player with two albums for 75 cents. We were totally poor, so every cent mattered. But since the money was going to the church, my mother guessed it was okay.” Had she been familiar with the artists whose records were part of the package – KISS and Jimi Hendrix – she no doubt would have considered it far from okay, a fact Rockie was well aware of. “I knew I would get into big trouble if my parents ever actually heard the records, so I sat in my closet late at night listening to them really low and trying to figure the songs out on my guitar.”
“I have always gravitated to music. I don’t remember ever not feeling that way. I believed in my heart that I had something to say, songs to sing that were worth sharing, that people would want to hear. It wasn’t as if I had the goal of a record deal – that was hardly conceivable. I just wanted to write songs and make music. I felt that I was a success just because I managed to earn a living doing it.”
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