It’s like Brad Paisley says: guitar playing isn’t for everybody.
But it definitely is for Amarillo College speech instructor Mark Hutson.
Hutson has been playing the guitar since 1967 when his dad bought his first one. That was a “Kay” which he got at Sears for about $15. “The strings on it were like cables and were a good two inches from the neck and it sounded like hell, but it sure was good to learn on,” Hutson said.
Hutson had a love for music as far back as he could remember, but one memory that sticks out to him is when he saw the Beatles on Ed Sullivan and heard Eric Clapton play on a Cream album. That’s when he knew he wanted to be just like them.
“Except my mother wouldn’t let me grow out my hair because I would have been thrown out of school in those days, so I was a short-haired rock ’n’ roller,” Hutson joked.
He started his first band when he was just 15 years-old, and his high school peers thought it was the best band in Canadian. Hutson went on to play in a couple of other bands over the years, including while he was in college. But just like most other students, studying got in the way of playing full-time, so he just played solo in his college dorm room.
“I was playing with another guy with a great voice, and I could sing harmony and lead on the acoustic,” he recalled. “We went to a party one weekend and brought out the guitars and entertained everyone. There were so many people that liked to listen to us that we were getting invited to parties with people that we didn’t even know so we could play.”
He said that is one of his favorite memories of graduate school, because it meant they got free beer almost every weekend just for singing at people’s parties.
Guitar is not the only instrument Hutson can play. He also plays the piano and used to play the banjo and mandolin. He mostly likes rock and classic rock, but his favorite to play, especially with other guitarists, is the blues or rock blues.
Hutson also has taught a few people the basics and beginner cords, but he mostly just plays by ear.
He never did learn how to read music.