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The Magnificent Musical Mind of F. W. Lineberry

By D. L. Keur

Once in a while, you come across a talent so extraordinary, so unique, so exceptionally gifted, that it makes you pause — just stop in awe and admiration.  F. W. Lineberry is such a talent.  His musicality, his grasp of how to put notes together, whether composing or just improvising in the moment, and I say 'just' with complete understatement, his ability to turn a simple musical motif into something extraordinary is as intimidating as it is inspired.

I'm a classically trained, university educated musician with my own set of not unimpressive credentials.  Yet, musically, I'm a pretender by comparison.  I can play the notes, I can, within my discipline, step on stage and perform a work impeccably to please the ear of the harshest of critics.  I've done it.  And quit doing it, because of personal choices.  But I cannot hold a candle to the ability, the understanding, the depth of gift that is my husband's.

I didn't know Forrest was this caliber of musician when I met him.  I'd never heard him play — not at all.  And, honestly, I wasn't interested.  The music chapter of my life was long over …or, at least, so I thought.  Then, after we became husband and wife, I actually heard him, watched him, listened, and I realized, this man is a musical genius — not just a good guitarist, but on the par with some of the great modern minds, composers, and arrangers of the modern and post-modern eras.

Yet he has no formal, upper level training.  He was lucky to get what he got in middle school and high school.  But, thinking on it, knowing his gift, I think this is could have been a good thing — me who has been through that gristmill.   He would have had an uphill fight to keep his originality, his vision, his uniqueness.  Formal musical institutions want to conform, reform, and mold their prodigies.  But Forrest is a prodigy in his own right, and while he would have eaten up the knowledge and thrilled to the tools available at dedicated music conservatories and colleges of music at university, I think he would have had tough fight keeping his own vision clean and his gift untainted.

As I said, I had no idea of his musical ability, his outright talent, his driving vision, when I met him.  Not even after getting to know him.  I think we were several years into our struggle to survive before I realized, “This man is a musical prodigy.  He owns a innate, completely natural, extraorindarily comprehensive grasp of the medium that is sound and music.  He 'hears' differently — wholly.  He hears the nuance and the overt, the subtlety and the overarching motif.  He understands music in a way that I never even imagined — could never imagine.

I was and am, still, overawed.  It's why, after all these years, I agreed to pick up my instruments and play, again.

Listen.  Hear.  You, too, will discern the genius.  (For those of you impatient for the more exciting parts, skip to around 2:27.)

Rules Do Not Apply (slightly corrupted, recovered from an old RAM file)

Rules Do Not Apply, composed by F. W. Lineberry, performed by F. W. Lineberry and D. L. Keur.  (First half is simple and melancholy, then heats up to a heavy metal/classical experience to terminate in bang-crash dissonance at the end.)  I hadn't played piano in like ten years when I did this for Forrest, and, now, I'm just as rusty as I was back then when I sat down on the spinet and pounded this out, Forrest miccing it using tube socks to tie the mics to the front legs.  We were dirt poor at the time.  Still aren't a whole lot less poor, but a bit.  That's Forrest on guitars, synth, and drums, using overdubbing on a Tascam unit to get it all, since there were no other musicians around to help.

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