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"There is a man I still feel deeply indebted to, not so much because I was given the chance of going on the road with him years later, in 1981, but rather because he championed and promoted contemporary folk and blues music on his highly informative weekly radio program on Austria's most popular music channel, each one being devoted to a specific performer, style or theme: the singer, songwriter and performer Jack Grunsky. Being a highly talented songwriter, guitar player and even painter himself, maybe the first star on the national music scene, attracting audiences in numbers other musicians of his days could only dream of, he set standards for quality and professionalism in the country's music business, which was still in its infancy in the early 70s.

He was a trailblazer for quite a number of guitar adepts - including myself - who later were to become real pop stars (deplorably not including myself!). It is rumored that it was him who taught many of them how to play the guitar, especially when it comes to finger-style. Some of them now can't help crediting their guitar skills to him, when asked to be honest. Anyway, he was ahead of the times here and broke the ground for many a peer's career. What made him so important to me, apart from his great own musical accomplishments, was that he broadened my musical view substantially by introducing me and his radio audiences to names, music and styles, which folk and blues music enthusiasts would hardly have heard of if they had depended only on the records that were available here back then."

Copyright © Michael Phillips 2007