Dale Crockett began his journey as a musician back when he was nine years old, having been inspired by the group "The Monkees" to learn to play the guitar.  He had developed a deep appreciation for music even before that, though, having spent the first seven years of his life almost completely deaf, due to underdeveloped Eustachian tubes, the canals that run from the sinus cavities to the inner ear. Because of that condition, he was prone to severe ear infections. where thick, "cheesy" fluid would coagulate around his eardrums,affecting his ability to hear clearly. He had difficulty understanding anyone who spoke to him,and describes the sound as being similar to the sound used for the adults talking on the old "Peanuts" cartoon specials on television. But despite not being able to understand the human voice clearly, he could somehow hear musical pitches, and was able to tell them apart, an ability known as "relative pitch." He remembers spending several hours each day sitting on the floor in front of the his parents' stereo speakers, with his ears relatively close to the speakers, listening to different record albums from their collection. As Dale says "I was probably around 6-7 years old, so I don't really remember everything that I listened to,- although I remember that my mom and dad had several of the Herb Alpert and The Tijuana Brass albums, some Neil Diamond, Fifth Dimension, Glen Campbell, Vicki Lawrence - so I know they were just a few of the different artists I listened to back then. But it really didn't matter to me who it was I was listening to - all that really mattered to me was that music was something I could actually understand - something that made sense  to me."   When he got older, Dale began a series of operations on his ears that resolved his hearing difficulties. He admits that even today, he still only has about 60-70 percent hearing in his left ear, but he has learned to compensate for that partial hearing loss. Dale says "Having those surgeries every year for a kid as young as I was was pretty scary, but looking back on it now, I thank God that I had the surgeries, because if I hadn't, I'd probably be 100% deaf today. When the group "The Monkees" came on the scene, and had their weekly television show, Dale was hooked. "I know that a lot of guitar players my age were inspired by The Beatles, or even Hendrix, but it was The Monkees that did it for me," Dale says. "They were my favorite - my heroes. I remember watching their TV show every Monday night religiously, and especially liked the part toward the end of each episode where they'd perform a song. I remember thinking "I want to do that."  Dale began pestering his parents for guitar lessons, and when he turned nine, they finally relented and signed him up for guitar lessons at a local music store. "My parents rented a guitar for me for my lessons," Dale says. "I can't remember what kind it was - but it was a smaller, beginner's guitar - red and black with strings about half a mile off the neck. It certainly wasn't anything anywhere near what I'm used to now, of course, but back then, it was the most beautiful guitar in the world to me.  And it's a really cool coincidence - and pretty appropriate - that my teacher's last name was Pick. His name was Dr. Ernest Pick, and he was the French professor at the nearby Lake County Community College. and he taught beginning guitar on the side." Dale took lessons for about a year, learning all the basic fundamentals of guitar playing. During the course of those lessons, Dale actually got a secondary musical education - the ability to read music. I worked out of 'an 'Alfred's Basic Guitar" book for beginners," Dale recalls, "which taught the different notes on the staff and where they were on the guitar, as well as the different types of notes - half notes, quarter notes, eighth notes, etc. Being just a beginner and not knowing any better, I just assumed that learning how to read music was just part of learning the guitar. I didn't realize that Dr. Pick was actually teaching me something 'extra', that a lot of guitar teachers don't teach." After his family relocated to the central Ohio area, Dale didn't start taking formal guitar lessons again for about two years. In the meantime, though, he taught himself basic chords and strumming patterns out of a "John Denver for Easy Guitar" songbook which his older brother gave him for Christmas. Dale says "I'd heard most of the songs in that book, and knew how they were supposed to go, and so that helped me in knowing that I was playing the chords right and developing my rhythm correctly.  I've got several John Denver tunes in my live performance repertoire, and each time I play one - whether it's "Back Home Again", or "Take Me Home, Country Roads", I can't help; but to think back on those days when I'd sit on the edge of my bed with that songbook open, learning and mastering those chords."  It was also during that time that Dale was first exposed to guitarist Chet Atkins through his father's copy of "Chet Atkins Picks On The Hits."  Dale recalls "That Chet Atkins album was the first album I'd ever heard where the guitar was the featured instrument. I quickly became a Chet Atkins admirer, and even to this day, he remains a huge inspiration to me. Dale began taking formal lessons again early on in high school, learning the classical guitar style, and it was through those lessons that Dale was first exposed to the world's most renowned classical guitarists, such as Andres Segovia, Christopher Parkening, John Williams and Liona Boyd, and subsequently was exposed to the music of some of the master composers of the classical guitar repertoire - Fernando Sor, Francisco Tarrega, etc. These lessons also helped him develop his right hand finger picking ability and technique. Although he enjoyed learning the classical guitar style, Dale knew even back then that he didn't want to be just a classical guitarist, and endeavored to be versatile, with the ability to play different styles of music. So he started collecting different books on guitar technique, music theory, and different style of guitar playing, and spent the next several years teaching himself. In the meantime, he began performing as both a solo artist, and then as his musical skills as a guitarist developed, played lead guitar with different groups. One of the groups he played with - "The American Eagle Band", was chosen to be the backup band for a new artist showcase down in Nashville, TN during Fan Fair (now known at the CMA Music Festival), in the Tennessee Ballroom of the world renowned Opryland Hotel. Dale was the music director for the show, and had the task of receiving the cassette tapes of the performers, and creating chord charts for all the songs for the band to follow during the performances. The band was onstage for nearly nine hours, backing up more than 60 different performers. A few months later, the band signed with a booking agent in Canada, and embarked on a six week tour of Ontario, Canada, with their last show being at the Maple Leaf Hotel in Timmins, Ontario, Shania Twain's hometown. At that time, Shania was still an unknown, and came out and sang with the band one night. 
Dale Crockett
Mick Adams