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home : blogs_old : ability and accountability June 29, 2015

Ability and Accountability
By Richard Haddad, Prescott Valley, AZ
"[Children] don't remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are."
"Please watch out for each other and love and forgive everybody. It's a good life, enjoy it."

-- Two of my favorite quotes by Jim Henson

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

What's hidden beneath the surface of a man

 By Richard Haddad/WNI

"I don't call myself a guitar player," said Jim Greenwood as he sits on the front porch of his Dewey, Arizona home.

I carry a replica of an 18th-century pirate coin in my pocket every day of my life. My children call me cheesy because I tell them it's a physical reminder that with each person we meet there is some kind of treasure about them. But like the gold and silver coins discovered on the ocean floor we must be willing to look beneath the surface.

This week I met a man named Jim Greenwood. At first glance he appears to be an average 57-year-old husband and father. Like most of us he works each day to scratch out a living. I believe he installs floors and does other home improvements. He is in love with his wife and the Dewey, Arizona couple have children and grandchildren.

I have only met him once, but as we talked I noticed a guitar and violins in his home, so I inquired. I discovered that Jim's great-grandfather and great-grandmother gave him a gift.

"I don't have very many musicians in my family," Jim explained. "But my great-grandmother and my great-grandfather played the music for all the barn dances and hoedowns in south Arkansas. I inherited my great-grandfather's violin. In order to get it I had to be the first great-grandson born -- and there were six girls born before me."

Without any formal training Jim began to learn how to play the fiddle and the guitar. "I don't call myself a guitar player. I only learned how to play well enough to accompany myself," Jim said.

And so, on quiet evenings when the day's work is done, Jim Greenwood sits in his living room and plays. He accompanies himself as he sings into a single microphone. He's not recording in hopes of fame or record deals. Instead he is building a musical journal for future generations.

"I want to leave a legacy to the Greenwood family," Jim said. "I want my kids and my grandkids to know who I was and listen to my voice after I'm gone, which I hope is not very soon."

Jim thinks his great-grandfather would be proud that he learned to play that old fiddle. He hopes his great-grandmother would also be proud that he learned how to play the guitar -- at least enough to carry on a family tradition.

Jim was kind enough to share a sample of what he records. Below is nothing more than Jim, an old guitar and a microphone in the living room of a modest Dewey home. The song is "Look Heart, No Hands" made popular by country music superstar Randy Travis. I've heard Randy Travis sing it, and while Travis sings it well there is something unique and wonderful about the way Jim Greenwood sings it -- it's the sincerity that comes through from a man who wants to leave something behind for his children. Listen carefully and you'll find a treasure.

Click "play" to hear Jim Greenwood singing "Look Heart, No Hands."

Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, September 07, 2010
Article comment by: Raelynn W

I absolutely loved your blog "What's hidden beneath the surface of a man"... this is definitely one of my favorites. I do not know Jim Greenwood but after reading your blog I feel like I WANT to know him. It is beautifully written...and the son's comments (below) are incredibly touching.

Posted: Sunday, September 05, 2010
Article comment by: Gene Harrison

I know Jim and must say that the person he portrays to be in public is the person he is behind closed doors. What you see is what you get and im proud to call him my friend. This is a good picture of jim, But if you could look inside of him you would see that the guitar hes holding would be dwarfed by the size of his heart. I wish you all that life has to offer, and hope to remain your friend for many years to come.

Posted: Saturday, September 04, 2010
Article comment by: Connie Grove

Awesome, thats what music should sound like. Thank you for sharing.

Posted: Saturday, September 04, 2010
Article comment by: Stevie Lee M

I like how you acquired your violin. It was touching

Posted: Saturday, September 04, 2010
Article comment by: Mike Blachett

To be at the core of a very proud family as Jimmy Greenwood described depicts the ultimate and most sacred love a family member can have for his Dad. I am the product of a divorced family and I want Mr. Greenwood to know my Dad also has taught us integrity and good character. This goes a lot deeper than music as he taught us to respect his new wife as well as love her..Dad's are awesome.The only glitch is: my Dad can't sing but you have a great voice! THanks, Mike

Posted: Saturday, September 04, 2010
Article comment by: Listening Again

I came back to this blog again today just to listen to Mr. Greenwood's song again. His style is so real.... he makes it more personal and I feel like he is not just singing the words. He feels it and he makes it real for us. Thank you for sharing this with us.

Posted: Saturday, September 04, 2010
Article comment by: K S

If he ever plays in a public venue, please let us know!! I would love to attend.

Posted: Friday, September 03, 2010
Article comment by: Jimmy Greenwood

The songs sound awesome! I hope you know how proud I am to call myself your oldest son! Your Granchildren love your voice, and I am so happy that now we have a way to hear you all the time. There are only so many people that I have met in my 28 years that I can say are truly genuine! I believe that our voices are a reflection of our character, and so it is no wonder that yours is so beautiful. You are the core of a very proud family!!! I hope that I can grow to be half the father that you have been to me. Thank you for everything.
Your Son Jimmy-

Posted: Friday, September 03, 2010
Article comment by: RickinPV - It runs in their family

Jim is a personal acquaintance of mine - in fact he is holding my old guitar in the picture. If you like Jim's song, you should hear some of his son's Jimmy's songs... music is in their blood ... Rock on Jim !!

Posted: Friday, September 03, 2010
Article comment by: ellie lou

Wow. It was simply wonderful! As Stella said: lovely. Thank you.

Posted: Thursday, September 02, 2010
Article comment by: PV reader

Mr. Greenwood. I very much enjoyed your rendition of Look Heart, No Hands. I liked the way you made it your own. Your voice conveys a certain honesty and humility that makes it unique. Very nice, thank you.

Posted: Wednesday, September 01, 2010
Article comment by: Stella Sgro

Dear Mr. Greenwood,
I am 89 years old and come from a musical family. I listened to your song and it was lovely. You have a very nice clear voice. I need to tell you my husband passed away 10 years ago and the guitar you are holding is the exact same one (ovation??) he loved and played. My son has it now and my girl has his Martin guitar. Thank you for the memories and if you'll excuse me for saying handsome too.
Best Wishes to you and your family,
Mrs. Stella D'aloisio Sgro

Posted: Wednesday, September 01, 2010
Article comment by: Lynda McLaughlin

Hi! I was unable to activate the music but I've heard Jim play and sing..his voice is smooth and right on tune. As a fellow musician I can say what a pleasure it is to listen to him. My husband and I enjoyed the article very much Mr. Haddad written so that it shows definite visuals of a man,his wife and family that I know he loves very much. Ciao bella.

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