Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Who Would Have Thought?

It shouldn't surprise us when someone who is, for example, a major league baseball player or an actor, turns out to be a very good singer and guitarist. Someone we know as a major figure from television, film, or sports that we also discover probably could have been a star in the music business. Then again, who would have thought Les Stroud or Kevin Costner would be bandleaders?

At least for me, I'm thinking it surprises me because I see people like baseball pitcher Bronson Arroyo or actor Bruce Willis as experts in the field in which they became famous, and it doesn't necessarily occur to me they might be multi-talented.

It turns out Bronson and Bruce do have talents in other areas, which led me to search for other well known people that also happen to be very good musicians.

Peter Gammons is a long time baseball writer for the Boston Globe, Sports Illustrated, and the Sporting News. He regularly appears on ESPN, discussing baseball. He is also a guitarist/singer who has recorded an album, 'Never Slow Down, Never Grow Old'.

Les Stroud is known as TV's 'Survivorman', a popular Discovery Channel show in which Les heads out alone into various wilderness areas, and films his methods of finding food and shelter as he works his way back to civilization.

Les is also a very good singer/guitarist/harmonica player. 

Bronson Arroyo is a major league pitcher, with a 14-year career for the Pirates, Red Sox, and Reds. As a musician, he released his 'Covering the Bases' album in 2005, which includes the Goo Goo Dolls' 'Slide'.

Kevin Bacon has enjoyed a long career as an actor, with roles in films like Footloose, A Few Good Men, Apollo 13, Mystic River, and more. He and his brother Michael play music as the Bacon Brothers, releasing six albums over their career.

Kevin Costner, Oscar, Golden Globe, Emmy winner, is a long time actor with a long list of popular films, including Field of Dreams, Bull Durham, The Untouchables, Dances With Wolves, among others. He and his band, Modern West perform regularly and have released several albums.

Hugh Laurie is best known for his role as television doctor Gregory House, from the long running show 'House'. Laurie convincingly played the American doctor, and many American viewers were surprised to discover he was actually English, speaking with a near perfect American accent. He is also a singer and multi-instrumentalist, and has released at least two albums.

Bruce Willis made a career out of being the tough guy cop that ends up virtually every film covered in blood (usually his own). He also spent a good deal of time singing and recording several albums.

I was surprised when I discovered that not only is actor Billy Bob Thornton a pretty good drummer, but he writes songs, and sings too. Best known for many film roles, Billy Bob does pretty well as a musician.

John Corbett is best known for his long running roles on television in Northern Lights, and Sex and the City. His voice is heard often in commercials for Applebees and Walgreens, but like the others in this article, he is also an accomplished musician. 

Larry Manch is an author, teacher, guitar player, freelance writer, and columnist. His books include: 'The Toughest Hundred Dollars & Other Rock & Roll Stories', 'A Sports Junkie', 'The Avery Appointment', 'Between the Fuzzy Parts'.

He also writes about baseball for Climbing Tal's Hill, food and travel on Miles & Meals, and music/guitars on The Backbeat.

He lives in Central Texas with his wife and family.

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