Today’s fourth story comes out right after 8:00 where our fourth guest is living out in Nashville, Tennessee. This is a summarized life story of how Steve Ross learned to reach self-actualization. Just as he has always been supportive of me and my career, he is one of my favorites. His CD is always in my car player, and now his story is on my blog.
“I’ve got a question for you. Are you self actualizing? Are you working on being a better version of yourself? Well, I can tell you, it’s never too late. My life’s journey has had way too many twists and turns to cover in this short story. Suffice to say I came from an extremely volatile background. One filled with death, abuse, alcoholism, lack of faith and betrayal. I never knew my mother, my father passed when I finished college and my brother took his life before he reached his 30th birthday. I spent the better part of my life in survival mode, trying to piece together some semblance of normalcy.
All the while, for some reason, I wrote down words. Sometimes it was a poem. Other times just a sentence or a group of words. I kept all of them in a box. I didn’t realize at the time why I was writing or why my box was so valuable to me. I picked up a guitar for the first time in college, as one of my soccer teammates at Towson was an accomplished player. I realize now that while God gave me the ability to play almost any sport, he shorted me in the music department. What I also found was that when I played or tried to play my newly acquired used guitar from Ted’s music on Centre St, that all of the past was gone.
You see, playing a musical instrument takes total focus, which ultimately allows one to escape any problems past or present. I found my crutch which would allow me to live for a better day. Needless to say, I played and played and played. In time my words turned into songs and through my writing and playing, I could live in the moment and hide from the past.
A few years ago, I sought help in trying to come to terms with the “pain” and the days of going “black” and I came to realize that all that we feel and all of the decisions that we make in life are completely on us. We can let our past destroy us or we can use it to make us stronger. It’s our choice. I did not like the person I had become over the years and it was time to change. I thought about what regrets I would have if I died tomorrow and I knew that I had to purge myself of the past, mostly through talking about things with friends and my cousins and my wife. They had no idea what I had been carrying around all those years. They also had no idea that I had been writing songs and keeping them in my box. It was at this moment that I decided to record a handful of my songs to share with my family and friends.
Somehow, I crossed paths with a super talent who had spent years in Nashville actually working as the house guitar player at the Grand Ole Opry. We spent the time together in his basement studio necessary to put together a full length CD. While I had no intention of doing anything beyond sharing the work with those close to me, the CD ended up selling in 18 countries and is now on Apple Music and Spotify under ‘White River Junction/End of the Line.’ The feedback I received inspired me to quit the job that I loathed and work on getting back to being the person that I once liked.
And while moving to Nashville and recently being recognized by the Nashville Songwriters’ Association as ‘one to watch’ is great, I realize that it isn’t all about music and writing. I’ve consciously sought out Christ and the church to help me find forgiveness for those who wronged me as a child. I also continue to seek out ways to help those struggling with homelessness and children who have gone through similar difficulties.
Life is a journey, but there is one pure truth I ask myself daily. ‘Are you working on becoming a better version of yourself?'”
You can find Steve Ross’ White River Junction band album on Spotify below.
Until tomorrow… rock on…