A dignified sideman guitarist with a Grand Ole Opry tour caught a young Jeff Golub's eye, and that memory stuck throughout the years.
"I didn't really pay too much attention to the front singer stars," guitarist Golub said during an interview from his home in New York. "I was about 8, or so, and living in Akron (Ohio). I felt the stars were a bit contrived. However, I saw the guitarist in the back, dressed in a suit, and he looked cool. You know, dignified. I wanted to do something like that."Jeff Golub will play the East High Auditorium, Wednesday, Feb. 11. Kirk Whalum and Phillipe Saisse will also play that evening. The music begins at 7:30 p.m.
Golub played some public gigs while in high school. After graduation, Golub moved to Boston and attended the Berkelee School of Music and learned all he could of progressive jazz.
A move to New York found Golub becoming a well-versed studio session player.
Some of the major names Golub has played and toured with include Billy Squier - with whom Golub spent three world tours and just as many albums - ex-J. Geils front-man Peter Wolf, John Waite, Tina Turner and, probably his most noteable gig, Rod Stewart.
"All of those artists are still great to me," Golub said. "Rod is still my favorite singer. But my best stuff wasn't getting out. That's why I wanted to front my own band."
The reason Golub decided to return to jazz and blues was the fact that the music of the times has changed.
"There was a time when the guitar used to improvise in pop music," Golub explained. "Guitarists were able to take extended solos and rock albums featured instrumental tracks. I think if Santana were just starting off in the pop-music world today, he'd have a bunch of barriers to break through. `Is that Latin or rock?' "
Golub said he's happy playing in smaller venues.
"I can get in touch with the subtleties of music that makes for great art. And I can touch each person who comes to listen."