1 Richard Hudson 3 weeks ago We all have influences. Some small. Some great. We are a community of guitar players, and all of us have learned from others in one way or another. My Mom taught me my first 3 chords, and encouraged me, even before I started to school. I dreamed of being in the music/entertainment business when I was little, but for various reasons, that never happened. It would take a book to explain it all, and this is not the time nor place.When I got married in 1964, I pretty well took a hiatus from all things musical for over 30 years. I had never heard of Stevie Ray Vaughn until folks were talking about his helicopter crash, and I began to find out about him. I began to realize how much I had been missing. Not too long after that an evangelist came to our church that was the best guitar player I had heard in many years. His name was Dwayne Friend, and I vaguely remembered his name from my brief exposure to professional gospel music in the early 70's. He played guitar for The Happy Goodman Family. He won the very first Dove Award ever given in 1969 for Instrumentalist. The next year he won the same award again, along with another Dove for Songwriter Of The Year, with a song he co-wrote with Donnie Sumner, The Night Before Easter. He is remembered well by gospel guitar players for his rendition of Goodbye World, Goodbye.I credit Dwayne for turning me back on to my guitar playing. He took the time to talk to me about how I was neglecting a gift I had been given. He encouraged me to go to the CAAS in Nashville. This is an annual gathering of Chet Atkins enthusiasts from all over the world. Conchieta and I attended our first convention in 1999. The CAAS in itself has been a great source of encouragement.Last week when I was in OKC playing for some folks, one of the audience members told me afterwards that Dwayne was not well. Ever since we became acquainted, we have tried to stay in touch. We have played a few dates together, and even recorded a duet album together back about 2002 or so. It has been 2 or 3 months since I last called him, so the next day I tried to call him and got no answer. I tried another time or two with no answer, and finally this last Tuesday, he answered his phone. His voice was very weak and shaky, and he told me that was pretty much the way he felt. Weak and shaky. We talked a little bit about the usual stuff. You know, guitars. And he seemed to be perkier by the time we finished our conversation. I kept it short purposely. I hope he gets stronger real soon. I owe Dwayne a lot because of his encouragement.Well, you gotta hear him play. Here he is in his hey day.