There's no other way to describe the personalities of J.J. O'Shea and Jim Van Deilen when they get together and talk about music.
The gray hair is just an exterior element. Inside, they are still kids.
"Music is a time machine. When you hear a song, you remember how you felt the first time you heard it," O'Shea, 61, a retired Army master sergeant, says.
"This show's a great escape for me. When we get in that studio, I might as well be 18 again. The things you remember; certain songs bring back memories," Van Deilen, 62, a local defense attorney, says.
The "show" is the Sunday Ramble, which will be celebrating its 100th edition at 7 p.m. tomorrow on WJZE-FM (97.3). The show has a format that is traditional country, bluegrass, and folk music, but more importantly, it is a stage for local talent.
"It has been a kick for Jim and me. Some of these guys we've known all our lives, and they've never had the chance to get on the radio," O'Shea says.
"It's amazing to see them in the studio," he says. "We've been stunned at the level of talent that exists in this area that goes completely unrecognized."
Tomorrow's show and that of Oct. 3 will feature cuts from all the local artists who have been on in the past.
The list includes Eddie Boggs, Dave Browning, Bill Mason, the Hand Hewn String Band, Jess Riley, the Ottawa County Blue Grass Band, the Uptown Country Band, the Root Cellar String Band, the Silver Creek Band, Tom Dalton, The Moore's, John Galbreath, Jim Hurst, Jess Hurt, Bill and Jennie Price, Ann and Phil Case, Don White, Rodney Parker, and Scott Patterson.
"You take a guy like Jess Hurt, or some of the others, he'd be in Nashville except for responsibilities he has here at home," Van Deilen says.
"This show isn't about making people stars, but it does give the guys locally the chance to showcase their stuff."
"The recognition radio gives them gives them a rebirth almost, a spring in their step. A little recognition goes a long way for these guys," O'Shea says.
Of course, the musicians aren't the only ones who have experienced a rebirth. It's no exaggeration to say that O'Shea and Van Deilen gush when they talk about music, practically drowning out each other's words in an attempt to introduce a new name or group into a conversation.
The former tough-guy master sergeant often telelphones the steely defense attorney when a piece of local or even national music crosses his desk. "I'll say 'You gotta hear this,' and I'll hold the phone up so he can hear it at work," O'Shea says. "We're very lucky to do this at this stage of our lives."
No, guys. We're lucky to have you shining a spotlight on the abundance of talent in the area.
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