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Music man displays memorabilia

by Teri Vance

He has performed for Jay Leno and played the guitar at George Burns’ last show at Caesar’s Lake Tahoe in 1994. Now, Steve Crowell is sharing his memorabilia with the rest of Carson City.

“I decided not to hide my light under a bushel any longer and to go public,” he said. “Some people like to see this kind of stuff.”

Crowell set up a display at the Carson City Library on Wednesday with autographed photos of various celebrities he has come in contact with during his career as a professional musician and his series of educational books and tapes.

“I think it’s great – he did a good job,” said Victoria Mynear, who stopped by the library. “There’s a lot of people that come to the library who are older and it will give them a chance to remember.”

Crowell has dedicated his life to music, playing the bass, banjo and guitar.

“I’ve always had a love for music,” he said. “I’ve always done this and gone in this direction. I think it chose me. I didn’t pick it. There have been times when I tried to leave but it called me back.”

He came to Carson City 13 years ago from California in what he calls a “fated accident.”

A pesticide sprayed in his community left him and others ill so he left with his wife Beverly and six children Matt, Danny, Joanna, Andy, Leala and Patrick.

“I think Carson City picked me, too,” he said. “This is the place. It’s the land of the misfits – people don’t live on schedules, they don’t sleep regular hours. It’s the land of the free.”

He works out of Crowell Music Studio where he books his gigs and runs the mail-order business he began in 1979. He wrote his own program for teaching students how to play the guitar – blending traditional music theory with a more modern jazz style.

“My method seems to have taken hold,” he said. “It’s kind of popular.”

As part of the showcase, he displays letters from customers including one from Malaysia and another from a prison in New York.

“I must say that your books and tapes are a real joy and a personal blessing to me,” wrote the prisoner.

Looking at his collection of memorabilia, Crowell said he feels a sense of accomplishment.

“I feel like I’m at the end of the line,” he said. “I finally feel like I’m a ‘finished’ musician.”

Now that he’s finished, what’s next?

“Part of the excitement of this profession is the unknown – you never know what’s next,” he said. “Things are always alive and moving in this business even though people think it’s dying.”

Crowell’s exhibit will be on display throughout August.