Under the black and gray awning of the Busch Guitar Studio on Forsyth Street, Jim Spencer holds a Dobro in one hand and a cell phone in the other. The cell phone, says Spencer, is getting set to silent.
As this St. Louis entrepreneur and busy dad enters the studio, Jim Spencer’s demeanor seems to switch from executive to introspective. He explains that he plays the guitar for fun, and as a way to keep himself focused. As the owner of a successful marketing firm, Jim Spencer knows that having a versatile range of daily activities helps to keep the feeling of burn at bay. After thirty years of running his own company, Jim Spencer knows just how important that is.
Jim Spencer’s musical interests range from Pink Floyd to old school jazz sounds. St. Louis is a city ripe with budding musicians, says Spencer, and it’s a great town to meet other players. There are times when Spencer likes to sit back and just listen to other artists play; St. Louis is full of music venues, like the Old Rock House on 7th Street.
According to Jim Spencer, there is something about the sound of a guitar sending its melodic harmonies through the air. Playing music is a form of therapy that allows people to really get in touch with what they are thinking and feeling, he says. Psychologist use Music Therapy to help patients in their practice. Even garden centers in the area, chuckles Spencer, play music to help their plants get fuller and more beautiful. He isn’t sure if it works, but says it couldn’t hurt.
Aside from being good for the soul, Jim Spencer says that playing the guitar is just plain fun. Plucking away, finding new sounds, hitting the steel strings with a metal slide and letting the sounds trail off in different directions can make even a grown man feel like a boy again. And while Jim Spencer is not a boy any more, music does help him stay young at heart.