Art wasn’t famous. He played in bars and restaurants, small gatherings and festivals. He made some records of his own, but they weren’t exactly chartbusters, so he made a living writing songs and playing with other musicians in Nashville (with some side trips into other jobs to pay the bills). People didn’t talk about A.J. Masters; the paparazzi didn’t follow him. But I always knew who he was.
See, my aunt was his friend. She knew Art for something like forty years. She used to go watch him play in those bars and restaurants, and sometimes she’d take me along. We went to see him last a couple years ago, in the courtyard of a little church. His father had just passed away, and he was in town for that sad business, but he made some time to visit old friends and play some tunes. When my aunt dropped by this morning to wish me happy birthday, she also delivered the news that Art had died a couple weeks ago. She said it was the first time she could talk about it without bursting into tears. There’s already been services and memorials in Nashville, but they’re hoping to get something done out here in SoCal for him soon.
Really, that’s all I’ve got. Enjoy the music. Artie sure did.