I grew up in Pittsburgh, and moved to San Francisco after I got out of school. Somehow I got hooked on "that sound" from old Hank Williams and new Flying Burrito Brothers records, and started playing steel in the early 70's. It wasn't long before I was playing the honky tonks on Mission Street, paying my dues on country standards.
In 1978 I moved north to Sonoma County, California, because it was a better place to raise the kids. I gave up trying to play steel "for a living" in 1980 and took a day job. I still played on weekends, though, in bars and local social halls.
I didn't grow up listening to steel guitar or country music - it wasn't popular around Pittsburgh. Discovering Hank Williams, Bob Wills and the wealth of "authentic country music" was a major turning point in my life. I know that most steel guitarists grew up listening to the stuff, but I wonder how many, like me, didn't even hear Hank until they were old enough to drink.