It officially started backstage at the Irving Plaza in New York City when Johnny Cash shook my hand and asked if I was the new steel guitar player in Wilco. "Well, I'm not sure Mr. Cash. I've never played full-time in a band and I have this business back in Chicago. I mean they asked me to join but that's a pretty big step, it is a tough business."
He nodded and looked me in the eye, "It can be a hard road but if your heart's in it, it can be a good life."
An hour later as I watched Johnny from side stage I had tears in my eyes from the power of his music. Jeff Tweedy turned to me and said "Are you gonna join this fuckin' band now?"
A month later I sold my business and got on a tour bus for a 2-year ride. That was a decade ago.
Photographs by Jane St. Claire