By Alison James
Music is a passion for local Clifton Hopson. He’s been playing for 55 years, but his first introduction to piano almost began with catastrophe.
“I was about 7 years old. I came from a family of 12, and I was the youngest. These people had given a piano to the family,” Hopson said. “So we went on an old flatbed ’53 Chevrolet pick-up truck, and the kids laid on the piano and held it … and they backed the truck up to the porch. We all let go and got off the truck on the porch. The piano fell off on the ground and all the wood fell off.
“My dad took a hammer and nails and nailed it back together. And I started playing.”
Hopson and his sister were soon playing in church – at Covey Rock Baptist Church in North Carolina, where Hopson is from – debuting their musical talents with “Take a Moment and Live.”
Hopson said he learned to play by ear, reading shape notes. He now plays every day he can – bluegrass, gospel and pop.
“I love songs – I’ll play pretty much anything,” Hopson said.
His instruments of choice are a double stacked MIDI keyboard and a 12-pedal Behringer.
“Music speaks to me,” Hopson said. “No matter where you go in this world, people speak with different dialects … But music is something that speaks to everybody. It is a language that can make you happy, soothe the soul, make you cry, lift you up – it can just do so many things.”
Hopson moved to Alabama 14 years ago and has branded his musical offerings, “I Sing Because.”