When one thinks of musical legends on the OBX, there are a few names that readily come up. They differ depending on the individual. Which genre of music? What age group? What constitutes a “musical legend”? But ultimately, there’s only a handful worthy of that lofty title.
Take, for example, one William Collins. You might pause for a second and think, “Who?” Well, insert the name “Mojo” in between William and Collins and you know exactly who I’m talking about, whether you’re young, old or somewhere in between.
After nearly a half century on the beach, his name and face are instantly recognizable. His guitar skills are (and always have been) at a level guys like me stopped dreaming about attaining, decades ago. Yet musically, he never stops striving to write new songs, release new products, or give his best while playing live. A tuneful perpetual motion machine.
Given all that, this summer Mojo faces the same challenges that the rest of us mere mortals face: COVID-19. His challenge is a bit more daunting because of his recent health issues with his heart.
I posed a few questions and here are his answers.
What are your thoughts on the COVID-19 pandemic?
I have been here on the Outer Banks now for almost five decades. I am probably the most celebrated Original Musician living out here. I have seen so many changes in our community and although change is good, it brings things here … like the virus. North Carolina is experiencing a burst in cases of COVID-19 at the present time. I am sure this will have some effect on how and when things return to some sort of normalcy.
Positively speaking, we are all hoping for a better tomorrow. We have surpassed 100,000 lives lost, many more than the Vietnam war. I am praying that the US will have some sort of vaccine soon to combat this invisible foe we are facing. This time will truly justify how strong Americans are in their beliefs of faith and prosperity. May God help us all.
What has been the hardest part of dealing with the pandemic?
I have used this time to compose new ideas for future songs of a forthcoming release in 2020. Being a traveling musician that performs all over the USA, it has given me time to rest and do some projects that I would normally not have the time to do.
What have you been doing during the shutdown?
Writing and enjoying the fresh air and ozone that the ocean produces in this part of the world.
Have you started or completed any projects?
Yes, I have two projects currently on the horizon.
What have you missed the most?
I have not missed traffic and the pollution it brings with it!
What concerns you going ahead?
I am a believer and believe all this will eventually get me where I am bound.
Is there any music that has helped you get through this? Or, what have you been listening to?
I listen to my music only, having stopped learning from my peers, who gave me the encouragement to become more than myself. My father William, (Wild Bill), set the tone when I was 5 and that was 7 decades ago. My journey has been the best it could be. My music completes me.
What makes you smile or laugh?
My wife Bonnie and my grandkids make me smile and enjoy life more! It’s like watching yourself grow up again and again and again.
Who or what keeps you centered?
Again my beliefs and spouse carry me through my days. She is the inspiration for most of my themes in my original compositions.
What has encouraged you during the pandemic?
My beliefs and Bonnie. She keeps me on track and helps me daily with encouragement and home cooking. Bonnie keeps discouragement at bay for the both of us. She stays focused and relates that blessing to me daily.
What has surprised you the most?
Since I last talked to you, the biggest surprise for me was receiving the Order Of The Longleaf Pine. It’s awarded by the governor’s office and signed by Governor Roy Cooper for service rendered to the state of North Carolina. It is the second highest award given for helping this great state we live in.
How will you keep yourself safe when work resumes? Is that solely your responsibility?
I always say wear your masks, keep the social business to a minimum, and be like me: the Masked Lone Stranger. It is all of our responsibilities to respect each other and therefore, give life to the prosperity of our fellow man.
Are there any new insights you’ve gained or new activities that you’ve engaged in that you’d like to maintain going forward?
During these times we should all keep ourselves busy with hygiene and exercise, use the opportunity to make a difference in your life and the lives of your families. I enjoy painting as a hobby and have used this time to employ that talent. I am a blessed man and will always sing the blues in a positive and timely manner, giving back part of what was given to me. Sharing is caring, Keep the faith and stay focused on the positive things, that are what matter the most in your daily routines. A smile says more than any words ever could, and is downright contagious, y’all!