By Suzanne Stempinski
He was born the son of a preacher man. Nope it's not just a Dusty Springfield song; it's the life of GM Paterson. This Canadian-born trucker/dispatcher/singer/songwriter has been trucking for 13 years and singing since he was just a kid.
As a youngster, he played acoustic guitar, then picked up bass guitar to play in a rock band. In 1992, he spent the summer driving trucks and got hooked. Running over-the-road gave him plenty of time to let his imagination work and he started writing songs.
Paterson describes his music as "country rock with a road edge." He sings about life on the highway, the loneliness of a broken heart - ballads and foot-stompers about life viewed through his own windshield.
Now the owner and dispatcher of three trucks that haul steel, lumber and equipment on flatbed or curtainside trailers, Paterson spends an average of seven to 10 days each month hauling freight.
His company, Tenn-Line Inc., is based in Memphis, TN, and serves 48 states and Canada.
An OOIDA member, an independent trucker and a man of strong opinions, Paterson prefers to keep most of his thoughts to himself.
"As an independent, although I have opinions and authority, there's a tremendous amount of politics - I still have to maintain neutrality to truckers as a whole. I want to be known as someone who loves the industry, loves the people and loves the highway," he said.
Roughly six years ago, Paterson started going to songwriter clubs in Nashville. He'd park his truck in a truck stop parking lot and walk across to a club with his acoustic guitar in hand. A Canadian who is proud to have received his permanent Visa that allows him to live and work in the United States, Paterson now maintains two six-piece bands - one in each country.
"I'm having fun, chasing my dreams, doing it all - trucking, music, truck shows, trade shows, dispatching. I am truly a blessed man," he said.
He's been enjoying some success as well. He's opened tailgate parties for Brooks & Dunn, Shania Twain, Billy Covington and Michelle Wright. He's performed at festivals with Mark Chestnut. And he rocked the crowd outside the Dallas Convention Center during GATS.
Regardless of his popularity, GM Paterson plans to keep adding on to his 1.3 million miles and intends to keep driving truck into the future.
"I'm proud to be one of the guys - as opposed to one of the guys who want to make money off the guys," he said.
He plans to perform in Louisville, KY, at the Mid-America Trucking Show in March 2006. If you want to keep track of his schedule, or for upcoming show dates, or to listen to his music, visit gmpaterson.com on the Web.
Suzanne Stempinski may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.