All it took were some singles on vinyl.
"I was 5, and my aunt would come over every week after getting her paycheck and play some of the newest and coolest songs out there," Sterling Koch, of Cressona, said. "I knew right then that I was going to be hooked into music my whole life."
Koch, a lap steel guitarist, found his way into the classic blues/rock genre after hearing Jimi Hendrix.
"Someone that's 12, 13 years old, to hear music like that … it blew me away. I started to look at the people that influenced Hendrix, and the people that influenced them, and ended up going all the way back to the era of Robert Johnson. It was an interesting journey, discovering a lot of the people that were in blues."
Koch recently released a solo album, "Slide Ruler," and is touring with the Sterling Koch Band in support of it. The trio, which also consists of Pottsville residents Gene Babula on bass and John Goba on drums, will play at the Hazleton Funfest on Sunday.
"Slide Ruler" brought many opportunities for Koch, the biggest of which was the ability to work with some well-known industry names.
"I was very fortunate to work with Tommy Shannon, who played bass with Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, as well as Chet McCracken, a drummer from the Doobie Brothers."
Koch's instrument of choice is special as well.
"My guitar has eight strings instead of the conventional six, and it's actually played sitting in your lap, using a slide bar and thumb and finger picks," he said.
Koch played traditional guitar all along, until about eight years ago when he sustained a neck injury. Doctors recommended he stay away from the weight of a guitar strap, so he switched.
At this point in his career, Koch has settled into the Sterling Band Trio nicely, citing the ease with which the members work together as the reason.
"Though they are such incredible musicians, I have to say it's our chemistry that really makes us what we are," he said.
Fourteen-year-old Jordan Tarter of Pittston has had enough of bullying and is looking to raise awareness about the unfortunate trend among young people.
An Anti-Bullying Concert will take place at the Osterhout Free Library on Wednesday and will showcase the sounds of Tarter, who has written songs about bullying. Pat Rushton, outreach/education manager of the Victims Resource Center in Wilkes-Barre, also will speak. There's no charge, but a donation bucket will be present.
This is the second such concert. Tarter organized an anti-bullying event in April at KISS Theatre in the Wyoming Valley Mall.
What: Sterling Koch Band
When: 1 p.m. Sunday
Where: Hazleton Funfest, downtown Hazleton
What: Anti-Bullying Concert
When: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Osterhout Free Library lawn, 71 S. Franklin St., Wilkes-Barre