Pleasant Grove, a community in the southeast outskirts of Dallas, Texas, was not a nice neighborhood when keyboardist Elliot Figg was growing up in the eighties and nineties. He and his big family lived there for much of his childhood, neighbors with a diverse, blue-collar bunch. Petty crime was a normalcy and thefts were common in Pleasant Grove, according to Figg. He now performs, conducts and writes music in New York.
This isn’t to say Figg’s youth was totally saturated with the crimes of Pleasant Grove. There were tranquil refuges in nature and in music. Woods behind his home were often explored, fond details of them remembered decades later. At a cafe on the Upper West Side in New York city he and I go back and forth sharing cherished memories of our respective childhood forest romps—forts, good climbing trees, enchanting hollowed stumps.