Thursday, September 27, 2007

Steve Earle

I interviewed Steve Earle a couple weeks ago, mostly about his new album, Washington Square Serenade, which was released Tuesday. I'm finishing up the article for Acoustic Guitar, but here's a quote that probably won't make the article:

In “Tennessee Blues” you say “this ain’t never been my home.” Do you feel that way about Nashville?
Yeah, I mean, I hope nobody takes offense to it, but I don’t think there’s any secret that we butted heads for 32 years. I’m here right now, I still have a house here, but I’m a lot more comfortable in New York. It was a lot of things. I was able to live here for 30 years mainly ‘cause I was gone a lot. I was never particularly comfortable here, the town was never particularly comfortable with me. I was OK with that, I was OK with being uncomfortable. And I was intentionally antagonistic at times.

It was a couple of things. The last couple of elections made me want to not, at least on my days off, feel like I was behind enemy lines. I’ve said it before, to look out my front door and see a mixed-race, same-sex couple holding hands made me feel safe, after what’s happened. And the other thing is, I’m getting older and I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in. I finally managed to quit smoking a couple of years ago, and where you’re seriously overmarried like I am, you start taking better care of yourself. I don’t know, I may be around for awhile now. I certainly missed the “live fast, die young, and leave a good-looking corpse” thing. I missed the boat on that, so now I gotta figure out another plan. If I had something debilitating happen to me, like a stroke or a heart attack, is this where I want to get my wings clipped? I’d rather be one of those old Commies in the Village that runs over my foot with their motorized wheelchair every once in awhile than be stuck here, if I get to where I can’t travel.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Beppe Gambetta

I got to hang out for a bit with Beppe Gambetta last week, interviewing him for an upcoming Acoustic Guitar Feature Lesson. He talked a lot about (and demonstrated) these wild down-down-up picking things he's been doing--how he's discovered connections to Sardinian folk music, Irish triplet ornaments, Nick Lucas's playing, and all sorts of other things. Cool and crazy stuff, which will be laid out in notation in the lesson (you can hear a lot of it on his new CD, Slade Stomp).

That's Beppe's lovely wife Federica in the middle photo. BTW, I'm thinking of starting a League of Tall Guitar Players. Beppe, me, Roger Tallroth, John Doyle, Dan Crary, Tony Marcus . . . let's see, who else? Bill Frisell? They'd have to be at least 6 feet tall physically, and of course, tall, musically as well, I suppose. Silly idea, I know.

Photos: (c) 2007, Anne Hamersky,

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Lang and Venuti with Paul Whiteman

Unbelievable performance by Eddie Lang and Joe Venuti about 30 seconds in.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


I love this. I think it'll be part of Bicycle Film Festival in SF this weekend.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Monday, September 10, 2007

Martha Scanlan

It seems like years since I've blogged. Way too busy with other things--vacationing in Hawaii, getting ready for some Websters gigs and a demo recording session with Roger Tallroth, some bike riding, and writing numerous articles. Acoustic Guitar finally published my profile of Martha Scanlan, and there should be profiles of Nathan and Devon Sproule (as well as features on Russ Barenberg and Clarence White) in upcoming issues. And Strings magazine published my profile of Oisin McAuley.

I'm also waiting to see if I get an interview with Steve Earle, for another feature. That'll be fun. He's never at a loss for words.