In PART 1 of our Stefan Grossman interview, we talked a lot about acoustic guitars, what Stefan’s early instruments were like, and how his preferences evolved as the years went on. In this section, we talk about Stefan’s “European Period”, which lasted from the mid ’60s until the early ’80s, his relationship with some well-known European guitarists, and the beloved Kicking Mule record label that he cofounded with Ed Denson.
W&W – When you first got to England, you had already met Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker (from Cream) back in New York… did you get involved immediately with the folk scene, or did you dabble with the rock guys as well?
Stefan – Well, I hung out with Eric… I stayed at his place, we hung out and played. The first place I went when I was allowed into England – the customs people hesitated to let me in – was to go to Gingerʼs place. He lived in a very, very modest house. We would go to a pub, Iʼd hang out with The Cream as they were getting their stuff together, I would go to gigs with them…
My friend Mark Silber had been there the year before, and so had Danny Kalb. There was a house on Somali Road… on one floor, there was a group called The Young Tradition, with Heather Wood, Royston Wood and Peter Bellamy, they sang traditional English music, unaccompanied. On the other floor was John Renbourn and Bert Jansch. I just went down to say hello to The Young Tradition, I didnʼt know them… they said “Weʼve heard all about you, play a set at this club…” I had my Stella, and I did a set. Somehow, there was a reporter from The Observer, and I was written up in the Sunday paper! Heather said “You know, you could play around here, thereʼs folk clubs, thereʼs a whole scene…” Continue reading →
Two summers ago, when this blog was a good bit more active than it is now, I thought I would swing for the fences and try to get an interview with Stefan Grossman, one of my all-time acoustic guitar heroes. Stefan wasn’t the first folkie, finger-picking guitarist that caught my ear… I had previously spent a good bit of time listening to Paul Simon, Nick Drake and Donovan. When my friend Michael turned me on to Bert Jansch, that was it. I was, and remain, an absolute fiend for British guitar music, a story that Stefan plays an appreciable part in. Continue reading →
Few voices embody the unaffected, haunting power of folk songs like that of Shirley Collins. Though this author considers her something of an institution, it would seem that there was a long stretch of time where Shirley went underground…
Thanks for stopping by. Lots of life stuff got in the way of this little blog staying up to date, which is okay. If you notice, everything is all higgledy-piggledy right now, but we’re working on getting it straightened out. New posts will be infrequent but many have asked that I keep the archived material going. So yup, I’m working on it. Thanks for your patience.
Last fall, Pittsburgh-based artist David Bernabo released a curious little item called Hexagon. It’s a short musical program on clear, lathe-cut vinyl… not so uncommon these days, but the record itself is hexagonal in shape and packaged in a machine-stitched vellum sleeve. Business as usual for David, as any who’ve followed his still young artistic career can attest. David draws from a seemingly endless pool of energy and ideas, routinely recasting his role: in visual arts as photographer, painter, videographer, and sculptor; in music as avant-rock band leader, symphonic composer, producer, ceremonial pianist and, on Hexagon, classical guitarist. In 2011, he founded the “Host Skull” brand for his new projects in collaboration with fellow musician, Will Dyar. Hexagon, which features David only, is the second item in their Host Skull Ongoing Box. Continue reading →
During the past few months, we received three excellent albums of what could be described as “old timey” music. We thought it would be apt to do a quick round-up of these. We borrowed the article’s title from The Howling Kettles (it’s the tagline for their website). Continue reading →