Tag Archives: Michael Chapman

Interview : David Surette

davidsurette3Earlier this year, Work & Worry received a CD from David Surette, a fantastic instrumentalist and songwriter who resides up in Maine. Surette is my kind of picker : equal parts British folk revival, country blues, ragtime and traditional… well, that’s not totally true, his playing at times actually leans a little bit more to the British school than most American fingerpickers, which I guess is what I really love about it!

The performances on Sun Dog, all done in a single evening on a single microphone, are absolutely impeccable. All eight tracks feature clean, confident picking and a finely honed sense of composition, structure and ornamentation. It’s the kind of accomplished, out of nowhere record that is not only a joy to listen to, but makes a guitarist want to up his or her game… from the John Renbourn-esque “A Lot of Sir John” and “Cold Rain” to the feel-good raggin’ blues of “Frog’s Legs” and “Ukelele Stomp”,  Sun Dog is easily one of the best guitar recordings I’ve heard in a long time.

Surette’s liner notes on the CD do a fine job of describing the inception of these songs, and he also denotes the tunings… so I wanted to talk to Surette more about some of his perspectives on guitars, playing, and some of his influences.

W&W : Calling David Surette.. David, are you there?

Hey man, how’s it going?

W&W : Very well, how are you?

Good, it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

W&W : Let’s talk about where you are and where you’ve been. You seem to have extremely strong ties to the music scene up in Maine… have you always lived in that part of the world? Where were you when your interest in guitar first developed, and what did you concentrate on when you were first starting out?

Well, I grew up in northern New Hampshire in the mountains, North Conway, which is right on the border with Maine. So I’ve always been a NH/ME kind of guy. I moved down to this area when I was going to college at UNH, from ’81-’85, and ended up sticking around. There’s a good local music scene here, and it’s close to a lot of other great spots, like Boston and Portland.

I started to play guitar when I was 14, and I’m 47 now.  I started out on electric and acoustic, mostly ’60s-’70s rock. I loved blues-rock, too, and rootsy stuff like The Dead, The Band, The Allmans, so I got into the blues and folk stuff that way, like checking out this guy Robert Johnson that the Stones were covering. I’m probably like a lot of other folks in that regard. I got into fingerpicking in college. Continue reading

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Interview : William Tyler

Late last year, we reviewed William Tyler’s excellent Tompkins Square debut Behold The Spirit. I recently caught up with William to talk about the making of the record, how he got into guitar, and his upcoming tour with Michael Chapman.

W&W : Talk a little about how you got started in guitar… how long have you been playing, what got you started, and your early influences.

Well I had the benefit/burden of growing up in Nashville, both around a lot of older musicians and a musical family. My father is a country songwriter and he was drawn to Nashville in the mid seventies, back when country singers bragged about smoking pot and reading books, as opposed to now when it’s all about trucks and patriotism.

I started playing guitar when I was a teenager, in spurts at first because I was more interested in drums and piano. I was also somewhat of a late bloomer when it came to rock music; I didn’t start buying rock records until I was fourteen or fifteen. Early stuff that influenced me was REM and Peter Buck, especially all the cross picking he did, the country style stuff in Rockpile and Dave Edmunds, and then stuff like the Sex Pistols and Ramones. I think Physical Graffiti was the first record I heard where I wanted to pick out an open tuning. Continue reading

Jack Rose “Luck In The Valley” Record Release And Memorials

There will be memorial shows for the late Jack Rose in Philly and NYC on the weekend of February 13 and 14th. The first will also double as the record release for his upcoming Thrill Jockey disc Luck In The Valley.

2/13/2010 :
From settingsuns.org :

Jack Rose passed away suddenly at home in Philadelphia on December 5. He was widely regarded as the most profound exponent of acoustic guitar playing of his generation. Jack grew to be loved and admired by a great many people through his live performances, electric personality, profound cooking skills and a general mastery in the art of friendship. This concert is a release party for his new album Luck In The Valley and an occasion to celebrate and remember the good Dr. Ragtime. The artists performing were all dear friends of Jack’s and admired by him musically.

This event takes place at the Latvian Society of Philadelphia, 531 N. 7th St, on Saturday 2/13 at 7pm. The list of performers is trans-Atlantic and impressive…

D. Charles Speer & The Helix
Thurston Moore | Paul Flaherty | Chris Corsano
Michael Chapman
Pelt
The Black Twig Pickers
Glenn Jones
Byron Coley
Meg Baird | Chris Forsyth
Magajam Booze Band
DJ Ian Nagoski
Video clips curated by Tara Young

The show is 21+, and tickets can be purchased here for $18.
For more info, please email brooke.sietinsons (at) gmail.com

2/14/2010 :
“A Valentine For Jack Rose” at Issue Project Room, Brooklyn NY
February 14, 2010, 8PM doors, 8:30 start
$8-15 sliding scale

Micheal Chapman
Steve Gunn
The Black Twig Pickers
Glenn Jones
Tom Carter
Marcia Bassett
Pelt

For more info, email regina (at) frontporchproductions.org