Something that many people do not know about me is that I am a huge fan of American string music, folk and bluegrass. I’m not sure if this comes from my childhood days of touring with my father’s gospel quartet in West Virginia, and hearing all the amazing bluegrass gospel music or if it’s simply my eclectic taste in music In any case, there has always been this ongoing battle for my soul between my love of the electric guitar and old timey acoustic music.
Like most teenagers I rejected my parents music and embraced rock and roll. I devoted all my energies to rock. I read tons of music magazines, listened to rock radio, bought albums and went to shows. Rock was in my soul. I loved everything about it.
Fast forward to my post college days. I had been in tons of bands and been rocking out for many years. One night on my way home from a gig “with the echoes of the amplifiers ringin in my ears” I stumbled on a station playing old time gospel with the sound of fiddle, mandolin and banjo and all those great harmonies. The sound was so soothing and uplifting that I was instantly hooked! I was transported back to those old tent revivals.
After that night I began to take more of an interest in that scene. I started seeking out stations that played bluegrass and folk and trying to get more information about those artists. I also learned that there were a lot of younger artists who also liked rock and alternative who played this kind of music. I discovered a whole new (new to me) world of really amazing artists. There were many who were also very edgy and explored more adult themes in their songwriting. One of these artists is Gillian Welch. Gillian has a great way of blending the traditional sounds of american folk and bluegrass with very modern post alternative sensibilities . Her album with David Rawlings The Revelator became one of my all time favorites. I still listen to it whenever I can. That record had a profound influence on me and helped to reshape my approach to songwriting.
As an homage, my band Strangelove came up with our own version of Gillian’s song “My First Lover”. Our version is more Led Zeppelin than Ralph Emery with Bonham-esque drums and Jimmy Page influenced guitar work but we “tied a thread” if you will, to the original by incorporating mandolin as well. It’s on our CD but you can get here FOR FREE since we’re friends.
Get my version of Gillian Welch’s “My FIrst Lover” HERE!
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