What’s Four Lost Souls all about to you as you look at it now? It was about my relationship with America and more specifically, the South. So much of what I love about this place came out of Memphis, Muscle Shoals, Nashville, and New Orleans – yet the history and legacy of the South looms over everything since Trump’s election.
It’s a good ride from Wales: how was your Alabama Shoals experience and what are a few of your favorite things? We worked with Norbert Putnam, the great ‘60-‘70s Muscle Shoals/Nashville producer, and David Hood, who’s been on so many great records. We had a lovely time in Alabama – very efficient, very creative and very different. The music community down there is very fluid and open to ideas.
Did you hold any tunes or recordings back or is the full salvo from the heady proceedings? I think everything we did is on the record. We only had four days to record and the songs were specifically written for the record. They all told a little story that I wanted to be included and everything worked out great, so it seems no point leaving anything out.
What did you learn this time out and will you ever recover? I like to change things up with every recording situation. Working with a real producer was definitely an education. And I didn’t play guitar on the record and I really like that.
What was the first concert you ever attended and what strikes you about it today? I want to see Procol Harum in the Bristol Colston Hall in 1973, when Grand Hotel came out and I love that show and I still love the band. It was a really different time and we were very young and the crowd was full of hippies. I kind of thought of it as someone else’s music, but I really enjoyed it. It wasn’t until punk came along that I felt THAT was my music.
What was your first public performance? Singing Gilbert and Sullivan in the school pantomime.
Musicians are funny about their instruments, sometimes even superstitious — tell us about your relationship with guitars over the years; what is your standby go-to 6-string today? Mostly I’m playing acoustic on the gig supporting this album; as I said, I didn’t play any guitar on the album. I find guitars need constant stroking and attention, much like people. The guitar I play in the “Snake Behind Glass” video is a really old Martin that belonged to Marty Stuart and was once played by Porter Wagoner in his “Parkview” video. It’s a prized possession. When I play electric with the Waco Brothers I use a couple of customized strays.
Do you have any advice (cheap tricks) for your artists looking to connect more with the audience when playing live? Lots of stupid banter between the songs.
What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened at one of your shows? I really don’t know where to start. Possibly the entire band attacking the soundman half way thru a Sally Timms gig at the Khyber Pass in Philadelphia many years ago. Don’t diss the Timms. That really stands out because there’s been so little violence over the last 40 years and that was one of the quietest gigs we ever played.
You are to take a 4 hour dune buggy through the desert with anyone on earth, who do you choose and how do you strike up the conversation? My wife Helen because she drives the buggy while I looked out the window – do they have windows?