on guitar, but plastic sounds better for
what I do.
You’ve been an inspiration to younger
generations of singer/songwriters, from
the Dixie Chicks to Adele and Bon
Iver, whom you recently saw live, right?
Yes, I went to meet Justin [Vernon, Bon
Iver frontman] finally after talking to him
on the phone. His show was incredible.
Go on You Tube and type in “Bon Iver live
show 2011” and check it out. He blew
me away on record, and I didn’t think he
could duplicate it live, but he did it.
of the great things about playing live—besides
being fun—is that we can buoy the troops, in
terms of raising money and awareness for these
issues. I want to enlist more artists to be politically active to make a difference. It’s that marriage of music and being of service. My heroes
are of the “The Times They Are a-Changin’”
period—like Bob Dylan.
It’s really come full circle for me to be
able to record his tunes again, even if they’re
not overtly political. Anytime we talk about
human beings and the way they treat each
other—it can be a man and a woman, or a
father and son, or two countries—there has to
be the same respect. You have to listen—it’s the
same core issue. You’ve got to find that light in
the other person and appeal to it. That’s one of
the things that music is really great for.
You were an apprentice to some of the
greatest musicians of all time, and now
you’re in the same category as those you
looked up to. What advice do you have for
players trying to find their voice?
What else is inspiring you these days?
One of the most amazing talents is Sarah
Siskind. Then there’s my friend Maia
Sharp, who was an opening act on my last
tour. She sings on Slipstream, and I cut
three of her songs on Souls Alike. Also, my
friend Marc Cohn. Jackson Browne and
Bruce Hornsby are like brothers to me. I
love Bruce’s latest double-live album, Bride
of the Noisemakers. If I had to be on a desert island and could only have one artist’s
music, it would be Bruce Hornsby. Mavis
Staples is one of my heroes, too, so she and
I are going to do a lot of shows together.
BE A PLAYER
Are there any players you haven’t
played with yet that you’d like to?
Justin Vernon from Bon Iver. I’d love to
play with the Stones and Keith. I opened
for them on my last tour and sang “Shine
a Light” with them, and I’m on their
DVD. I’d love to do more recording with
Bill Frisell. I love classic jazz. There are
two jazz singers—Lizz Wright and Melody
Gardot—who are doing incredible work.
I would love to make an old 1920s blues-jazz record—not like an old Chicago jazz
band, but just really, really beautiful piano
jazz. So, one day …[laughs].
Bob Balch - Fu Manchu
On that note, what were you dream-
ing for the future during your hiatus?
What are you looking forward to down
The whole Occupy movement has given me
some hope that, across party lines, newer
generations will rise up and ask for account-
ability and transparency and reform some of
these laws. That is my first dream—to see
people become more awake and compas-
sionate. My dream is to be a service in that
struggle and to not get discouraged. One
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APRIL 20, 21, 22