Interview: Bruce Molsky

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“My sister tells me I knew all the words to all the songs on pop music radio in New York City by the time I was 5, which would be 1960, a long time ago.  I’ve always loved music, it’s the default mode in my brain.  I started playing guitar when I was 10; fell in love with Doc Watson’s work, and I discovered old-time music—it’s been a slippery slope ever since,” laughs national treasure Bruce Molsky, who released his new album, Can’t Stay Here This a-Way, this month via Tiki Parlour Recordings.

The prominent fiddle/banjo/guitarist/singer and Berklee College of Music professor grew up in The Bronx, cutting his teeth on traditional roots music; a steady stream of Southern artists performing in New York City at the time provided direct exposure to what would become his life’s passion.  “Folk and traditional music has always spoken to me, it seems so  accessible; you see someone standing on stage with some sort of wooden box with strings on it, and it looks so simple.  It was less intimidating than other styles of music.  It wasn’t overwhelming to me,” he explains.  “It always seemed like a more direct path to soulfulness.”

This soulfulness is beautifully captured on Can’t Stay Here This a-Way, which Molsky attributes to the different method he used for recording. “I’m very accustomed, when making studio albums, to go through the studio process everybody has to go through, and this album wasn’t like that at all.  We recorded it in a house over a couple of days, no set list really, and we plowed through it in a stream of consciousness way.  I had a rough idea of what songs I wanted on it; I had a lot of music swimming around in my head, so I let my mind wander and recorded some things that I hadn’t considered recording before, and I played fiddle, banjo, and guitar.  I had a concept with respect to having what I think is a nice balance,” he explains.  “You want a recording to document where you are at that moment.”

Purchase Can’t Stay Here This a-Way: http://brucemolsky.com/store

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Susan Hubbard

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