LaFave on some influences, a potential star, and upcoming show
This is the second part of my interview with Jimmy LaFave, who will perform at the Roper Music Ballroom at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 4.
Tickets, $25, are available at Triple Play Records, 530 Main St.
Rock: Besides Bob Dylan, who were you listening to when you were a teenager?
Jimmy: Well, all of the singer/songwriter stuff from that day, you know, Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne. I love Jackson Browne, he’s one of my favorites.
I also listened to Chuck Berry and lots of other music. I tried to listen to who I thought were the most masterful songwriters. Even if you’re listening to other genres like Muddy Waters or Charlie Parker, I figure that if you listen to the best music, it has to somehow — through osmosis — get into your songs. If you listen to something that’s not bad but mediocre, it’s kind of like that old saying, if you end up hanging around garbage you’ll begin to smell like garbage. Even though you are not garbage you kind of rise to the level of whom you are playing music with.
I would deliberately try to keep from falling in this trap of being like this lowest common denominator Texas singer/songwriter who sings about Texas all the time. I have songs that can appreciate the fact of where I live, but I have more of an American view toward singer/songwriters.
I definitely love the scope and breadth of traveling around the USA, it’s so inspiring, the mountains of Colorado or the swamps of Louisiana.
A while ago, I was singing at a funeral down in Monroe (La.). We went to this little country church out in the bayou.
That’s where your songwriting seeps in, not just sitting around Austin with a record collection that has five or six three-named Texas acts, crafting a whole career on party buffoon music, is what a lot of us call it down here, where it’s more about the party than the music ... about people getting drunk!
It’s like you said, Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt, they weren’t about that. They were about song-crafting. That’s what I am into.
Rock: Who are you listening to now, and who do you like a lot?
Jimmy: There is this young kid named John Fullbright who I like. I really like his songwriting.
He’s only 22, and I can see that kind of Dylan genius in him. We (laughs) just said it’s not fair to label someone the new Dylan.
He is definitely way beyond his years and in the quality. You can see that this guy is going to be like Townes or Guy Clark. He has an uncanny feel for words and soulful lyrics, things he can’t even lift yet and is obviously channeling some pretty heavy stuff.
Rock: What do you have in store for the folks here on Saturday night.
Jimmy: I’ll have a band with me, my bass player, drummer and guitar player. I might have a keyboard player, I’m not sure yet.
We will do some old and new songs and have some fun. Get up in the mountains and get out of the Texas heat.
Most of that weekend is about going to the mountains and we are definitely looking forward to coming up to the Rockies and Grand Junction and then off to Taos.