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Thread: Steve Earle Interview

  1. #1
    Registered User Kevin Briggs's Avatar
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    Default Steve Earle Interview

    Hey Everyone…

    I got to interview Steve Earle today as part of a promo for a show he is playing Sunday at The State Theatre in State College, PA. What a fun fellow and super interviewee!

    The pic below captures the moment at which he told me he owned two Gilchrist mandolins, then proceeded to tell me about a Loar-era F4 he owns as well as a number of other older Gibsons. We geeked out about the Cafe too. He comes here every so often and gets in on some mandolin discussions, or at least reads through them.

    Great day!
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Oval holes are cool David Lewis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Steve Earle Interview

    Great stuff. Where’s the interview?
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    Registered User Kevin Briggs's Avatar
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    Default Re: Steve Earle Interview

    Quote Originally Posted by David Lewis View Post
    Great stuff. Where’s the interview?
    Some of it will be released in the new day or two. I’m hesitant to share it publicly because he didn’t agree to that.
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    Registered User d18daddy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Steve Earle Interview

    Went to see him play last Saturday. Looked like he was playing a old Gibson Pumpkin top A just like the one I have-pretty neat!

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    Default Re: Steve Earle Interview

    In the Mandolin and Beer podcast with the Carter Vintage owner, they mentioned that Steve had them sell off 140(??) of his instruments to fund his divorce settlement. Nice to see that he kept a couple of good ones.

  8. #6
    Registered User Kevin Briggs's Avatar
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    Default Re: Steve Earle Interview

    Man... divorce. It can be such a tough process.

    I'm waiting to hear if Steve's management is okay with me posting a clip here. In the meantime, here's a transcription of the segment during which Steve discusses mandolins. I was blinded by awesomeness while he was telling me all of that, but on the other hand it was like talking to a Cafe member about gear. :-)

    K = me
    S = Steve

    S: When I wrote Copperhead Road that was the only song I knew on mandolin. I knew those two chords and that's it. When we recorded the track... that album, I had a track called “Nothin’” but a child and I used what was called "Telluride" at that time, which went on to be.... It was Sam Bush and Jerry Douglas and all those guys. Sam was... everyone else was driving from Nashville in Edgar Myer's van, but Sam was someplace else so he flew in. So, I went and picked him up at the airport and we got back to Arden - Memphis was where I was making the record - and walked in and said let's go see what they're mixin' and walked in and they were mixin' the one song I played mandolin on with my two chords, and that's what we played for Sam Bush [laughs].

    K: Oh wow.... Sam Bush in the house and you're playing "Copperhead Road" [laughs]. That's, that's pretty cool!

    S: Yeah. That was it. That was it. I still know, barely... I play in two keys basically. I'm sort of dependent on open strings. I just sort of surrendered to that. Peter Rowan actually pointed that out to me, that there was a, there was an originality that I sort of find sometimes playing in those keys simply because it's all based on those open strings, where bluegrass is kind of the opposite of that.

    K: Yeah, more closed position.

    S: You know I've got way more mandolin than I deserve. I have two Gilchrist mandolins....

    K: Whoa...! [rears back and briefly blacks out].

    S: [laughs] It's like, it's one of those things. I've got a lot of nice mandolins. I've got a, I've got a Loar-era F4. I don't have an F5. And I've got one of about 40 mandolins that John D'Angelica made. That's pretty good. And I've got, you know I've got some other older Gibsons. But, my first mandolin, good mandolin, really good one... they were all cheap ones. "Copperhead" was recorded on a Ode, which was, Gretsch marketed it but Tut Taylor actually I think built them in Nashville. They used some different labels on different ones. It was made in the late 60s, and it was okay. It belonged to Jimbo Henson who co-wrote "Hillbilly Highway" and a couple other songs with me that were on that record. I borrowed it kind of permanently and then I lost track of it somehow. Brenda was trying to get it back for me a few years ago and it was gone.... I don't even know who got it, somebody got it at some point.

    K: Aww man, this is.... You know I'm also a member of the Mandolin Cafe, the online message board.

    S: Oh cool! I get on there every once in a while, every once in a while looking for something.

    K: This is solid gold experience right here to share with the Cafe people [laughs].

    S: I held one of Yank Rachel's mandolins in my hands the other night and had my picture taken with it. Just another one of those battan-wing Harmonies which are what he preferred. He had three or four of them the last 20 years of his life. He was hard on them.
    Last edited by Kevin Briggs; Jun-17-2022 at 3:34pm.

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    Registered User Bren's Avatar
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    Default Re: Steve Earle Interview

    I did hear that he went down to visit Gilchrist whenever he was in Australia.

    From the Warrnambool paper in 2016 :

    https://www.standard.net.au/story/37...ts-his-makers/
    Bren

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    Registered User Bren's Avatar
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    Default Re: Steve Earle Interview

    That link is restricted for no-subscribers so I'll post some text here:

    March 13, 2016:
    AMERICAN singer-songwriter Steve Earle knows instruments – after all he has “a couple hundred of them”.

    “I’m an instrument nerd,” he said.

    So an essential stop-over on his way to Port Fairy was at the workshop of instrument maker Stephen Gilchrist near Camperdown.
    Earle has been playing Gilchrist-made mandolins since the late ‘90s when he recorded his album The Mountain with the Del McCoury Band – also long time fans of Gilchrist’s instruments.

    “It was a trip to see where they're made,” Earle said of his visit to Gilchrist’s workshop.

    “Stephen Gilchrist builds the best mandolins in the world.

    “I’m not really a mandolin player – I’m a singer-songwriter. I play really hard and so does he – he’s a good player – so he builds them to have the s**t beat out of them!”

    However Earle’s current electric mandolin is not made by Stephen Gilchrist – it's made by his son, Warrnambool musician and fellow instrument-maker Daniel Gilchrist.

    “It’s the best electric mandolin we’ve had in the band,” Earle said.

    “I saw one (Daniel’s) building in the workshop and I might have to buy it.”

    Stephen Gilchrist, who only sells instruments in the US and Europe, said his friendship with Earle was the kind of connection instrument-makers dream of.

    “He’s a big supporter of what I do creatively and he inspires me when I’m making instruments,” Gilchrist said.

    “Poetically, he’s always impressed me. His music is heartfelt, gritty, raw and tender, all at the same time, and for me instrument-making is an emotional thing. I’m playing his music (in the workshop) all the time.”

    He said it was nice to have his son following in his footsteps.

    Daniel said he was still blown away by the fact Steve Earle was playing one of his instruments.

    “It’s a big, overwhelming and fantastic thing,” Daniel said.

    “It’s very, very cool.”

    Daniel said he was first made aware Earle was playing an electric mandolin he built when he was sent a video of Earle “giving it a test run” in Nashville .

    “He bought it on the spot and used it for a gig that night,” he said.
    Bren

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  13. #9
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    Default Re: Steve Earle Interview

    The photo accompanying the article:

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  14. #10

    Default Re: Steve Earle Interview

    Great photo of Daniel, Steve, and Steve. No talent shortage in that trio!

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    Default Re: Steve Earle Interview

    Here it is, folks!
    https://fb.watch/dJUNDDVfeu/
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  17. #12
    Oval holes are cool David Lewis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Steve Earle Interview

    That’s a great interview. Thanks.
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    Default Re: Steve Earle Interview

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Briggs View Post
    Here it is, folks!
    https://fb.watch/dJUNDDVfeu/
    Thanks for sharing it, Kevin!
    Check out https://www.chordlines.com for chords and tabs!

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