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Thread: 10 Questions for Jody Stecher

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    Default 10 Questions for Jody Stecher

    The Mandolin Cafe has posted news:
    10 Questions for Jody Stecher
    http://www.mandolincafe.com/news/publish/mandolins_001242.shtml

    Jody Stecher's mandolin playing and singing as a member of The Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band will be on display in September with the release of the recording Legacy. We catch up with Jody for this extended interview about the new recording and his musical career.

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    Default Re: 10 Questions for Jody Stecher

    Hands down one of my favorite musicians, and one of the most important American musicians in the last 50 years. Thanks for doing this interview. Jody does not get the attention he deserves (aside from the folks on this site). "Return" is an outstanding album and I highly recommend to anyone who enjoys traditional music and beautiful vocal harmonies.

  3. #3
    Registered User evanreilly's Avatar
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    Default Re: 10 Questions for Jody Stecher

    Jody:
    I remember you from the old CCNY days and have a very fond memory of taking my first mandolin lessons from you.
    I know that you are probably the most eclectic musician on the scene, incorporating Indian influences along with old-time and bluegrass in your playing.
    After the Yankee boys won the contests at Union Grove, what have some of your most memorable musical moments been?
    And what do you feel is your most expressive & satisfying musical production/recording?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: 10 Questions for Jody Stecher

    Jody,

    I have a cassette tape of you at a mando workshop from several years ago, in a line on stage with Tony Williamson, Sam Bush, a young Chris Thile, Mike Compton, Tim O'Brien, Jimmy Gaudreau, Emory Lester. When it comes to you, you sing and play a blues (In B). Very soulful, you probably got the biggest hand. Jimmy followed you and someone shouted out Memphis. Jimmy says 'After Jody just played that terrific blues in B? No way.' You surely have the respect and admiration of fellow musicians, across the board.

    And for the question: what kind of pick do you use? :-)

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    Site founder Scott Tichenor's Avatar
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    Default Re: 10 Questions for Jody Stecher

    As part of the interview, Compass Records granted me a full advance copy of the Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band's new CD entitled Legacy. I'd go beyond saying it's a very remarkable project in that I think it's also an *important* recording people need to hear. Few bluegrass bands on the planet have this kind of experience and direct contact with Monroe and early bluegrass and country styles, and it shows. Real privilege to get to do this interview and to be one of the first to hear the full project. Jody was a delight to work with and his enthusiasm for the music is unmistakable.

    Hmmm, appears some of you are confusing a real interview that has already been published with a call for questions for an interview.

  6. #6

    Default Re: 10 Questions for Jody Stecher

    Superb interview with one of the finest singer/songwriters and just plain people, I've had the pleasure to meet, down at the Mandolin Symposium. Thanks for putting the spotlight on someone who deserves a great deal more recognition for his songs and playing.

  7. #7

    Default Re: 10 Questions for Jody Stecher

    Just wanted to say thanks Jody! Your earlier albums with Kate inspired me to play some of those banjo tunes and styles. My wife and I enjoy singing those songs together.

    BTW, being raised on rock and jazz in Detroit, I wasn't exposed to the Carter Family until late in life, but it was through your music that turned me onto it, and frankly, got me into old-time music in general.

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    Purveyor of Sunshine sgarrity's Avatar
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    Default Re: 10 Questions for Jody Stecher

    Jody is an amazing mandolin player. He plays with such power and authority. He makes that Miller sound great but he can make any mando sound that way. I got to study with him at the Symposium this year and it was very memorable. I've been looking forward to this cd for a while!!!

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    Registered User grassrootphilosopher's Avatar
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    Default Re: 10 Questions for Jody Stecher

    This is a very moving and personal interview. It shows the way that musicians reach out for other people. I admire the width of music that Jody Stecher is able to play. The youtube clip is blues to the core, while the clip from the new CD shows beautiful bluegrass. It is wonderful to receive a much musical and personal input in just this short an interview.

    I wish I could go to Didmarton (UK) in about a week. The Didmarton bluegrass festival has the PRBB as headliner.

    @ Scott: The questions by Evan and Alan show that there is quite some demand for a follow up interview. I can only support that view.
    Olaf

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    George Wilson GRW3's Avatar
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    Default Re: 10 Questions for Jody Stecher

    I think these two series "10 Quesions for..." and "The ... Interview" will become the standard reference for mandolin players wanting to understand the instrument and the players. I don't know if this was Scott's plan but it is the result.
    George Wilson
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  11. #11

    Default Jody Replies

    Thanks everyone for the kind words. It touches me to the heart. I'm leaving for a UK tour with PRBB tomorrow (saturday 28th) and expect to have irregular internet access so there may be a lag between questions and my responses. I'm new to this site so I don't know the ropes at all. I will try to answer one by one but if that doesn't work I'll do it in clumps.

  12. #12

    Default Re: 10 Questions for Jody Stecher

    OK this is a test reply to see where it goes. Real answer to follow.

  13. #13

    Default reply to Evan

    After the Yankee boys won the contests at Union Grove, what have some of your most memorable musical moments been?

    1. After a sarod lesson with ZM Dagar he told some fellow students that I played in tune.

    2. There are moments on stage when there is no gap between musician and audience. I forget there are microphones or a stage. All the musicians are attuned to each other and the band and audience attuned to each other and all are attuned to the space (both the venue and the musical space) and everything is effortless. It's certainly memorable when this happens.

    And what do you feel is your most expressive & satisfying musical production/recording?

    "RETURN" the new one with Kate.

  14. #14

    Default reply to Alan N

    I use a variety of picks so I'll be prepared for different sonic situations. It depends on the mic and if I'm on stage or in the studio. In the studio I tend to go lighter, though still pretty heavy. For recording I use whatever makes the least noise on impact. I don't use real pointy picks though a rounded point is ok. Paul Hostetter has made me some great picks from new and old celluloid. One looks like a blue ceramic coffee pot. His wife Robin dubbed another "designer bacon" (the striped pattern suggests that), another looks like a fossilized butterfly. Tortoise shell is illegal so I don't use 19th century tortoise shell re-cycled from antique hairbrushes by a retired English policeman or others from an empty shell found on a beach in Ecuador by the uncle of a Tennessee banjo player and fashioned into picks by an Albino Indian.

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    Default Re: 10 Questions for Jody Stecher

    Fantastic, thanks!

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    Registered User phandolin's Avatar
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    Default Re: 10 Questions for Jody Stecher

    I just wanted to second the comment that Legacy is a *must hear* CD. Our band played at Beavergrass in Corvallis last weekend and picked up a copy. It is a beautiful, beautiful album. The band also put on a great show that night. Thank you for your words of wisdom and inspiration Jody, keep up the great work!

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    Registered User Albee Tellone's Avatar
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    Default Re: 10 Questions for Jody Stecher

    What a great response to good questions. I was curious about the caption under the photo of the Perfect Strangers that stated how the bassist, Forrest Rose, had died the next night after a gig. I did some surfing and was touched by the story of his interesting short life. I had never heard of him or that band until today. Was that the end of their existence ? I checked their website and it looks like it hasn't been updated since 2005.

    Wishing Jody a successful run with Lord Hamilton !

  18. #18

    Default Re: reply to Evan

    Quote Originally Posted by Jody Stecher View Post
    And what do you feel is your most expressive & satisfying musical production/recording?

    "RETURN" the new one with Kate.
    I notice that Return is available via emusic, a nice option for those who get their tunes there.
    BradKlein
    Senior Producer, Twangbox®
    Twangbox® Videos

  19. #19

    Default Re: 10 Questions for Jody Stecher

    Perfect Strangers continued on for a few years with various temporary gig-by-gig bass players including Marshall Wilborn, Laurie Lewis, Mike Bub, and Paul Knight. Eventually Paul became a permanent member and we played a few more years. Then Chris, our fiddler, got a high paying job playing and singing harmony with Kevin Costner, then our booking agent retired, then there were some family things that needed attention amongst the members and Perfect Strangers moved to the back burner. From there it fell behind the stove and I believe it's there yet.


    Quote Originally Posted by Albee Tellone View Post
    What a great response to good questions. I was curious about the caption under the photo of the Perfect Strangers that stated how the bassist, Forrest Rose, had died the next night after a gig. I did some surfing and was touched by the story of his interesting short life. I had never heard of him or that band until today. Was that the end of their existence ? I checked their website and it looks like it hasn't been updated since 2005.

    Wishing Jody a successful run with Lord Hamilton !

  20. #20

    Default Re: reply to Evan

    Quote Originally Posted by BradKlein View Post
    I notice that Return is available via emusic, a nice option for those who get their tunes there.
    a "nicer" option is from our website jodyandkate.com (links provided on the interview page). Downloads are convenient but it's just not the same sounds. For those who want just the mandolin tunes (the two medleys) then the various download sites might be a good option but again it's not really the same thing as the full sonic range that the CD offers.

  21. #21

    Default Re: 10 Questions for Jody Stecher

    I'm enjoying the new albums, but have a question. Do you no longer perform on the fiddle?

    Jim

  22. #22

    Default Re: 10 Questions for Jody Stecher

    Quote Originally Posted by JudgeSturdy View Post
    I'm enjoying the new albums, but have a question. Do you no longer perform on the fiddle?

    Jim
    I've been playing less fiddle in the last decade for sure. I did teach fiddle at Rocky Grass Academy this past summer. I love fiddle music but find that fiddling is hard on my body. When I really get going I tend to kinda "scrunch up" my body and get all compressed. That doesn't happen with mandolin, guitar or banjo. In my music with Kate we dropped the fiddle about 15 years ago as we found most of our songs went better with me on some other instrument. In Perfect Strangers we went out on the road at first with 2 fiddles so I could twin it up with Chris Brashear but we had so few pieces that used it that we dropped it. In Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band both (banjoist) Keith Little and I are fiddle players but we've got our hands full with just one instrument each. But I do play fiddle for enjoyment and for the enjoyment of others. A few weeks ago the band was out in Paris Kentucky visiting friends and our host had an old fiddle retrieved from an uncle's attic. Peter Rowan is just unbeatable for accompanying fiddle tunes on guitar and I fiddled the old tunes for hours on end without getting too bunched up. Mostly I favor mandolin though because I feel more confident and have more control with a plectrum than I have with a bow. thanks for asking.

  23. #23

    Default Re: 10 Questions for Jody Stecher

    Jody, thank you so much for your music. I've always credited David Grisman with turning me onto "acoustic" music and the mandolin when I was in college (eight years ago)...and I've also credited his label for turning me onto your music through the "Going Up On the Mountain Album". But, I always credit you with turning me onto old time music. It has been a backwards progression, from Dawg to bluegrass to old time...and your music has been a big catalyst for this. I'd like to ask you about finding a vocal niche in so many styles. From backing Peter Rowan on his latest album, to blending perfectly with Kate, to your amazing work on "Oh the Wind and Rain." I'm curious how you approach songs vocally. If you're singing an old ballad, do you approach it differently than you would on a more bluegrass oriented tune? Do you shape the music around your voice or do you shape your voice around the spirit and "historical nature" of the song?

  24. #24
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: 10 Questions for Jody Stecher

    Jody, Great show at the folk festival tonight!

    f-d
    Richmond, Virginia
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    '20 A3, '30 L-1, '97 914, 2012 Cohen A5, 2012 Muth A5, '14 OM28A

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    Registered User MandoNicity's Avatar
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    Default Re: 10 Questions for Jody Stecher

    Jody thank you for the wonderful stories and taking the time to tell us. I must confess that I'm not well up on your mandolin work, but rather your fiddle work. You first came to my attention in the early 70's when you were playing with Bromberg, if memory serves me well, it was you and Kenny Kosek doing twin fiddle work with Andy Statman on mandolin. Fantastic band!!! Can you tell us a little bit about your experience with this band? Many thanks for all your musical efforts.

    JR

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