The US-based former Fairport Convention member tells us about his UK tour and his Jeff Tweedy-produced new album.
How does an Electric Trio gig compare with your usual live performances?
There’s a certain overlap, and in the electric show there also acoustic segments. It’s a mixture.
Classic Rock’s review of the new album, Still, speculated that you now hire outside producers such as Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy to stave off becoming “stale”.
That’s fair. I’ve made around forty albums, and the creative process can be habit-forming. Sometimes it’s nice to bring in another set of ears. And some of Jeff’s personnel also played on the record, which helped to make it different.
What did you hope that Tweedy would bring to Still?
Jeff has a roots music sensibility that’s quite different to my own, and the record that he made with Mavis Staples [You Are Not Alone] suggested he’d do a good job for me.
As an ex-pat based in California, it seems there’s a disparaging namecheck for ‘Mr Murdoch’s news’ in Beatnik Walking.
I do resent him for taking over The Times. I’ve done the Times crossword since I was at school, but because of my issues with the owner, I get it online, which means I don’t have to deal with the rest of the paper.
At the age of sixty-six, aren’t you a bit long in the tooth to be singing about prick-teasers, in the song All Buttoned Up?
One doesn’t have to write about one’s self – I could be speaking retrospectively. Or I could also be that frisky sixty-six-year-old.
Your songs have been covered by Robert Plant, R.E.M., Elvis Costello and Bonnie Raitt, among others. Who would you like to be added that list?
That’s tricky. But girls seem to cover my songs more, by about three to one. They obviously tap into how deep and sensitive I am.