Interviews and Articles

Me and Thee Blogspot: Q and A w/ Pat Wictor

by Kathy Sands-Boehmer, October 26, 2007

Ive been impressed by Pat Wictors gentle, bluesy music since first seeing him at Summerfest in New Bedford a couple summers ago. Since that time, Ive had the pleasure of seeing Pat solo and also accompanying others like Red Molly and Pete and Maura Kennedy. Last year he was voted one of Falcon Ridges Most Wanted and went on tour with the aforementioned Red Molly and Ellis. He also was a finalist at the Kerrville New Folk competition. Check out some great close-up shots of Pat playing his lap slide guitar on his MySpace page. You can also hear a variety of different songs on his website.

Pat and Joe Crookston will be sharing a double bill at the me&thee coffeehouse on November 2.

Youve lived all over the world and very much consider yourself a world citizen. Do you feel that your experiences abroad have influenced your music at all? And have you had the opportunity to return to any of those countries as a traveling musician?

Its not easy to hear much evidence of my travels abroad in my own music, but those experiences opened some unexpected doors in my musical life. I had access to great live music living in Europe, particularly jazz, which was much more accessible to a young person than over here. I managed to see Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz, the Gil Evans Orchestra, and Chet Baker, all when I was a teenager. In the year that I lived in London, I was seeing live music three or more nights a week. It was one of the most exciting years of my life! The jazz club in Stavanger, Norway looked the other way when I visited (I was a regular there), even though I was clearly underage. Its unlikely I would have been exposed to the great variety and quality of music I saw, if Id been living stateside. I went to small schools in Europe, and through my junior high and high schools I had my first experiences playing guitar, singing, playing jazz, and encountering every kind of music from renaissance recorder music to 20th-century composers. The school and public libraries in London and Stavanger were filled with huge record collections, which I raided constantly, listening to a lot of jazz and classical music. In general, the arts receive greater public and governmental support in Europe, and my musical development benefited greatly from it. The other unexpected way that those experiences abroad influenced me is that when I finally returned to live in the U.S., it was really a conscious choice to live here (not unlike an immigrants). I was on a quest to understand what it means to be an American, and how I could be one, given that I didnt share many of the experiences or opinions of my fellow citizens. My search eventually led me to the historic music of the rivers, mountains, and hollers  mostly the Mississippi Delta and Appalachia. Thats my point of emotional connection with American-ness  our beautiful and sometimes terrible history is bound up with that music. It embodies and expresses the promises, yearnings, and disappointments of our country, with unmatched eloquence and emotional force.

What is it about the lap slide guitar captures your imagination and your soul?

Its got the greatest expressive capabilities of any acoustic guitar I know. You can play it with the vocal expressiveness of a fiddle or a wind instrument, with the sweet tone of an acoustic guitar. Marvelous. Its also an instrument with major technical limitations, and one of the pleasures of playing it is trying to figure out some way around those limitations. Thats led me to invent some unique  far as I know  tunings and approaches as Im trying to extend the possible sounds I can get.

For the complete interview, go to the Me and Thee blog here