Q&A February 2013, Part II
3/4/2013 (updated 3/5/2013)

Re: Mastering of Electric
I would like to ask Richard why the sound on the new cd is squashed flat and why is the cd so loud? The songs on Electric are some of the best songs you have written in years but the mastering is I am sorry to say abysmal. Jerry Berman

The recording uses a lot of compression on the room mics. We thought this suited the overall intention of the project. These things tend to be a matter of personal taste.

Re: Auldie Riggs Dance
i couldn't help but make the comparison of this arrangement with Vaughn William's "Folk Song Suite". Was that intentional, or is it just me? Looking forward to seeing Richard Thompson and Emmylou Harris in Boston next month-the new album is great. Thanks.

When you compose something for a string ensemble based on the British tradition, you will probably echo Vaughn Williams, Grainger, Delius, Butterworth, Ireland, Bliss, and a few others. Not intentional, but probably inevitable.

Re: Nottamun town?
Hi Richard, I sometimes listen to old Fairport stuff on the way into work and a question has stuck in my head .I know it's a long shot-but, can you remember what you were doing on the guitar for 'Nottamun town' (re.tunings/capo/right hand technique)? I ask because it seems to be unlike any other solo you have recorded-and it's one piece that has me stumped when I try to transcribe it(I run out of fretboard for the sting bends! Any clues gratefully received, thank you. Max Cuthbert, Portland, OR.

I took the top 2 strings off the guitar and fitted an unwound 3rd, and played it like a sitar, with plenty of room to bend upwards.

Having read about your love for Lowden guitars I have always been on the lookout to try one. While in London I visited a friend who was staying with a VERY wealthy friend. Lo and behold there was a Lowden. I played it and actually laughed out loud after the first strum. It was that good. Literally the best sounding and playing guitar I had ever laid my hands on. I was told it was something ridicules like #2 or #6 (I told you he was wealthy). It felt fragile almost as if it was made out of balsa wood. I rushed to Denmark Street intending to buy one. I found some new ones. While still great guitars they were not the same at all. I sadly realized that this mystical beautiful thing I wanted was financially out of reach (wipes tear away). Are there particular models or years of production that you are partial to and maybe, just maybe have that incredible chime sound and ease of playing that the old one I played had? Best, Chris Assells

Old guitars can sound fabulous. It can take 40 years for the wood to mature and get played in. I've never heard an early Lowden, but their new guitars are extraordinarily good. Middle period Lowdens, when they were made under license in Asia, are less interesting, but still very good. My signature model really is pretty great, and might fit your budget…

In the liner notes for "Electric" (yes, I still read liner notes), the instruments you're listed as playing include the accordion, mandolin and hurdy-gurdy. I've seen you live roughly a dozen times and I can't recall ever seeing you play any instruments other than guitar in concert. Why is that? Couldn't you, for example, play a song solo on the mandolin, or have Messrs. Jerome and Prodaniuk carry the brunt of the song while you rock out on the hurdy-gurdy, or, on earlier tours, have Pete Zorn play rhythm guitar and you play accordion? Just wondering, thanks.

I do play Hurdy-Gurdy in the '1,000 Years Of Popular Music' show. I should probably dig out the mandolin more. My accordion playing is no great shakes - OK in the studio, where I can have a few attempts.

I wrote to you via your website about the time that Sweet Warrior came out to ask if you might be coming to New Zealand to play at any point. You replied that there was an intention to come. Sadly, that much awaited event didn't happen. I can see that your touring schedule for North America and Britain alone is a dizzying one and that you need time off, not only for family reasons but also for creativity. Nonetheless, do you think that a small tour down here will ever be on the cards? The Electric album has only made my wish to see you play live again more urgent! Thanks! Regards Colin

We are now looking at Spring 2014 for NZ/OZ. Always trying to get there!