Q&A May 2013, Part I
6/3/2013 (updated 8/7/2013)

In Q&A April 2013 Part V you say: "I played on one of the earlier Transatlantic Sessions. I do get asked, but it's always at a tough time of year for me." I have all the official Transatlantic Sessions on DVD, but you are not on any of them. So I wonder which one you played on, and why your performance wasn't broadcast or included on the DVD? I do hope that you get the time to participate on one of the future Transatlantic Sessions! Kind regards, Kaare K. Johnsen (Norway)
PS: I've been to two of your concerts in Oslo, one with your band and one solo, and they were both great!

Perhaps this was before they started issuing them on DVD. I remember working with Mary Black and Donal Lunny on one show.

Re: VocAL aERobatics :)
The vocal aerobatics on A Love You Can't Survive in comparison to the singing from the early 70s (my favourite period in regard to instrumentation incidentally) is astonishingly grand. It reveals how a singer's voice can improve when it comes to hitting and sustaining the high notes rather than deteriorate with age.

My question therefore is: Do you record your vocal track on a song such as A Love You Can't Survive using a guide track, multiple passes, drop ins and/or other similar techniques or rely mainly on a single inspired performance? Regards, Peter Mateer - Central Queensland fan

I don't remember exactly what happened for that particular track, but the voice is a bit scratchy in the lower register, so that may have been live. I usually sing a live vocal, and then try to beat it by overdubbing a better one. In this process I would usually do about three passes, and then compile those into one. If I still didn't have it, I'd do three more, and compile those with the first set. If I didn't have it by then, I would consider an alternative career in pharmaceuticals.

Re: Certain fingerstyle technique
Hi Richard! I'd just like to say that I am a huge fan of your work and that you are definitely one of my all time guitar heroes, I was in awe of your playing and songwriting when I first got to see you live at Trowbridge village pump festival, as I have been at Cropredy and other gigs of yours I've been to and am every time I listen to your music (I love the slightly more bluesy, power trio vibe of the new album). Bit of a guitar geek type question, but as a guitarist myself I have been developing my fingerstyle playing. I have recently cracked using a thumb pick for faster pieces, and over the last few months have been in the process of learning Vincent black lightning, which has been no easy job! but I'm finally at a point where i'm confident in playing most of it, however, I was wondering if you could shed some light for me on what the technique you use is in the descending run just before the last part of the intro goes into the verse? Is it played using the thumb sort of 'rolling' over the strings or the fingers? any advice on how you do this or on the technique in general would be a huge help! Thanks a lot, Matt Williams
p.s. I love the sound you get out of your Lowden, am I right in thinking it has a cedar top?

This technique is sometimes called a banjo roll, and is tricky to describe, but here goes…let us suppose you are playing the top 4 strings of the guitar. Finger 1 plays the 2nd string, finger 2 plays the 1st string, and the thumb plays strings 3 and 4. To get the roll effect, the order is

thumb on 4
1st finger on 2
2nd finger on 1
thumb on 3

This is played as a fast triplet - the first 2 beats of a 4/4 bar are played as triplets, and you are playing the first 4 notes of those 6 triplet beats.

It's much easier to watch someone do it than describe it.

Yes, my Lowden has a cedar top.