Answers to May Questions, Part I
6/1/2008 (updated 6/1/2008)

Love the song on Linda Ronstadt and Ann Savoy "Adieu False Heart" CD. What is the song "Burn's Supper" about? It is a hauntingly beautiful number. Jo Dillon

Itís about whatever you want it to be about, but I wrote it about my father, who was a Burns lover, and a Burnsí Supper regular Ė the only one he failed to attend was the day he died.

You have shared the stage, and recorded with, Robert Plant on a number of occasions. His love of your work is well documented. I was wondering if you were tempted to go and see the Led Zep reunion? Did the idea appeal or do you think these 'rock gods' are better off leaving the legacy alone? Were you/are you a fan of Jimmy Page's playing? Many thanks, Adam

I was in the wrong country for the Zep reunion, but I would have liked to have seen it, tickets permitting. Itís a futile argument to say that old bands from the 60s should leave well alone, because they are ALL out on the road. I knew Jimmy Pageís excellent work from numerous sessions he played on before Zep was formed.

My girlfriend and I really enjoyed your set and interview at Jazz Fest. I've been a fan since I first heard "When the Spell is Broken," but I never thought I would get to see or hear you live. Thank you for your performance and interview. There were times during your set when some of your material put me in mind of the acoustic work of Robert Fripp and the California Guitar Trio. I was wondering if you and Mr. Fripp have ever met. Thanks again for all your beauty. Michael Jeter

Glad you enjoyed JazzFest as much as I did. I think I met Robert Fripp back in the 60s, briefly, but not since.

How, may I ask, do you prepare during the two hours before a (evening) solo performance? I'm curious what a rarified guitarist/singer does at this stage of development. How might this differ if touring with the RT Band or the 1000 Years of Music Ensemble? Bruce Young, Santa Cruz

For an 8PM performance, we will typically arrive at the venue at around 4PM. Simon will begin tuning the PA system, and Iíll change strings and noodle on the guitar, or work on something compositional until sound check, at around 5PM. This is usually over by 6PM, at which point Iíll try to eat something light off the backstage rider Ė if the band is touring we might be catered with a Ďrealí sit down meal, but again I canít eat too much and then sing. Iíll then write a set list, warm up vocally and instrumentally, get changed, and off we go! Occasionally, the PA is a disaster, and tuning takes 3 hours, and everything else gets shoved back Ė or travel gets screwed up and we arrive late, or something Ė but this is fairly typical, and doesnít vary that much from solo to band to 1000 Years.

I am an amateur musician who regularly embarrasses myself at open mike nights. I would like to make "Hots for the Smarts" part of my repertoire. Are the tabs/chords/sheet music available anywhere?

Not yet. As this song is unrecorded, Iíve not really thought about anyone else doing it.

I would also love the guitar tunings for "She moved through the fair" I can hear that it is in Open D, but the inner string tunings escape my tin ear. Kindest Regards, Rob Wachs

The tuning is DADGAD, played in the key of D. The song is built around three chords, D C and G, and works best if you can find voicings for those that leave the top two strings ringing over.

On the CD re-release of the Albion Band's 'Rise Up Like the Sun', one of the bonus tracks is a version of your song 'Rainbow Over the Hill' on which Linda sings the lead vocal. Logic suggests to me that you would have played guitar on this track, but it doesn't sound like your style of playing. Can you enlighten me please? Who played on this recording? It's a great song incidentally. It'd be good to hear you play it sometime. Alan Fludgate

The guitarist was Graeme Taylor of the Albion Band. I sang this song at the Festival Hall in London last week.

Any chance of re-releasing the "Strict Tempo!" album (Compact Disc) ?? Used copies (on eBay, for example) are expensive and hard to find these days. ---Brian Miller (New Hampshire, USA)

We should, and we will.

Giving your new album lotsa playtime. Tremendous! Can you tell me what tuning you use on ďDads Gonna Kill MeĒ ? Iím really keen to cover it in my little blues trio. Regards, Paul Nickless

I play it in drop D, so I can get the low D at the start of the 4 note guitar riff (D E A B).