Lane Baldwin Interview
Lane Baldwin is a musician who has become somewhat a favourite amongst those StereoNET readers who have had the pleasure of hearing his first album “DIG THE HOLE”.
Released a few years back, under the band moniker, 'DEEPER BLUES', it has proven to have an exceptionally long 'shelf-life'.
It is certainly proof of the power of 'word of mouth' when it comes to great music.
On the eve of the release of his new album, and with the promise of a tour in the future, I had the chance to run a few questions by Lane. I am also grateful he was able to recount a few comments he has made in a prior interview, with a specialist Bass Player journal, with us here. What does one make of one of the premiere bluesman playing today, ' fessing up to what would be his desert island disc.?
All will be revealed ...
A full review of the new album will follow in a few weeks. In the meantime, enjoy what this articulate and passionate man has to say about music, and the important role it has played in his life.
D.M. - Lane, thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions for our StereoNET members.
I first heard the DEEPER BLUES album “DIG THE HOLE” (2008) at a member get-together earlier this year, on, incidentally, a system to die for. Unannounced, opening track 'TIME OF MY DYING Pt.1' started. The listeners, as one, fell silent and remained so till the end.
It had me quite flummoxed - I was convinced I was listening to Paul Rogers, but thought, wow, he has not sounded this good for a long while. Then there was the bass; I thought, there is no way this is an English bassist. Way to tight, totally locked in, not a stray note to be heard. I think you made 12 new fans that very day.
L.B. - Wow! Thanks so much! What a great story to hear. And what a great person to be compared to! I grew up on Paul Rodgers – first with Free, then with Bad Company. It’s a real honour to be compared to him.
The best part for me, however, is the fact that you all listened from one end to the other. When I produced DIG THE HOLE, I wanted to create an experience for the listener – one that lasted for more than one or two songs. I wanted them to come along for the entire journey, all at once. Knowing I succeeded with so many around the world, including your group of friends, is a real thrill! Let’s hope everyone does the same with THE VIEW FROM HERE.
D.M.- Was it always the bass for you, or was it the instrument you 'arrived' at?
L.B.- To be clear, my main instrument is the bass guitar, which I’ve played since I was 13 years old. I started on piano, though, at the age of 5. Several years later, my parents bought me a small guitar for Christmas, but it never felt comfortable. Same with drums. It just wasn’t a good fit for me. In 6th grade, I took up the Euphonium and fell in love with its sound.
All of this happened before I took up the bass, which is my real love. But I will admit to playing a few guitar tracks – even a keyboard track – on THE VIEW FROM HERE. But once I took up the bass, that was pretty much it for me. I never really wanted to play anything else, until about six years ago, when I picked up the guitar again, mostly for writing, and solo appearances.
D.M.- The precision in your style suggests, to my ear, a basis in theory. I also feel you got your 'ear' in early, as you are able to sing so forcefully, whilst the bass 'engine room' has it locked down, and the performance never wavers in the slightest. What is your take on these elements?
L.B. - Yeah, I had a lot of music theory as a child, but I always joke that I do my best to not let it get in the way of my Blues! Ear training was an important part of my music education and it definitely helped when I began to sing. It also helps me learn and analyze bass lines more quickly and easily. I can’t recommend that kind of training highly enough.
D.M. – Even for Blues players?
L.B. – Absolutely! I’m sure you’ve heard that musicians do better in math and science, right? That’s because music combines a huge amount of math with art. It’s the only brain activity that does that.
D.M. - Maths?
L.B.- Yes, Music theory – a scientific name, by the way – is really the math. Rhythm is math; how many beats in a measure and how you subdivide it. Frequencies of notes, and which frequencies, when played together create specific chord types, like major or minor, and specific feelings, like happy or sad. The overall sonic character of each note is based on which harmonics are emphasized. Virtually every facet of music can be described and controlled by the math behind the note!
D.M. – O.K. I see what you mean. But what does that have to do with the Blues, especially on an emotional level?
L.B. – While they’re not always easy to see, Blues has rules, too. The scales we use as our foundation still have rules. There are rules of form for song structures. There are rules about which notes you play, and why on several levels. The better you understand these rules, and can work with them, the better you can communicate your emotion. The better you can communicate what you feel, the better your Blues will be.
Now, that’s not to say you can’t bend or even break the rules. I do it all the time! I just think it’s better to know the rules before you bend or break them, you know?
D.M.- The music that “DEEPER BLUES” forged, despite being born of the Blues Tradition, (a tradition that historically allows all manner of bending, shaping and individual idiosyncrasy), is remarkably disciplined. Where was this discipline' instilled', and would you agree it shapes your music?
L.B.- My music is disciplined, and I’m glad you noticed that. I learned it both from my early teachers, and also from those who have guided me in my travels through the Blues. But everything I do, even the songs that don’t “sound” like Blues, still conforms to the Blues rules in many ways.
I think the discipline shines through in the song arrangements, both on “DIG THE HOLE” and the new album, “THE VIEW FROM HERE”. Every band member has specific parts that work together to create the feel and the sound of each track. We could have just blasted away through the entire record, but it makes much more sense to create sonic/emotional peaks and valleys so the listener doesn’t get bored or overwhelmed. But even on the recording, you can pretty much tell where we would stretch things and explore in a live concert. And, of course, there’s a lot of individual expression in the solos, and the instantaneous interaction between the players.
D.M. – Let’s go back to singing and playing for a minute. How do you lock down such a solid groove while singing a completely different part that’s more about flowing around the beat than locking to it?
L.B. - I’m still not sure how I do that! (laughs) I’ve been doing it a long time, especially if you count all the background vocals I’ve done. Because of that, I’ve finally reached a point that it’s just automatic 95% of the time. I do sometimes have to really pay attention when I’m learning to do sing over a complex line, though. The early theory, rhythm and ear training really helps me figure out how the two parts weave together.
D.M. – What are some of the most difficult ones for you to sing and play?
L.B.- 'I MISS YOU' [from THE VIEW FROM HERE] is difficult because it’s a percolating Bo Diddley beat against several different drum parts, depending on the section of the song, and the lyrics are fairly complex and syncopated. So I had to really work on the bass line first, then put a lot of time into the vocals before I felt completely at ease doing it live, to the point I could interact with the audience while I sang.
Indeed , 'RUNNIN’ FOR DAYLIGHT' [from TVFH] was the same way. That bass line is repetitive, which helps. This is based on what I call the Three Most Important Notes – the root, flat third and flat seventh. But it flips the rules on their ears in that it’s syncopated and jumps up and down in an unusual way. Again, the lyrics are complex, and have their own syncopation, which is different from the bass line. I had to sort out where the lyrics fell between the notes and where they didn’t.
D.M.- With the trio format, we have seen several permutations over the decades. “CREAM”, with Clapton, Bruce and Baker essentially featured three soloists, all going hell for leather at the same time. But it was the concise tracks, such as 'WE'RE GOING WRONG', that conveyed the most power - a power born of the confidence to underplay, and serve the song.
In contrast, “THE WHO”, were a power trio fronted by a vocalist, but it would be hard not to argue that KEITH MOON was the lead instrumentalist.
What is your take on the trio format, and would you be offended if I suggested that even on the most locked down tracks, you are playing 'lead bass', and pacing your bandmates in service to the dynamic required for the song?
L.B.- You’re comparing me to my heroes, and I’m deeply honoured! CREAM is a serious influence on me, as was THE WHO, JACK BRUCE was my first bass hero in terms of technique and chops. Plus, along with PAUL McCARTNEY he was a singing bass player before anyone else. The OX (the late JOHN ENTWISTLE) was another early explorer of the whole lead bass thing, so he certainly had my attention as well.
These players show very different ways to approach a trio, and there are others – RUSH and JIMI HENDRIX are just two of the obvious choices. With 'Deeper Blues', my goal was to combine all of that into a single band. The carefully crafted arrangements, the breadth of styles covered, the improvisation flights of Hendrix and Cream, and the bombast of The Who. And let’s just add in QUEEN as a power trio that did all of that, plus added pomp and circumstance to the equation.
And Dave, you are absolutely correct that the bass determines the feel and pacing. And, yes, when appropriate, I’ll use it as a lead instrument, as I did on the new CD in very specific spots. One fan called it “Sonny Boy Williamson, only lower”! I love that!!!!
Even the simplest bass line drives the song, and everything else serves that feel. From straight shuffle feels to heavier rockers… I’m not sure I’d call lines like that “lead bass” but I’d definitely say it’s the bass that’s the foundation for how each song feels. Now, you listen to 'Lay Me Down', the opening track on the new CD, or to 'Time of my Dyin'' from 'Dig the Hole' and they’re all about lead bass!
D.M.- Lane, you seem to have worked with some incredible musicians for your current and past projects. Can you tell us about some of them?
L.B. - I did “DIG THE HOLE ” with a virtually unknown guitarist, and a drummer who had never played Blues!
Gary Jones was an amazing guitarist; he worked hard to learn the signature arrangement parts, and yet brought his deepest soul to the recording and live work we did together. Meeting him was the final motivation to step up front and do my own music again. Aaron Bouslog was only 18 when we met, and he worked tirelessly for a year and a half. Aaron had absolutely mad technical skills, but no grounding in the Blues or the idea of playing from the heart first, not the head. He was a willing student and we spent hours discussing the why’s and wherefores of playing the Blues. I am extremely proud of what he did with us, and what he’s doing now. I mean, every time you hear a cymbal crash or a tom-tom, it’s for a specific reason. Even more importantly, when you don’t hear them, there’s a specific reason, which is always the same: it wasn’t absolutely necessary. That’s why there’s so much impact in his drumming.
D.M. – What about the band on “THE VIEW FROM HERE”.?
L.B.- POLO brought in more than two dozen top players, including Abe Laboriel, Jr. (drummer for Paul McCartney), Bryant Mills (drummer for John Lee Hooker), keyboardists Nate Ginsberg (Herbie Hancock, Larry Graham) and Danny B (Sistah Monica), and a host of guitarists (Terri Hiatt, David Adams, and several others), vocalist Tammi Brown, horns on four tracks, percussion on several, some strings. We even brought in the Abbott Brothers, a second-generation Bluegrass band to record a Piedmont Blues tune with me. It’s definitely a much larger and much more diverse sound, and it doesn’t hurt to have some of the best players in the Bay Area contributing their talents. I really enjoyed working with all of them.
D.M. – O.K., interest piqued - Who is Polo?
L.B. – Polo Jones is my secret weapon! (laughs) He’s been a very close friend and strong supporter for many years. He’s a killer bassist and great producer, among many other things. I say this all the time: Working with him is like working with a smarter, more experienced version of myself. He understands my music, and everything about me, better than anyone else, sometimes even better than me! Credit Polo with helping me make the best record possible, the best representation of who I am.
D.M.- I tend to think that all truly great music is intrinsically cathartic. It connects directly or obliquely to the listeners own inner world /life experience and very much becomes part of that persons' D.N.A.
But perhaps because it comes from such a seminal source, the Blues Tradition seems to be the most cathartic of all. What are your thoughts on this notion?
L.B.- To my way of thinking, The Blues is the ultimate cathartic music. It taught us how important – and useful! – that whole experience is. The Blues allows you to wrestle with your deepest pain, to bring it out in the open and really feel it. And singing about that pain while really feeling it again helps you release some of it, to find renewal so you can face another day. The performer can feel it, and the audience can too, especially when they’ve experienced the same pain, or something similar in their own lives.
D.M. – Can you offer some examples in your songs? You have spoken most eloquently of a few favourites in another forum: can you share your thoughts here as well?
L.B. - Lots of them! (laughs) Most of the painful stories are mine. Not all, but most of them. One the generates a lot of emails is 'BLACK SHEEP'. People tell me it’s like I wrote their theme song, because they feel estranged from their own families, and want to come home. Man, I’m tearing up just thinking about that! And I think the reason it gets to so many people is because you can hear the emotion in my voice. You know deep down that I really feel that way.
On 'FREEDOM TRAIN' from “THE VIEW FROM HERE”, you’re hearing a slave father pray for the safety of his sons, as he watches them begin their journey on the Underground Railroad in search of freedom. Now, my family has history with the railroad, which also called the Freedom Train, by the way. I’m proud of that history and wanted to honor it, and the people who brought us the Blues. And so, here I’m singing this prayer, and you know it was some powerful stuff – to put myself in the place of those fathers, those mothers, and make that plea to the Maker.
Like 'DADDY’S PIER' on “DIG THE HOLE” it was almost overwhelming in its emotional intensity, and I hope the listener can hear that, and can feel it along with me. Because that’s what I want you to do. I want you to feel how that father felt in 'FREEDOM TRAIN'. I want you to know Jake’s desperation in 'RUNNIN’ FOR DAYLIGHT', and my fear of dying alone in 'LAY ME DOWN'.
D.M. – It is interesting that you mention 'FREEDOM TRAIN” as an Australian director has just completed a feature film on that very subject, “FREEDOM”, to great acclaim.
But what about the happier songs? Aren’t they Blues, too?
L.B. Absolutely they are! Here’s another secret: once you learn how to deal with the tough emotions – pain, sorrow, loss – you can apply that same understanding to expressing joy and happiness. So when I tell you why I’m a Happy Boy, you get it, and you feel it, too. When I sing “Twister come and I don’t care” in Blow Twister Blow, you can hear the flippancy as well as my faith in the Almighty. When a woman or a baby hears Lullaby, they connect very quickly to the love that went into the performance.
D.M.- Many StereoNET members are musicians and would love to know what comprises your stage gear? Also, did God really invent a 'hockey stick bass' ??
L.B.- (Laughing) No, God didn’t invent it, but he sure sent it to us at the right time! Polo is the mastermind behind it, and he’s the one who suggested Spoonful as the song to do with the hockey stick. It was perfect! Written by a bass player and Blues legend; covered by my first Bass Hero (Jack Bruce). I always include at least one cover on every project, and this was one of the best choices we could have made.
As for the bass itself, two teenage brothers found it on the side of the road. They showed it to Polo, and he knew right away what to do with it. It began life as an actual hockey stick, which you can tell by the worn tape and decals, and all the nicks and scuffs and such. Someone put a fingerboard down one side, added a single tuning key and bridge piece, and one half of a P-bass style pickup – sideways! – with basic electronics. The tripod on which it stands is the bottom of a guitar stand. Polo and the boys repaired the electronics; the only problem was that they didn’t paint it black for me! (laughs) We’ll correct that on the signature model, though.
D.M. – Lane, come on, you're doing a signature hockey stick? Wait till the Aussie Womens Hockey Team get news of this!
L.B. – (laughs) Well, we’re talking about it. I mean, as cool as it was to play it on the track, it would be so much cooler to play the song live – on a hockey stick, just as I did in the studio. So, if you’re going to do it, you might as well do it right, and upgrade the design a bit, and do it in black!
D.M. – You have to promise to let us know right away when it’s done. But for now, please go back to telling us about your gear.
LB - Let’s start with the basses, both of which are from Spector. I have been a proud endorser for just shy of twenty years! It all started, and it will all end, with the first bass they ever built for me – The Voice. It’s an early NS-6XL design, and is the first, and sometimes only, bass with certain options:
- 1st translucent black gloss finish – which is now one of their most popular color choices.
- 1st black hardware, which is now standard on some other models.
- 1 of only ten Spector’s built with fiber optic neck markers, of which at least 5 are destroyed, and two are owned by Spector employees. It’s also the only six string to have this option, which was only available on that one run of basses.
The Voice also features a piezo-electronic bridge pickup with its own tone controls and a blend knob. I use it on occasion to add dirt, top end and aggressiveness for solos.
The Voice is my perfect bass, and it really does give voice to what I hear and feel inside, so listeners get as close to my true spirit as possible.
My back-up is a Coda, Spector’s J-style bass, and it’s the 16th 5-string Coda they built. Of course, it was black. The back of the neck was even custom-stained in black, and the headstock color matched to the body. This one is Etta, and she allows me to do most of what I do on The Voice while giving me a different sound.
Both basses are slung on LM Products straps, which I’ve used and proudly endorsed for almost a decade. The cross version was a custom combination taken from two different models, then done in custom colors to match Etta’s black/brown color scheme. They’re wide and well-padded, very comfortable and very well made.
For more than a decades, I’ve endorsed DR Strings Black Beauties, and I use them on both basses. Great tone, top to bottom, and they last forever!
I run a Line 6 G50 wireless into a phase shifter and distortion box, neither of which gets used much, then to an Ernie Ball volume pedal and my Peterson Stomp Classic tuner, which I’m also proud to endorse. I’ve been using Peterson tuners since middle school, so it’s very cool to be associated with them now.
Everything sits on a Pedal Train board, which has its own fitted case. Power comes from a Voodoo Labs brick that is mounted underneath the board, out of the way, but easily accessible for running cables. Cables are a mixture of Monster and Mogami. At some point, I’ll have someone do custom length cables for the pedal board, but I’m still experimenting with various pedals and ideas, so nothing is set in stone. The wireless and tuner are requirements; the rest is optional at this point.
D.M - What about your amps?
L.B.- For over fifteen years, amplification was all about David Nordschow, AKA David Eden. I’ve been using Eden heads and cabinets for two decades. I worked inside for several years and was with David until the bitter end at Eden, and a little beyond. I then left to help David start his second company, David Nordschow Amplification, DNA for short. I did a lot of the same things for DNA as I’d done for David at Eden, and I’m thrilled that he got his second chance, and that he’s done so well with it.
My current live rig consists of an Eden WT-550 head, powering a pair of DNA 112 cabinets. It puts out an amazing amount of sound, with incredible bottom, all the way to low Bb when I have to detune for certain projects. (Not my own, however.)
For “THE VIEW FROM HERE”, we used Markbass rigs and I was extremely pleased with the results. Polo has endorsed them for several years and has a lot of experience recording their amps. We took the DI straight out of the back and mic-ed the front in an isolation booth. They took everything I threw at them and just laughed it off. It was great!
D.M- You seem quite individual and distinctive in your gear choices.
L.B.- The great thing about my choices is that I don’t have to move a single tone control to have the best tone of my life! Everything I do with my hands is perfectly translated, exactly the way I want to hear it. For me, it starts in my heart and spirit, and it’s that voice I hear, that I want others to hear. My amp has to translate The Voice, which is my medium for expressing myself in bass. I have yet to play a bass as perfect for me as that bass is, and my amps reproduce it exceedingly well. I’m a Happy Boy! (laughs)
D.M.- Similarly, would you consider yourself an audiophile, and what sort of home sound system do you enjoy?
L.B.- I don’t know that I’d call myself an audiophile, even though I’ve collected some pretty cool vinyl over the years. I don’t even have a separate sound system anymore, or a TV, mostly due to moving so much. When you’re off to another place every few years, you learn to pare things down; you learn what matters to you and what doesn’t. So I use my computer and its outboard speakers – a pair of Logitech satellites w/subwoofer that does pretty well. It’s enough to rattle the walls with bottom end, so it does quite nicely with music and movies.
I’ve got say, though, that I’ve heard some **very impressive home systems and I’d love to own such a rig one day. And the turntable to go with it!
D.M.- Which artists do you collect for your listening pleasure, and do you venture into other genres?
L.B.- I’m all over the map, from classical to current stuff. Most of it changes from day to day, from moment to moment. But certain things are constant: Blues of all eras and classic rock. These two comprise about 60% of my listening.
Blues could find me listening to anyone from Blind Willie McTell (who wrote Statesboro Blues) and Hound Dog Taylor to Joe Bonamassa and Eric Clapton. All the Kings, of course, and all their disciples. There are two bass players to pay special attention to: Willie Dixon, who not only wrote a lot of the classics of his time, but also played a mean upright on a lot of those recordings, and his own. And, Johnny B. Gayden, who played with Albert Collins up till Albert passed, as well as dozens of others… almost the entire Alligator roster back in those years. Johnny’s recorded legacy is like an encyclopedia of Blues bass guitar. I’ve learned a whole lot more over the years! He’s one of my most important mentors, the other one being Polo.
D.M.- Lane, can you tell us your list of most influential musicians?
L.B.- Bach and Johnny B. come to mind immediately. And I could reel off the names of all the same bassists everyone else does – Paul, John Paul, John, Chris, Geddy, Jack above all,… but let me go about it a different way:
My first group of influences are my early teachers – my mother, Mrs. Phillips the piano teacher who taught her, along with my sister and I a generation later. The high school band teacher who also gave private lessons to dozens of grade school kids to give them a good, strong start. Brian Bowman, the world’s greatest Euphonium player who taught me for three years. The local guitar teacher who gave me three months of bass lessons and threw me out because he couldn’t teach me anything else because I’d already learned everything he knew. “Go join a band and learn a few hundred songs,” he said, and I did. As part of that process of song-learning, I learned quite a few Carol Kaye bass lines. Then I found her instructional books and went through all of them. Years later, in the early 80s, I had the honor of studying with her for a short time, learning from the Sensei’s Sensei.
These are the people who shaped me as a musician, who taught me the theory, the math, all of that. This is where I learned the discipline you asked about earlier.
The other group of influences are all those who schooled me, one late night talk at a time, about the Blues. What it was and what it can still be. Where it came from and where it can go. They taught about the spiritual side of it. I learned some things about opening my heart from the first group, but it was this second group of people who really took me to school on it – how to dig all the way down, what you’re digging for, why you’re digging for it, and what you’re supposed to do about it once it’s out of the ground for everyone to see and feel. Funny thing, a lot, if not most, of this schooling didn’t come close to discussing what notes to play. Maybe how to play them, certainly why to play them, and why not to. But not which notes to play.
D.M.- Who do you regard as the three most important musicians of the last fifty years?
L.B.- OK… 64 or later… sort of like Jacks or better to open, except no poker chips and cigars…Hmmm…. How about 60 or so? (laughs)
T-BONE WALKER for me, he epitomizes early electric Blues. Revered by everyone from B.B. King to Stevie Ray, he was the man in his day, and his music still stands tall! By the way, I saw an album cover of him from well before Jimi Hendrix, on which he was doing a full split with his fat-body jazz guitar behind his head, soloing. In a suit!
Then there’s JIMI who changed the way we looked at guitar, at music, and at life. ‘Nuff said.
ELVIS, Love him or hate him – I love the man, but hated to see his fall – he changed American music forever.
One last one – VICTOR WOOTEN. Victor may have followed in the footsteps of earlier solo bassists/composers, but he now not only stands next to them with authority, in some ways he has surpassed even their amazing accomplishments. As a composer, bandleader and bassist he has made a narrow subgenre of music ( the solo bass record) acceptable, even very interesting, to a much larger audience. As an educator and clinician, he has touched the lives of thousands of aspiring bassists, and not a few professionals, myself included. His music is a lot different than mine, but Victor has achieved that perfect blend of theoretical knowledge – the math – with the spiritual essence of the art form. He is one of the most amazing humans I’ve ever met.
D.M.- Who would you nominate as the three musicians from any period you would loved to have played/ play with?
L.B.- This one is actually easier than others! JEFF BECK on guitar – I mean, is there anything this man *doesn’t know?
ABE LABORIEL, Jr. – I would LOVE to have him driving the train. All I’d have to do is sit back in the first class coach and ride! (laughs) What an honor to have him on 'FREEDOM TRAIN' on the new CD!
For keyboards, it has to be Jon Lord of Deep Purple. There were same really awesome keyboard players – Rick Wakeman, Keith Emerson, Patrick Moraz, Steve Walsh. But Jon Lord is a god, pardon my pun. For what I do, he’d be the best, I think.
Or Bach. He’d be cool. I’m betting Bach could seriously throw down on some Blues and Blues Rock, and would really dig Hammond organs and Leslie speaker systems. The only problem would be he’d want to do all the arrangements!
And I’d love to have Polo as Music Director and Utility Infielder, as I call it. He could play guitar, keys and percussion, and pick up the bass on the songs I do on guitar. Plus, he could serve as music director, and protect me on the road! (laughs)
Give me that band, and I could take over the world!
D.M.-Your one desert island disc?
L.B.- Easy: PINK FLOYD. The hard choice! “THE WALL” or ” DARK SIDE OF THE MOON”? I’d probably go with whichever was closest when I had to evacuate.
D.M.- I believe you were a prime mover in establishing some community support networks after a devastating flood in your region a few years ago? How did that come about?
L.B.- You’re talking about Low Notes for Nashville. One of my best friends – bassist, composer and producer Sean O’Bryan Smith committed his songwriting royalties to helping, and I followed suit when I saw his tweet ten minutes later. When I called after hitting SEND, his first words were, “Took you long enough,” to which I answered, “yeah, I know. So what do you want to do?”
Within an hour we had a plan and were reaching out to our closest friends in the bass community. Mick Donner, who is a music manufacturing industry icon, was instrumental in reaching out to a ton of companies and top-shelf celebrities. Dave Pomeroy, a legendary bassist and the president of the Nashville musician’s union, was the fourth pillar in our team, and helped us on numerous levels, from connecting us with resources and partners to connecting us with those in need.
All told, we raised something over $75,000 dollars in gear and donations.
D.M. – That wasn’t your first charity, though, was it?
L.B. – Not by a fair piece! But it is one of the two biggest I’ve ever helped start. I’ve done a lot of charity work over the years, most of the early stuff for children and children’s hospitals. When we released 'DIG THE HOLE' in 2008, we commemorated the event with a benefit concert for the local food pantry. We produced more than a dozen concerts over the next two and a half years, bringing in more than $80,000 dollars in donations and food. We also started a monthly free dinner that, even though I left the area several years ago, still feeds about 500 people every month.
I believe that we are all called to serve others, and the we find our greatest fulfillment in that service. It’s a very important part of how I attempt to live my life.
D.M.- For any aspiring musician, what would be your two most powerful tips to keep them motivated?
L.B.- I don’t know if they’re motivational in the sense you mean, but I’ll give you what I think are the two most important things to remember:
The first is to be VERY Disciplined - Take the time to learn the basics, and review constantly. Go slow with every exercise so your fingers learn exactly where they are supposed to go. Only after you can play something perfectly ten times in a row should you increase tempo. Constantly review as you learn more, so you don’t forget things. This is especially important for the theory. Plan your practice time, then work the plan. It’s hard work, but it’s the best way be a good player from the very start. And playing well is the best motivation I know.
I go into this, and some other things in a series of videos on Bass Lessons HQ. Obviously, I teach bass, but these videos are good for all students, I think.
The second this is: Let Your Creative Spirit Soar. Every day, after you practice the things that help make you a better player, take a few minutes to just play! Let things fall out of you. If you hit a wrong note, laugh it off and go back to what you were doing.
D.M.- Lane, “DIG THE HOLE” has had what we call 'legs' - it continues to garner a devoted following. Several times, you’ve mentioned a new CD. Tell us about that, and when we can expect to hear it.
L.B.- I’m very fortunate that “DIG THE HOLE” has done so well for so long. I still get fan mail about it! And yet, I think “THE VIEW FROM HERE” which just came out, surpasses it in many ways. Certainly, Polo helped me cover a lot more ground in many ways. Because of all that ground, we’re calling it Blues-infused Americana, which I think describes it very well.
Polo and I spent hours going over everything I had written up to the beginning of 2012. We pared more than 60 songs down to 15 possibilities, then whittled that list down to ten, plus a pair of covers. It wasn’t so much about picking the “best” songs, because there are a lot of really strong tunes still waiting to be recorded. Instead, it was about picking the ones that, together, took the listener on the best journey.
D.M. You had to live through some serious Blues before you could release “THE VIEW FROM HERE” didn’t you?
LB – Yes I did, especially this year. 2013 was hard because it took as longer to complete the CD than expected. There was very good reason for that, but it put some strain on me. Part of that strain was losing my sweetheart in the Spring, which hit me pretty hard. Then, on New Year’s Day, I came down with what I though was the flu, but turned out to be a colon infection that almost killed me! Actually, it did; three times, right before the first surgery. All told, I went through two surgeries and three hospital stays. I narrowly avoided another pair of surgeries when a tear developed after the second go-round.
But all of that’s in the past. My surgeon is thrilled with my progress; I’ve been cleared to tour, and I’m raring to go! Now we finally get to bring “THE VIEW FROM HERE” to the world, and I can’t wait!
D.M.- There is a large dedicated blues audience in Australia. Do you think a trip to the Southern Hemisphere would be on the cards?
L.B.- Dave, I’d love to come to Australia. I’ve got several Aussie friends, and I love the continent. We’re actually in talks with a large Blues festival that wants us, and just getting to know some agents and promoters who can help us put together a tour.
D.M.- Lane, on behalf of the StereoNET members, Marc Rushton and myself, a huge thank you for your insights, and a visit our way could not come too soon. Marc and I will have a few choice Aussie wines to share when you touch down.
L.B.- You’re very welcome, Dave, and I really appreciate that opportunity to talk with you. And a special shout out to all the fans in your circle. It’s great to “meet” you, and I hope we see each other soon!
StereoNET readers can read a review of the new album very shortly. There will only be a limited CD run, but it is available for download now. If the album does as well as it deserves to, there may be a CD run further down the line.
Buy Lane’s music on CD Baby or iTunes.
A walking encyclopedia of music, David’s broad music knowledge is a valued member to the team. Without music, there would be no HiFi. Look out for his words on current, past and future music, as well as album reviews.