‘A River So Wide’
It is only in appearance that time is a river. It is rather a vast landscape and it is the eye of the beholder that moves.
Thornton Wilder (1897 - 1975) US "playwright, novelist"
LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW HERE
Celt In A Twist: To celebrate their ten year anniversary, Tiller’s Folly has released a new album called ‘The River So Wide’. Not only does the new disc display the breadth of their Celtic and Roots mastery, it mines the depth of songwriter, Bruce Coughlan’s abilities. Laurence Knight and good friend to Celt In A Twist is on line to tell us more about the album. Congratulations on the disc, Laurence.
Laurence Knight: Oh, thank you so much, Cal . It actually was an album that was a long time in coming.
CT: Whereas in the past the Tillers have provided an in-depth look at the pioneering history of our province with tunes like the Steamboatin' Jamiesons and MacPherson’s Rant, apart from one tale about the last of the Royal Engineers, the new album takes a decidedly more personal app roach . Is that a fair assessment?
LK: Yah, I think that's a very fair assessment. I think it's also that we really wanted to do a CD that would be more accessible to people at large. And, our regular fans ... their initial response is that they love it too.
CT: This album more than any of the previous seems to be balanced between folk roots and straight on country. Is that targeting or just coincidence?
LK: I don't know if the country programmers would agree with you there, Cal (laughs) but I think what we were trying to do is make a record of some of the genres that we really love ourselves with a modern, fresh app roach . We looked at some of the great artists that we loved like The Beatles, the Van Morrisons, the Rod Stewarts, and when they were using acoustic instruments like fiddles and mandolins and we tried to use them as our foil. And, that’s one of the reasons why we brought in Steven Drake (The Odds) to help me co-produce the record and Larry Knechtel (organ/piano session great) to play on it because he played on so many of those records.
CT: Who's the slide player?
LK: Mr. Eric Reed and he's a lovely player ...
CT: Whoa, incredible!
LK: He actually couldn't travel anymore to so he had to leave the band but he was with us for over four years.
CT: So, that was going to be my next question. You’re obviously a trio now how does that feel?
LK: Well, it feels really good but for our past few shows and the ones coming up in the area we're using the drummer from the record, Chris Nordquist and he and I have been playing together for close to thirty years now. He's just an incredible guy and it adds a new level of energy. We took him to Scotland with us, our fourth trip and the people over there just went crazy!
CT: As a bass player it's important to you to have a good drummer, right?
LK: Oh yah ... and Chris is one of the best and what he has is that sensitivity not to bury acoustic instruments.
CT: You’ve got your Celt In A Twist and we’ve got Laurence Knight from The Tiller’s Folly on the line to talk about their new 10 year anniversary album, The River So Wide. Keep up with their busy tour schedule at www.tillersfolly.com . Laurence, what’s the routine for you guys at this point, do you email it in or physically get together to work out tunes?
LK: When we're working on new stuff, Bruce (Coughlan) or Nolan ( Murray ) will do some demos and then we will get together and work on the tunes from there. Actually, for the recent work on Nolan's record we got together and did the demos and then recorded the tunes again with a pretty illustrious cast. But, we'll tell you more about that later!
CT: Bruce sure is prolific. I mean his solo album is wonderful too.
LK: Oh yah! You know we were just commissioned to write a song for next year's celebration of the Simon Fraser expedition. It's the 200th anniversary in 2008. And that's going to be coming out soon for people to listen to and that's and incredible song. We managed to get one of the very famous uilleann pipe players from Ireland to play on that . But again, more news on that will be coming in the future.
CT: Well, you're anticipating my questions here all the time, Laurence; I had wanted to ask you if you were still going to uncover the great pioneering stories of British Columbia . Because, that really makes your band unique I think.
LK: Thank you, Cal . I hope people here locally anyway can appreciate that it's quite a service that Bruce is doing for us all in his continued historical searches. He's really bringing a lot of our history to life.
CT: Well, I think anybody who comes to this country for the first time should be handed a copy of one of your albums as required listening.
LK: Thanks you, Cal! And, thank you for your continued support. You are such a great supporter of music and the arts in our wonderful city, man and it's appreciated.
CT: Well, it's my pleasure. We’re going out on one of my favorites from the new album. The opener which has a distinctive proto-punk Green Day feel to it. Tell us about the inspiration behind Take Pride.
LK: Bruce's son, Liam was ten years old and he's kind of the proverbial square peg in a round hole at school. And, Bruce was trying to find something he could say to him to give him some inspiration. So, this was written by Bruce for his son, Liam and I think it's an appropriate message for any of us.
Laurence Knight was interviewed by Cal Koat on September 18th/07 for broadcast on Celt In A Twist, AM 1470, CJVB