Radio for Cats
You slip 'Radio for Cats' into the player and think: Does this mean Neil Luckett, known for his work with modern-rock trio tvfordogs, has really been a folkie all along? And it turns out the answer is yes and no. Long an admirer of 1960s folk guitarists Bert Jansch, John Renbourn, Davy Graham, and Nick Drake, Luckett likes to write melodic rave-ups on acoustic guitar and then amp them up for tvfordogs. The acoustic versions are his little secret. But 'Radio for Cats' is no mere "tvfordogs unplugged," no demo session. It's a reimagining, a reinvention. We sat down with Luckett for a cuppa on the eve of the record's release. Wampus Multimedia: You cite some interesting influences. Were you thinking of them as you recorded this record? Neil Luckett: Sure. And others, too. Their use of acoustic guitar is so imaginative -- textures and dynamics a lot of modern acoustic guitarists just don't use. The songs don't really fall into that '60s Brit-folk style, but I think they work well that way. The one track that has those echoes is "Roadsong," which I wrote right at the end. I wanted something more akin to a Renbourn accompaniment. That one has a story, which might have been a subconscious response to the style. WM: Were you trying to create something "personal," or were your goals more musical? NL: The recordings evolved from archiving sessions I had with engineer/producer Oliver Goodall. I had played a number of solo acoustic gigs out of necessity, and enjoyed doing the songs that way. I decided to record a few. Once I had done six or seven, it was sounding a bit like a record, so I recorded some more and expanded it into a full album. The recording is more personal due to the exposed nature of the sounds. It's more subtle without a band, more intimate. WM: Do you see 'Radio for Cats' as part of tvfordogs or separate? NL: Both, really. These are mostly tvfordogs songs, but I play them solo. It's interesting to be re-recording some of the songs now for the upcoming tvfordogs album. The new recordings are very much informed by the acoustic versions. WM: The record has a longing quality. How much of it is "in character" and how much is autobiographical? NL: I write autobiographically but obliquely. I don't really play devil's advocate. Even when I write from my perspective, I am aware it is constantly shifting and evolving. WM: Has the experience of making 'Radio for Cats' influenced your ideas for the next tvfordogs album? NL: Definitely. It's a bit more organic and earthy, with stronger nods to artists of yesteryear. The big change is in the singing. I am using my voice differently, more dynamically, since doing 'Radio for Cats.' ******** Like what you hear? Don't miss: - tvfordogs / Roller - tvfordogs / Heavy Denver.