R. Finn

Collecting Trip

2-8-18: Essential 8 Interview At The Daily Country.

Here's an interview from The Daily Country.

Did you have a musical mentor? If so, who was it and how did they influence you?
Absolutely, Levon Helm and Jim Keltner! When I met Lee I lived on a steady diet of 60’s Rock And Roll. I was on the threshold of folk and the blues, but not quite ready for it. He took me back to the roots of early American music, and I still haven’t recovered. In addition, I was so young and green at the time I lacked not only experience but confidence too. His kindness helped me to believe in myself. He was a great teacher and friend. I met Jim around the same time. Though I’ve written songs since I was a kid, I’d lost the interest and courage to perform them for anyone. He helped me to find my voice. He is a craftsman and a true genius. I felt like I improved in every category just by being around him. 

What’s the story behind your album’s title? 
I was reading a book on Alan Lomax’s journey’s through the south recording rural music for the Library Of Congress. In it he described his makeshift sessions as “collecting trips”. I love those old recordings, and am so grateful they exist. Anyway, we were in mastering and I still had no title for the project, or the album. I took Jim, “Mikey” Piersante (the mix engineer), and Gavin Lurssen (the mastering engineer) out to eat to celebrate the record being done. They were trying to help me find a name. Finally, Gavin just asked.  “If you had to pick two words to describe this material what would it be?” I said, “I don’t know, a - collecting- trip - I guess “ They all said. “Huh?!” I explained my reasoning. Then they all agreed “there’s your title!”.  Good things happen over food and wine!

Where do you draw inspiration from when writing? Books, Movies, personal experience, other musicians?When/where do you do your best writing? 
I’m constantly trying to fill my mind with new ideas, and stay engaged in the world around me. But the majority of my process is really just waiting. Waiting for an idea worth mining. Then hoping you can finish it before you get bored with it or another takes it’s place. 

Do you write about real things that have happened to you or are you a storyteller? Which is easier? 
This album is mostly true stories, and world view songs. I hope to mix more fiction, and stories into the next one. It’s not always easy for me, but I do admire a songwriter who can tell a good yarn. There’s been some great one’s, too many to list. “Frankie And Johnny” , “Long Black Veil” ,“Pancho and Lefty, “Nature Boy” , come to mind…

Have you met any of your heroes? If so, how did it go? 
I’ve been so fortunate to get to meet most of my heroes.  I did meet Bob Dylan once. I said , “God bless you Bob” . He said, “Thank You”. I think he appreciated it. Seemed like a better idea than asking for selfie….

What are your “must have” albums for the road? 
The Allman Brothers Band - Live At Fillmore East. Cuz’ their songs are long, and usually about the road. Or anything from Howlin’ Wolf. 

What’s the best advice you have ever gotten from another musician? 
Imitate before you can originate, and don’t use a click track.

What’s the best advice to give to a musician just starting out? 
Don’t use a click track.


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