Where I Come From
(Woodstock Records)


Music fans into the Grateful Dead’s Workingman’s Dead back in 1971 were probably equally turned on by the hippie country rock sounds of New Riders Of The Purple Sage. Featuring guitarists David Nelson (lead guitar) and Buddy Cage (steel guitar) backing up the songs of John Dawson, the New Riders were signed to Columbia by mogul Clive Davis and went on to record 12 albums selling 4 million. A revived New Riders lineup—featuring Nelson and Cage along with a new rhythm section and Hot Tuna guitarist Michael Falzarano—has yielded the band’s first new studio album in twenty years. Most of the tracks on Where I Come From were co-written by Nelson and his long time good buddy, Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter. An air of spontaneous psychedelia abounds on Where I Come From, with Nelson and Cage recreating that magical New Riders guitar sound that so many Deadheads tripped out with back in 1972. /


MWE3: The new CD Where I Come From is great Buddy. How would you compare the chemistry of the New Riders studio sound and live band of 2009 to the original early '70s New Riders band?

BG: Well, with the current personnel and Nelson and me, it's so functional, expedient. After all, David and I have been at it for 38 years. The rest of the guys, Falzarano, Markowski & Penque brought so much new skill and energy to the table that we all just fit in together with an assurance and ease that even eclipses the old configuration.

MWE3: Can you say something about the guitars and amps you performed on and recorded with on the Where I Come From CD?

BG: Old Grateful Dead Wall-of-Sound gear. Fender Twin chassis with Hard Truckers speakers.

MWE3: What’s your favorite guitar?

BG: Whichever one I'm playing at the moment of creation. In this case, an Emmons all pull S-10 with 4 pedals on the floor and 5 knee levers.

MWE3: What got you interested in playing the pedal steel guitar and how would you compare it to the steel guitar?

BG: They are one in the same. 'Steel guitar' dictates that one changes frets with a 'steel' bar in one's left hand. Pedals are mechanical devices used to obtain special chord structures, licks and so on.

MWE3: Can you say something about your big guitar influences and favorite albums?

BG: In the beginning I took licks from the great country and western steel players of the fifties & sixties but soon molded my playing into a far more unconventional style, of a personal nature. Besides, the 60s were upon us, all sorts of mind busting innovation was exploding around me, producers were keen on people like me who could offer some really twisty ideas. I got work, lots of work including Garcia's kind offer to have me replace him in New Riders in 1970.

MWE3: Can you mention the other guitars that David Nelson and Michael Falzarano featured on the new CD?

BG: No, not with any degree of authority. Contact David and Michael, they'll fill you in!

MWE3: With a lead and steel guitar mix, how do you and David Nelson work together on the guitar arrangements on the New Rider songs?

BG: Yeah - we've been paying attention to each other for nearly 4 decades! It comes naturally to us...

MWE3: What did Michael Falzarano bring to the table as the CD producer?

BG: Everything!! He is perfect for NRPS - he left nothing out.

MWE3: What was it like working with the legendary Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter on the new CD? He's such a genius with words.

BG: We've been working with Hunter for a long, long time. Nelson goes back to 1963 with him & Jerry. And when Hunter writes songs for you specifically, his good energy picks me up and kicks me into high gear.

MWE3: Upcoming plans for the New Riders in 2009 and beyond?

BG: Immediately, simple tour support for this new album, Robert. This is keeping busier'n a one-legged man in a ass-kicking contest.

MWE3: Thanks very much Buddy...

BG: My pleasure, Robert! Anytime. We'll see you at BB's June 6 - Buddy


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