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Five questions with Richard Shindell
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Richard Shindell
When:
8 p.m. Saturday
Where: Sautee Nacoochee Center Theater, 283 Ga. 255 N., Sautee
How much: $20 nonmembers, $15 members, $8 children ages 6-17; reservations suggested
More info: 706-878-3300

Folk singer Richard Shindell will perform Saturday at the Sautee Nacoochee Center as part of the center's Evening Star Music Series.

Shindell, a former New Yorker, recorded much of his recent CD, "Not Far Now," from his home in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he relocated 10 years ago.

We spoke by phone with Shindell, who was on a tour stop in Pennsylvania.

Question: So, why the big move?

Answer: Why the big move? Because my wife is from there.

She's from Argentina, from Patagonia, from the southern part of the cone, the southern cone. And, you know, when you're married to somebody who's from another country, you either live in one of those two countries or the other.

We had lived here for a while. We had been married for about seven or eight years, and so we decided to, you know, see how the other half lives.

And since I am a musician and I can live anywhere, and since she got a job down there and has a big family and everything, we just decided to give it a try.

Q: In your most recent album, is the photo on the cover in Buenos Aires?

A: That's taken at our house. We have a little cottage about an hour and a half from Buenos Aires.

So that's out on what they call "The Pampa," which basically means "prairie," and that's taken right by our place.

Q: Tell me about the process of making (the album.) Is this your first one living in Buenos Aires?

A: No, no, it's my third one living in Buenos Aires. When you live as far away as I do, you rely, especially these days, on the Internet to schedule things, to make contact with people, just as we all do, but one of the other things you can do with the Internet is record.

So, for example, you can record a piece of a song, like, let's say, the whole guitar track and the voice, and then you can send that as an attachment or as an upload to a Web site to somebody else, who can then add their part to it, like a bass or another guitar or a harmony or whatever, and then they can send it back to you.

And you can listen to it, and if you like it, you keep it, or if you want to alter it in some way, just like you alter text with a word processor, you can. And so, it makes it much easier for people whose schedules are crazy or who live in far flung places like I do to record a record.

It's kind of an interesting way to record. It's kind of crazy sometimes, but ultimately I think I like it.

Q: Do you think that makes it more spontaneous?

A: Maybe. You have to choose your musicians carefully in that situation, because if you're not there in the room to guide them, they're going to play what they're going to play, so you have to be careful.

But, you know, I work with really good musicians whose tastes I trust, and almost invariably they send me back additions that were wonderful and were kept pretty much as is, but sometimes it does end up being a surprise what they send.

Sometimes you send somebody something and they hear the song a different way than you do, and so that can be kind of interesting, so, yeah, spontaneity enters into it there.

Q: Who are your influences?

A: Let's see... Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Tom Waits, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Irish music in general, British hymns. You know, the British hymnal - let's see, what else? - I should say, Wesleyan Hymnal. You know, all kinds of stuff. It's pretty diverse.

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