"If you're writing something that you're not sure you're gonna use, put it up on blocks in the yard and strip it for parts later…You've got all the pieces there, make this other car run, or take the cap and the steering wheel and make a whole new car."
During the last 20 years Vance Gilbert has toured all over North America as a singer-songwriter and comedian. In addition to delighting audiences as a headline performer, his supporting roles include opening for Shawn Colvin and the legendary comedian, George Carlin. According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Vance has “the voice of an angel, the wit of a devil, and the guitar playing of a god.”
We sat down with him with a live audience at the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival in Okemah, Oklahoma.
I'll Buy You A Star - Nearness of You
Moonlight in Vermont - Nearness of You
'Round Midnight - Nearness of You
Dindi - Nearness of You
Mas Que Nada - Nearness of You
For The Good Times - Nearness of You
I'm Beginning To See The Light - Nearness of You
Prelude to a Kiss - Nearness of You
Ain't Misbehavin' - Nearness of You
Nearness of You - Nearness of You
When Sunny Gets Blue - Nearness of You
Laura - Nearness of You
Weaver of Dreams - Nearness of You
God Bless Everyone - Bad Dog Buffet
Nothing From You - Bad Dog Buffet
Out the Way We Came In - Bad Dog Buffet
First Ring - Bad Dog Buffet
Kiss the Bad Boys - Bad Dog Buffet
For Evelyne - Bad Dog Buffet
Holiday Employment - Bad Dog Buffet
Garden in Winter - Bad Dog Buffet
December 3rd - Bad Dog Buffet
Unfamiliar Moon - Bad Dog Buffet
Sweet Potato Dove - Bad Dog Buffet
Up On Rockfield - Up On Rockfield
Welcome to Lovetown - Up On Rockfield
Goodbye Pluto - Up On Rockfield
Old Man's Advice - Up On Rockfield
Judge's House - Up On Rockfield
Whatever Louise Wants - Up On Rockfield
Sweetwater - Up On Rockfield
It'll Never Be Enough - Up On Rockfield
House of Prayer - Up On Rockfield
Some Great Thing - Up On Rockfield
Sing Me Down - Up On Rockfield
Ten Thousand Skies - Unfamiliar Moon
You Can Go Now - Unfamiliar Moon
Leaving Avon - Unfamiliar Moon
Unfamiliar Moon - Unfamiliar Moon
Lie To Me - Unfamiliar Moon
Gondolier - Unfamiliar Moon
Unforgivable - Unfamiliar Moon
Your Brighter Day - Unfamiliar Moon
That Front Porch Song - Unfamiliar Moon
I've Got A Plane - Unfamiliar Moon
Alone Down Here - Unfamiliar Moon
Waiting for Gilligan - One Thru Fourteen
Juliana Walks - One Thru Fourteen
Son of Someone's Son - One Thru Fourteen
Why Are We So Cruel? - One Thru Fourteen
Hard To Love - One Thru Fourteen
I'll Cry Too - One Thru Fourteen
Don't Leave A Trace - One Thru Fourteen
Eliza Jane - One Thru Fourteen
If You See James - One Thru Fourteen
I Have Always Loved You - One Thru Fourteen
Highrise - One Thru Fourteen
Let Me Know - One Thru Fourteen
A Little Bit Gone - One Thru Fourteen
What Good Is That? - One Thru Fourteen
Bonus - One Thru Fourteen
Introduction - Somerville Live
Icarus by Night - Somerville Live
Watching a Good Thing Burn - Somerville Live
Alan Lomax's Children
If These Teardrops Had Wings - Somerville Live
Teletubbies - Somerville Live
I Met Ellis Paul... - Somerville Live
Taking It All To Tennessee - Somerville Live
High Rise - Somerville Live
Utilitarian Church - Somerville Live
Could You Believe? - Somerville Live
Charlene - Somerville Live
Why Are We So Cruel? - Somerville Live
Pablo's Lights - Somerville Live
Imagination - Somerville Live
When Jimmy Falls In Love - Somerville Live
For Evelyne - AOTS Live
God Bless Everyone - AOTS Live
Garden In The Winter - AOTS Live
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1: What artist would you most love to work with?
Do they have to be alive? OK. I'll do alive. I guess currently I'd have to say Stevie Wonder. And Jason Isbell. Not together necessarily. But that'd be cool too!!
2: What instrument brings you the most joy?
Bouzouki. Bouzouki is an old Anatolian word that means "cute little summer squash-shaped guitar that you can hump". Look it up. I learned that on the web.
3: What was the worst advice?
Early in my career I got signed to a world- known booking agency. At lunch with a principal of that agency, his greatest advice to me (I actually solicited it) was "Wear a collared shirt on stage". I've done that most nights. Maybe that's why I'm big in the music business like a barnacle is big in shipping...
4: What was your first concert?
Triple bill of Kool and the Gang, Average White Band, and Wild Cherry live at the Centrum, Phila.
5: What/where is the best road food?
Any Chinese Buffet.
6: What’s the best music advice you ever got?
"Wear a collared shirt on stage".
7: Who is your most surprising inspiration?
Roger Federer. Problem solver, comeback from injury, drive to do well when he could rest on laurels forever, artistry, willingness to improvise, head-hand-body-surroundings coordination brilliance, simultaneous confidence/humility . He could be Miles Davis, Richard Thompson, George Carlin, Ella Fitzgerald, Michael Jordan, Mother Teresa and Bach all rolled into one. He just happens to do it with a racquet.