I have a story running in Thursday’s Daily Journal about the upcoming Laurence Juber concert, set for Friday at the Link Centre as a part of its Monthly Music Mix series.
There’s not much Juber hasn’t done: he was in Paul McCartney’s Wings, he’s won two Grammys and he’s created music for a host of TV shows and movies. He was open and honest about his career in our phone interview last week, so much so that I couldn’t even fit all of the awesome things he said into one story.
So, here’s a bit of extra information from our interview…
He said he was inspired by The Beatles as a young man and musician, and that’s influenced his sound today. He doesn’t do much singing live and finds he doesn’t need to: “There’s a lot of storytelling in what I do, but kind of imaginative storytelling. I let the guitar do the singing for me, and I mix it up, whether it’s Beatles or the occasional Wings song, or something from the great American songbook. …I love being able to arrange a great song.”
Remember a jewelry commercial from a while back that featured a solo guitar playing “Stand by Me”? That was Juber.
“People may have heard me but they don’t necessarily know who did it, and when that came out within a week I was inundated with people wanting me to play at their wedding. The face is, there’s a strong romantic aspect to what I do. There’s romance in it, there’s all kinds of stuff in it, bt I also rock out, so it keeps everybody happy. My audience is very broad.”
His father-in-law created classic TV shows like “The Brady Bunch” and “Gilligan’s Island.”
“Having British Invasion roots and marrying into a family of comedy writers and American TV culture has given me somewhat of a unique sensibility of communicating in that kind of pop culture way. (My live show) is not a dry recital by any means; people laugh and tap their feet.”
His next album, which will be released on April 20, Record Store Day, is full of classic songs.
“We’re doing a limited edition 12-inch vinyl for Record Store Day. …I’m really, really happy with the way that album turned out. And to be able to do vinyl has been a dream of mine. I grew up with vinyl. There’s something about the experience of listening to music in that format that is quite different from the experience you get when you listen to music on an iPod or any of that, or even a CD. It’s more engaging and I really like that you can read the liner notes and you have to get up to turn the record over. It’s more interactive. I’m very pleased with this album. I’ll play some of the tunes from it but it’s very kind of representative of that eclecticism. There’s a very consistent mood to the record. I have some standards on there like ‘Autumn Leaves and ‘Cry Me a River,’ but then I so do Del Shannon’s ‘Runaway’ and Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘Mrs. Robinson.’”
I asked him what music he’s into these days.
“So much of my listening is retrospective rather than what’s going on right now. I think there’s some very talented people out there. …I’m not a huge fan of everything that’s out there and I’m a little bit picky. I hate to say I’m a bit picky. I think Adele has a sensational voice but I have a hard time listening to her records. They don’t sound the way I’d like to hear her records sound – the record producer part in me starts to listen with those ears. There’s good pop stuff. I think the Lumineers are quite good; there’s a little bit of the echo of the early 60s there. I think Dave Matthews is very, very talented. I appreciate the kind of stuff Alicia Keys puts out. On the road I find myself listening to a lot of country music stations. I think there are some great musicians there. I just like a good pop song. I grew up listening to pop. When I was driving from Atlanta to Birmingham I found a station that was all Elvis all the time. There’s a lot to be said for that. I’m a fan of the early Elvis stuff, the Sun recordings. He just made so many great records. As a studio musician I recorded where he cut some of those Hollywood records, and I was very excited. You know you’re in the room where the Beach Boys and Elvis and so many different people, the Doors, all these artists recorded. There’s a part of me that’s a pop record musicologist. When I worked at McCartney and Abbey Road. The new album was mixed at Capitol (Records), and gave it a very nice kind of gloss. I’m very much a fan of the kind of tradition of the record business, and so I study a lot of things. I recently had to play a tribute to Pete Townshend and I did an arrangement of The Who’s ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ and I had to sit down and listen to that record and figure out all the bits: what the bass is doing, what Roger Daltrey’s doing, what the drum parts are doing. It’s such an engrossing musical experience that can come out of the guitar, that’s where my artistic experience lies, so I’ll listen to anything if it’s god. I really like jazz, (someone) like Diana Krall. People that are masters or mistresses of what they do.”
This year marks his 50th year playing guitar. He has a new album coming out this spring and a career-spanning book this fall. But his greatest achievement?
“The most important thing is, in June, I’m gonna become a grandfather for the first time. So that’s the substantial focus of the year.”
Check out Laurence Juber at the Link Centre on Friday night.