Recently a close friend, Todd Guinn, from my old Eagles tribute band, Fastlane, called to say he had been asked by a mutual friend to join a “Linda Ronstadt and Friends” tribute and wondered whether I would be interested in playing guitar for it.
This is the first time in a long time a new band idea has appealed to me. Others have been proposed at various points and I’ve turned them all down. None really seemed that interesting, in part because I’d grown weary of the tribute scene, and also because the acts being paid tribute to were not ones I felt a strong connection to.
But the Ronstadt thing is different. I loved her music growing up; how can you not admire that killer voice? But there’s more to it. One thing I liked about her music was how different it was compared to most rock at the time. Instrumentation, for example. Her songs featured bluegrass instruments, particularly fiddle, and quite a bit of steel guitar. It so happens I’ve been in possession of a fiddle and a steel guitar for a couple years, but I’ve never achieved much on either; I’ve basically goofed around with them a little. I took the gig largely because it would force me to develop chops on both instruments.
The other attraction has to do with the “and friends” part of the equation. We’ve decided to include others’ songs she did backup vocals on, like James Taylor’s “Bartender’s Blues,” as well as Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold” and “Old Man.”
Of course, no Linda Ronstadt tribute gets far without a stellar female vocalist, and we have her in Yolie Millan, a 24 (and there’s so much more) year-old singer with pipes of gold. It’s shaping up to be a fun gig. We’ll keep you posted.