Before the Schwartz Center for the Arts launches its 2013-14 season in a few weeks, guitar wizard Earl Klugh will set the tone with a dynamic concert on Friday.
The Grammy Award-winning Klugh will perform as a duo with his bassist Al Turner, playing tunes from his new album, "HandPicked."
The new record is a soulful, 16-track solo/duet project featuring special guest guitarists Vince Gill and Bill Frisell and ukulele phenomenon Jake Shimabukuro.
Having been in the music industry for three decades, Klugh has recorded with a number of legendary musicians including Miles Davis, Jimmy Buffett, Stevie Wonder and George Benson.
Klugh spoke with the Dover Post about bringing his talents to the Schwartz Center for his Delaware debut.
Q What's the benefit of playing a show with just you and your bassist instead of with your full band?
A When I'm doing the more acoustic shows like this, from time to time, it's fun to change things around. You can alter things in a song with just one or two people, as opposed to five people. This gives you a chance to signal ahead and change course. Of course, it's a challenge, but I enjoy doing it.
Q Is there a song from "HandPicked" you enjoy performing most?"
A Gosh, not really. I think my song list is one of the things I try to select well because you have two components: you have the music and then you have the performance of the music. So that's really where you get to stop on a dime, like you're playing something and you can just signal ahead and then change key or change tempo. A lot of that goes on in a show such as this one. I haven't done many duo shows like this, but I've had a lot of experience playing solo shows. I thought this would be great because Al Turner is my bassist and he's a great bass player.
Q What was the experience like creating "Handpicked" compared to your last album ,"Spice of Life?"
A "Spice of Life" was a big production. It had strings and just about everything you could come up with. It had a great orchestra and great players. That was something that I just really enjoyed doing. But looking at "Handpicked," I think it's going to hold its own because it's something I hadn't really done. With the duets, along with the solos, I think it was a very comfortable mix and something I think my fans that really enjoy guitar music can look at and see the duets in another light. It's a real guitar player's album, too. To my ear, it's a very musical recording.
Page 2 of 2 - Q How did "Hotel California," one of the songs on this album featuring Jake Shimabukuro, come about?
A When we were putting this together, the first person I thought about was Jake Shimabukuro, the ukulele player. Jake is a really good friend of mine now. I just really felt the need to want to find a way to create unique things acoustically. To me there's not a lot that being explored, especially in the more contemporary genres. So I just thought this would be some fun.
Q What's the most valuable piece of information you have learned in your career?
A Don't be too quick to jump into something that sounds good. Just take your time and really look at it. Try to find mentors who are benign, who aren't looking for something but are actually interested in the growth of your career. I was very fortunate with that.
IF YOU GO
WHAT Earl Klugh in concert
WHEN A meet-and-greet will be held from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m.; The concert will begin at 7 p.m., Sept. 6
WHERE Schwartz Center for the Arts, 226 S. State St., Dover
COST $35 for general admission; $45 for concert and meet-and-greet
INFO Visit schwartzcenter.com or call 678-5152