Eric Bibb: Beyond Tinsel and Frills
When he’s not touring the world, folk and blues artist Eric Bibb calls Helsinki home. After an astonishing 21 albums, you’d think this music man would be running out of steam, but, as Pearl Davies discovered, he’s still got plenty of the good stuff in him, including apple cider vinegar.
At what age did you start playing music and whom did you grow up listening to? I started playing guitar at age seven or eight, by recollection. During that time I listened to 60s folk artists in the Greenwich Village theme I grew up with.
Do you enjoy sharing your knowledge with other artists through your workshops?
We’ve been conducting several work shops in Canada — I just decided it was time to share my experience as a writer and be able to meet other songwriters and basically concentrate on that part of my journey as well as just performing.
Is it true that you spoke with Bob Dylan when you were younger?
I was very thrilled to meet him at age 11 and of late I have been playing quite a few of his songs. His inspiration has helped me throughout my professional life.
Am I wrong or did I count 21 albums you have out? That’s a massive achievement.
I’ve been recording a lot — especially lately, at least every year and I really enjoy recording as much as I enjoy touring. One compliments the other.
Do you prefer to record, or play live?
Touring live is very rewarding but very strenuous. I find recording is a relaxing counter-balance to touring. At least I’m in the one place long enough to make some music and listen to it coming back to me without any uncontrollable variables. It’s a good balance to touring life.
Costumes, dancers and massive productions are common with some of today’s musicians. How do you feel musicin the entertainment industry has changed over the years? The kind of music that I do isn’t really so much about show business. It’s more about carrying on a tradition, and that tradition comes from people who need music for their own enjoyment from their own community. It may turn into a commercial commodity later but the origins of this music are more folk-orientated, and these folk don’t need all that tinsel and frills to make them happy. All you need is to play and sing with a lot of heart and soul, and preferably with a little skill, and it works.
It looks as though you have 18 gigs for us in Oz during March. How do you keep your vocals healthy and how do you warm up? Actually, I don’t do too much with warming up but in keeping my vocals healthy, I think apple cider vinegar is something that works really well. I have a daily routine of drinking a small shot glass of apple cider vinegar, all natural and organic. That seems to really work with my vocals.
You have stated that you have been working on your latest release, Deeper in the Well, your whole life. Is it your favorite album?
My most recent recording, which will soon be released in Australia, is something I’m very excited about. I recorded it in Louisiana with a group of wonderful musicians so I’m really looking forward to bringing it to you guys.