Thursday, September 2, 2004
Steamboat Springs Little Feat's latest CD, "Kickin' it at the Barn," has the kind of sound that usually pours out of a warmly lit back-road bar. Listeners comforted by the organic sound always are surprised to hear that the band comes from Hollywood and not from some small Southern town, guitar player Fred Tackett said.
"The Barn" in the album's name refers to Tackett's barn-turned-studio in Topanga, Calif.
The barn is complete with a pot-belly stove and a recording room so small that only band members at work can enter the space.
"We call it the heart and soul room," Tackett said. "You can just play music in that room and then you come out into the control room which has couches and room for everyone."
Little Feat records and markets its music through the band-owned label Hot Tomato Records.
"Starting (Hot Tomato) is the best thing we ever did for ourselves," Tackett said. After 30 years of playing together, the members of Little Feat know what they want out of their sound.
With complete artistic control, Little Feat mic-ed its own instruments and recorded "Kickin' it at the Barn" with a raw, live edge common in many Los Lobos albums. (There is more than one tip of the hat to Los Lobos in the latest CD.)
Little Feat will be in Steamboat Springs on Saturday as part of a countrywide tour to promote "Kickin' It."
Tour dates started in Texas in April and end in Jamaica in January.
"The tours never really end," Tackett said. "In the winter, we kind of stop and go down to Jamaica. We hang around a little extra down there. February goes by and pretty soon we're back on the road.
"It sometimes feels like we're in this bubble together outside of everything, like Peter, Wendy and the Lost Boys. We've all known each other for so long, and we keep traveling from town to town every night for many, many years."
After all those dates, played since 1969, the members of the band have formed a kind of ESP for each other's musical styles that allows them a little freedom within the seams of their songs, said Tackett. It keeps things new for the fans who have been following their music since the beginning.
"For the longest time, we had this huge audience, but they just weren't tuned into what we were doing," Tackett said. "Now, it's not as huge but our audience is more of a family. We know a lot of our fans. It's a much richer audience."
Tackett's advice for musicians just starting: "Stick it out."
"I was talking to Tom Waits, and he said that he just stuck it out and suddenly he's popular," Tackett said. "You can either go through the pop machine or you can get out on the road in a van and play in front of people."
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