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Joel Fafard: Jitterbug Swing

Let's be honest here: Not many people in New Zealand would have heard of long-running Canadian singer-songwriter Joel Fafard who writes his own material but is also rooted in Southern blues and folk.

He's not only very good, he's been doing this for more than a decade, has a brace of albums behind him, tells a good story between songs and back home has picked up awards.

So Elsewhere is delighted to introduce him to you because he's a distinctive voice and a powerful player of resonator guitar.

He's also coming to New Zealand for a short but extensive tour this month (dates below) and we think he's one worth catching.

So naturally we flicked him our Famous Elsewhere Songwriter Questionnaire . . . 

The first song which really affected you was . .

Mmm, that would be a while back now, the first song that I remember moving me in a spiritual sense was North West Passage by Stan Rogers but I saw John Lee Hooker when I was 10 and that was life Changing. That was groove on another level, I am still drawn to it like a moth to a…. any way I am pretty sure it’s not a healthy obsession.

Your first (possibly embarrassing) role models in music were . . .

Oh my, in my teens I dug Motley Crue, hows that for embarrassing?

The one songwriter you will always listen to, even if they disappointed you previously, is?

Hank Williams and the only disappointing thing is that he did not stay on this earth a little longer.

As songwriters: Lennon-McCartney or Jagger-Richards; both. kd lang or Katy Perry;

Katy Who? It’s all kd Lang in Canada. Madonna or Michael Jackson; If I have to choose, I will go with MJ. Johnny Cash or Kris Kristofferson? Johnny, Johnny and Johnny!

The three songs (yours, or by others) you would love everyone to hear because they are well crafted are . . .

I suppose I only have to look into my own set list for this one.

Ain’t No Grave - Traditional

Grinnin' in Your Face – Son House

and I have been performing Vincent 1952 for a long time so I guess Richard Thompson makes the Top 3 too.

646887Melody first? Words or phrase first? Simultaneous?

There are no rules, I don’t ignore my muse, if she wants to write we write.

The best book on music or musicians you have read is . . .

Whale Music – Paul Quarington - does fiction count?

If you could co-write with anyone it would be . . . 

Tom Waits

The last CD or vinyl album you bought was . . . (And your most recent downloads include . . .)

I think it was a CD that my friend Dan Brubeck made with his dad and brother Chris, killer stuff. It was nominated for a Grammy up against Chick Corea and Kenny G. Take a guess who won? Dan says he would been fine if it had been Chick. Go figure?

One song, royalties for life, never have to work again. The song by anyone, yourself included, which wouldn't embarrass you would be . . .

I can’t imagine myself singing it but Yesterday is a pretty darn good song and if this about grabbing all the money you can….

One line (or couplet) from a song -- yours or someone else's -- which you think is just a stone cold winner is . . .

“I said to Hank Williams: how lonely does it get?

Hank Williams hasn't answered yet

But I hear him coughing all night long

A hundred floors above me

In the Tower of Song"

Not only does Leonard Cohen nail that verse, he feels the same way about Hank that I do.

Songwriting: what's the ratio of inspiration/perspiration?

I have many ways of perspiring, once the writing starts it all inspiration. I do edit later though and that can be hard work.

Ever had a song come to you fully-formed like it dropped into your lap?

Yup, most of them.

And finally, finish this couplet in any way you like: Standing at the airport with an empty suitcase at my feet …

“Glad your staying here, my guitar will be so safe in the extra seat”


April 3-6 Cantebury Folk Festival

April 8 Hokitika, Old Lodge Theatre

April 9 Nelson, Fairfield House

April 10 Wairau Valley, Dharma Shed

April 11 Onekaka, Mussle Inn

April 14 Upper Hut, Mainly Acoustic Music Club

April 15 Wanganui, River Side Bar

April 16 Tauranga,Tauranga Art Gallery

April 17 Rotorua, The Rogue Stage

April 18 Taupo, Tauhara Sunrise Lodge

April 19 Auckland, The Riverhead - The Boat House

April 20 Devonport Devonport Folk Club

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