Reclusive Guitarist Willie Lane Has Two Shows This Weekend

By Tony Rettman
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Apr. 17, 2012

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Free Willie: The normally reclusive guitarist performs twice this week.

When Fishtown guitarist Willie Lane finds it’s time to play a gig around town—let alone two in the same weekend—you best set the DVR to record Cupcake Wars and leave the house; miracles like this don’t happen too often.

Some of you might know Lane’s name from the back covers of all those limited releases you frantically collect by that wiggy Western Massachusetts rural rocker Matt Valentine, but those in the know are aware of the man via the solo work he releases on his own Cord-Art imprint. Much like the vinyl Lane collects and covets, his own records are an arcane testament to singular vision. Where many young men these days who strap on a guitar in a solo guise only try to provide wallpaper, Lane decorates the whole goddamned house with a profound pulp that sticks to the fingers and stings the nostrils. Why the hell is this maestro deciding to play out all of a sudden? Let’s try to find out ...

You don’t play out much around town. What’s the deal?
I’m not really keen on performing solo, so I tend to only do it once in a while. That said, I probably play Philly twice a year on average, which seems frequent enough. Take it from me: Too much Willie Lane is not necessarily a good thing.

You moved to Philly from Western Massachusetts a while back. How do you think the move has affected your approach to music?
Well, it’s been six and a half years since I moved here, so overall I’m a pretty different person from when I lived in New England. But aside from developing a fierce hunger for roast pork sandwiches, I’ve gotten a lot more interested in home recording. I used to not really do much besides collect records and pluck a few strings when inspiration took hold. At some point after moving to Philly, I started laying things down on tape and attempting to sculpt the sound into something that I’d actually want to listen to through my stereo speakers. My pronunciation of “water” has not changed at any point, though.

What’s in the near future for you?
I’ve got a new LP that’s being pressed right now, which I hope to have out in a month or less. I’d like to release records on a more regular basis, so perhaps people can look forward to—or dread—a more prolific Willie Lane in the future. But I also recently got a charcoal smoker, so maybe I’ll just direct all my creative energy at grub rather than guitar tones. Lord knows I can’t do both! ■

Willie Lane performs Fri., April 20, 8pm. $5. Brickbat Books, 709 S. Fourth St. 215.592.1207.; Sat., April 21, 10pm. Free. Borderline Records, 525 W. Girard Ave.

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