FOLK PLUS   SATURDAY JULY 1, 2000
INTERVIEW WITH KATE MACLEOD and KAT EGGLESTON
 

Angela:  Good Morning Kate!

Kate:  Good Morning

Angela:  Thanks for making the trip here. I don't know if it was on your way, but it certainly is nice and is appreciated.
 
Kate:  My pleasure

Angela:  You're busy!

Kate:  Yeah, we are busy.  I've been really busy this summer, and this is the second time that Kat and I have done a tour together. We toured Europe last year together, so we decided it would be fun to do a few this summer.  We are on our way to a few gigs and then we are going to do Summerfest in New Bedford Mass, next weekend.

Angela:  So, people visiting in the Catskills from Mass, you can check that out. So let's here something live and then I'd love to chat.
 
 

 


Kate and Kat in Jeffersonville, NY.

LIVE   Kate MacLeod  -  The Child

Angela That's from your Constant Emotion CD.  I woke up as a matter of fact at four this morning with the title cut going in my head.  How can people get that CD?

Kate:  It's available through an independant label, Waterbug Records.  Kat's been on this label too. It is where we met each. You can get it from the web at www.waterbug.com.  It is also available in some record stores, kind of spotty distribution.  Its available in some Tower locations.

Angela:  Is this 1 800 number still OK? (1 800 466 0234)

Kate:  Yes.

Angela:  So people listening to Folk Plus, by Sunday I'll have this up on the web and you can check all the links and all the phone numbers and get this music for your own living room.  Who was it that sang that "Knight" song?  Who am I thinking of?  "The False Knight"...

Kate:  "...on the road".  The Silly Sisters did a great version of it.

Angela:  Maddy Prior? I think thats who I'm thinking of.  That such a killer -such a killer(!#)

Kate:  Yeah, she's so good with that.

Angela:  You have an interesting accent.

Kate: I do?

Angela:  Yeah, when you are singing, you do something with your vowels and I can't pinpoint it. Is it something you are aware of?

Kate:  It's incorrect, is what it is.

Angela: No! (All three are laughing)

Kate:  Its called incorrect pronuncication of anything. (laughing still)

Angela:  Well, where did you grow up?

Kate:  I grew up outside of Washington DC, but I've been living in Utah for 20 years and I don't know what my accent is.

Kat:  It's just Kate! Just Kate.

Kate: It's the "yelling at my children for 15 years"  accent. Bending my vowels.

Angela:  You live in Utah now?

Kate: I live there now, in Salt Lake City.  I've lived there for 20 years.  I moved out there in '79 to study violin making.  There is a school out there.  So I ended up teaching at the school for about 10 years, and I've raised my family.  Basically always played music, but I guess six years ago I made my first recording. From there, somebody gave me a scholorship to go to the folk alliance and that's wehre I met Andrew Calhoun. I'd never been to that before I didn't know what it was. Andrew picked up my record, and now I'm doing this. This is how I have gotten myself into this position; doing radio in New York.

Angela:  So we can blame Andrew.

Kate:  All the way from Salt Lake City.  But I've been playing a lot of different kinds of music through the years. I've played in a lot of bluegrass, old time, celtic bands.

Angela:  So when you say you moved to Utah and you were teaching, you were teaching the making of violins?

Kate:  I actually taught the classes of geometric theory of instruments and instrument design. They had three teachers and I was part time teaching lecture classes.

Angela:  Sounds like a mixture of design and how it affects the sound.

Kate:  Yeah, it is very interesting, the evolution of the acoustic boxes.

Angela:  So you are really eclectic.  You can just join any band and make em sound better.

Kate:  I don't know.

Kat:  Yes, she can.

Angela:  We have Kat Eggelston here also who records on Waterbug. So when you hear interjected comments thats Kat.  You can hear what she sound like in another half hour.  So can you play something else live, that would be marvelous.

Kate:  Yeah, (to Kat) Wanna do Angels and sing with me? This is off my first recording Trying to Get It Right.  This is based on a mining disaster that happened in Utah in the mid 1980's.  It was a big fire and it burned for weeks before they could get in there and find out what really happened. One of my friends is a coal miner.  He always worked in that shaft that caught fire, but he was sick on that day and didn't go to work. Being sick is what saved his life. I wrote a song about it and this is how it goes.

Kate MacLeod - Angels on My Mind  (with Kat Eggleston on harmony)
Live

Angela:  Powerful topic.  I should do two hours of mining tunes.

Kate: There are plenty of them.

Angela:  That would be so easy.  My mom grew in Yorkshire, England.  Her dad was a minor in fact the foreman so she'd hate it when the whistle blew because her dad would have to go find out if anyone was dead or not, pull them up.  He was the head guy.

Kate:  Terrible thing to do for a living.

Angela:  She just thought constantly about what he was going to, and is he coming back.  And all the kids that died! There were many disasters with kids.

Kate:  It still goes on.  We still are using coal, and we don't need to be I don't think. There is an entire industry around it.

Angela:  Where are they mostly using coal still? I know in Yorkshire they are, the air can be thick with it.

Kate:  Well out west.  There are a lot of coal mines out there. I'm not sure what they use it all for now.  I know that some people, when they moved out west, there was so little forestry that they would use coal to heat their homes.  In fact, all the fire places are very small, becasue they were designed for burning coal. I lived in a house for 5 years with no central heating.  We had a wood stove and we used 50% coal, because there is not a lot of wood out there.  They don't have the accessability to it.

Angela:  You have this tune about, well I can't exactly remember the words, but the flavor is -happy, lucky day. You sound so boucy when you do that.

Kate:  I could do that now.

Angela:  Well, you could do it, and then I'd like to know what a lucky happy day for Kate is.

Kate:  Oh, going to a barbeque.  I wrote this song on the way to a barbeque with my friends, that is what this is all about. I was also in the mood when I was fooling around with different timings and this tune has 7/8 measures in it. I go between 4/4 and 7/8.  I'd been playing a lot of Balkan music.

Angela:  I'll have to watch for that now.

Kate:  I don't have my harmonica, which is fun to do. Want me to do it?

ANgela:  That's be great.

Kate:  For all of those on the way to a barbeque, this is for you.

Angela:  Or whatever is a happy day for you.

Kate MacLeod -Talking About Good News
Live

Angela:  Kate and Kat are both on the Waterbug label.  Did you want to talk about other people on that label? Anybody you'd like to pick collectively.

Kat:  Julie Hennigan? Sara Grey? How about track 12 on Sara Grey? I love her.  She is a great traditional player.

Angela:  Want to take the mic Kat and introduce this tune?

Kat:  Sure.  (Moving down the piano bench)  This is creaky.  This is an obsene sound isn't it. So (laughing with the noise) we are having a party here-

Angela:  A barbeque!

Kat:  We're having a barbeque. Sara Grey is just marvelous She is a traditional singer, an American who has lived in Scotland for a lot of her life, in fact I think I first met her in Aberdeen. That was right around the time that Andrew Calhoun signed her onto Waterbug.  Andrew and I were married and singing at that time.  I was Mrs. Waterbug.  She came up with this magnificent album Back in the Airly Days. This is one of the songs on it that I like a lot.

Sara Grey - Goodbye My Lover I'm Gone
Back In the Airly Days - Waterbug

Angela: She has a lot of funny picture on this CD.  I like that. She is dressed as a man here in 1983, and she has herself at age of 10.  Kind of neat.

Kat: I think she was playing Hamlet, I don't remember what that was?  I used to know.

Angela: She looks like a fisherman! At the Whitley festival in England.  Is that is Whitley Bay that is where I was born?

Kat: I have no idea.  Ladies and Gentlemen, the visual portion of the radio show.

Angela: Yes, can we get a close up on that Johnny?

Kat: Sara is just wonderful.

Angela: She looks like she is funny.

Kat: She is funny, she has a real sense of humor.

Angela: So you are listening now to Kat Eggleston. Kat has several CDs out. I played her tune earlier called  "Home." Is that in DADGAD?

Kat:  It is in DADGAD.

Angela: It made me think of Brian, another song of yours that you are not leaving until you teach me.
I love that sound.  Something aobut that walking base.  Just a neat sound.

Kat: I like that sound too.  That kind of tuning lends itself to that.

Angela: So will you play something live?  Thanks for doing this so early in the morning you guys.  I know you went to sleep late and didn't sleep much so that you could drive here and I appreciate it.

Kat: Thank you very much.  It is just part of the job.

Angela: Go back to teaching violin Kate and you can get up at normal times maybe.

Kate:  Nothing normal about the violin maker world.

Angela:  Oh, that wasn't any better, ok.

Kat:  I don't get up at normal times. What is normal though, I'm not sure.  I will tell you this.  I had jury duty a few years ago and I got up and took the train, I live in Chicago. I kept thinking, what are all these people doing up in the middle of the night.  That is how out of touch I am.  It was 6:30.  Everybody was getting up and going to work.  I was so sleepy.  I don't wake up until 11.   This is a Scottish song.  I got this out of the Greig Duncan collection, Songs of the North East of Scotland. It has been languishing in academia for a long long time and now it is published. It can be purchased! This is one of the songs collected from the North East region of Scotland. There are a lot of different versions of this, this particular one I had never heard before. It is a night visiting song.

LIVE - Kat Eggleston  -  "Scottish Song"

Angela: Thanks.  That is a lot of words to remember, good job!

Kat: I can do that. I can't walk a straight line before coffee, but I can do that.

Angela: Beautiful guitar work! Its great to see a female that has a good handle on guitar. I have a partner and when we play they assume I'm just going to sing, not that I can play anything close to how you play but I get annoyed with that. Its constant.  They don't even set up a mic for the woman.  "You are singing harmony right?"

Kat: Oh I know.  I was playing with a band and somebody came up to me and said "You must be the singer"  I said, "I'm the drummer"  They said, "Are you really?!" I said, "No, but I could be" (laughing)  Why do they assume that?

Angela: That was great guitar work.

Kat: Thank you.  I love that song.  I have heard it in several variations. Usually what happens is that he stays the night, she lets him in and he leaves in the morning.  The moral is 'Young women be careful'. This one has no moral except, you know, be honest.

Angela: You said it was "floating around academia" but its not a child ballad. So how do you stumble on something like this.

Kat: Gavin Greig worked for the University of Aberdeen as I remember it, was offered the opportunity around 1910, not certain of the date, to collect the songs of the NE of Scotland; to go around kitchens and campfires and so forth. He said "Give me a couple of months and a little money and Ill see what is involved.  He came back with hundreds of songs and said "I need more money, time and help."  So they got him help in the form of Reverend James Duncan.  There are 8 volumes now. They were working on it for 10 years. Then it was only at the University of Aberdeen or in the TMSA (I can't remember what that stands for- Traditional Music of Scotland Assoc or something) they finally published it.  So the songs are incredible. Dick Gaughin, Archie Fisher have recorded some the Echo Mochs the Corn Cake that Archie does was from that.  In fact a lot of the Child Ballads that were collected from Burtrand Bronson, that he put in his collection, he credits Gavin Greig and James Duncan.  I love having these manuscripts to buy because a lot of them you can't find for love or money.  SOme are on the internet now.  For years and years, some of the finest traditional singers that I know - Lois Killen for instance, didn't have a copy of the collected tunes of the child ballads. The Bertrand Broson.  He said "I'd give my left leg for that" We had two volumes of the four or five that were out there.  Of course, Frances Child didn't collect the melodies, he collected the words, God Bless Him. He didn't collect the melodies, Bertrand Bronson did that and you can't find the books anymore. But you can find the Greig/Duncan collection. Which is where a lot of those tunes came from. Was that enough of a dissertation?

Angela: That was great! I'm just thinking of myself later transcribing all this!  But it is a great piece of information for those who don 't know.

Kat: It is magnificent stuff.  I wish I could tell you where to find the Greig/Duncan colelction, but I know its GREIG and DUNCAN.

Angela: You've thrown out enough search topics for people to float on the net.
(On google I found hits using "Greig Duncan Songs".)

Kat: There you go!

Angela: Do either of you have a website?

Kat: Kate do you have one?

Kate:  Uh.....I'm on a few.

Kat: (Laughing) I'm on a few too.

Angela: OK!

Kate:  I really rely on Waterbug's website.  There is another linked to that; a DJ in Mass. So most of the things I'm on are linked.

Angela: So people can find that. You are eyeing some of the music there Kat.  Wanna play something live, or go to a CD?

Kat: Let's do something from a CD.  Wanna play "Brian"? Shall I tell you what the story is, or you don't wanna know?

Angela: Uh, I definately do, but I'll never be able to forget that and dream about other possibilities. Its such a powerful song and I'd love to know where it really came from.

Kat: Lets play it first and then I can tell you about it.

Angela: Great idea, so that everyone can have their own story first in their brain before we hear where it really came from.

Kat Eggleston - Brian
Outside Eden - Waterbug

Kat: I kept a dream diary for years. I actually still do but not as religiously as I did. My dreams are so stunning, I dream in all 5 senses. His name was Brian Wallen, and he and I went to college together. He was another guitar player.  He got a particularly viralant form of cancer when he was very young and when he died I wasn't anywhere around.  When I was back in town I looked up his phone number and his wife's name was there. About 6 months later, I had the dream I described in the song.  It was an in between place.  It looked like a flat metal ground, forever. It was a lucid dream. Sometime in the middle of it I realized "This is possible" I said "I'm prepared to believe that this is really you, so tell me before I wake up, tell me that you are OK" He said, "Belive it, it is really me" and I woke up.  Since that time, anyone I've ever loved who had died I have dreamed about in a pretty dramatic way.  But not as dramatic as that. He was very young and it was very tragic, so that was a great thing that happened after a very hard thing.

Angela: That is a hard thing. The whole idea of people, young, frozen at their age, whether it is personal or Lady Di, that is it. The end of their life!

Kat: For us.  That what was so great about the dream is that I didn't feel that he was frozen but still moving, still doing something. It was a sence of immortality that doesn't depend on the body anymore.

Angela: So the saddness is just that WE are unaware. Unless he came to you in this dream you would think he is frozen, so the tragedy for us is the fact that we are unaware of it.  Makes me think, that song, constantly, ever time I play it.  Mike Yuhas is in your area, and he e mailed me when he saw it on a playlist "Isn't that a great song!"

Kat: He is in Milwaukee

Angela: Why do you live in Chicago?

Kat: Because I fell in love with Andrew Calhoun and he was in Chicago. I lived in Seattle and moved there. I've bben there for 10 years.

Angela: And the scene there? Good clubs, people?

Kat:  They come and go. The clubs there are wonderful. It is not what it was in the 70's, pretty legendary with Steve Goodmand and John Prine and so on. It's not like that, boon time anymore, but it is very good. It is supportive and centrally located so that you can play in Michigan, Indiana or Wisconsin. I love it there.

Angela: What are the bigger clubs?

Kat: Martyrs would be my favorite. I realized the theme of it is dead musicians.  Looking at the wall with Jimi Hendrix and Jasnis Joplin, and all these dead musicians (laughing) They have free Irish music on Mondays and some of the greatest players in the country live in Chicago.

Angela: So you  don't want to be too famous at Martyrs.

Kat: No!

Angela: Makes me think of Sarah Elizabeth Campbell's bummer night where people can only play one song and it has to be really really depressing.  She says the place is full every time!

Kat: Liking ballads the way I do, there are plenty of those!

Angela: What is the most happiest upbeat ballad that you know? Do they come in that flavor?

Kat: Oh yeah. The happiest is about 8 minutes long. The Ballad of  Earl Myers  Daughter, a wonderful shap-changer ballad. Loius Killen made the comment that he never heard that one, and that nobody died and it is all fun and frolic.

Angela: I;'ll have to look that up.

Kat: I've never found it anywhere, other than in the manuscripts. I play it but Ive never seen it recorded anywhere.  On my erstwhile - someday ballad album maybe.  I was trying to research a lot of versions of ballads that haven't been done or just once in a while give a tribute to someone.  I toyed with the notion of taking Nick Jones version of.....can't remember...something he can't play anymore and maybe doing a tribute.  There are so many false knights and elf nights...the name is escaping me.  Why the hell can't I remember that?

Angela:  Ballads are long.  Lots of words you know. To go in for ballads you'd have to have a good memory I'd think.

Kat: They are constructed so that you can remember them.

Angela: Well you are telling a story.

Kat: They have incremental repetition that goes on, a day a day a day but barely three..." you know. A lady is always a lady gay and the horse is always described in the same language.

Angela: Why is it always a year and a day, never exactly a year. Always that extra day.  I keep wanting to get the entymology of that becasue my real job is librarian.

Kat: (Laughing) Real Job!?

Angela: The one they pay me for.

Kate: Maybe there were more words to rhyme with "day"

Angela: Could be that simple! (laughing)

Kat: With the incremental repetition its like watching a montage in a movie. You have a picture that happens three times, there is much repeating.  To the modern ear it is different. It goes on and on, but its very easy to remember. For a long time it was all they had. No printed words.

Angela: Before you wrote yourself did you do mostly these ballads?

Kat: No, I always wrote! I just wrote bad songs! (laughing) I wrote bad songs until I'd been playing for 10 years or so, just playing whatever I wanted to. Lots of ballads.

Angela: Who was the fiction writer that you said helped you to write?

Kat: Peter S. Beagle. He wrote the Last Unicorn, his most famous so far. I dont' want to say that he is a fantasy writer because its like telling somebody that you are involved in one kind of religion. The doors open or close accordingly. That isn't true, because he has the most lovliest sense of compassion.  He is a remarkable writer. His sense of forming of a picture was so compelling, I just tried it.

Angela: There is such a different formatting. To take a story and put it into a song, you have to have captured it in three or four minutes and your Peter fellow can take the whole book to get there.

Kat: I actually wrote a song, it's on my first album, that I got from a paragraph from one of his books. Just on paragraph. It was a ritual that I kind of recognize. The ritual was about standing under of the window of somebody who you used to care about just to get some goodbyes going.

Angela: Shall we play that.  Your'e making a nice segue.

Kat Eggleston - Your Window
First Warm Wind -

Kate McCloed - Lark In the Morning
Trying to Get it Right -

Angela: Kate's release is called "Trying to Get it Right" and I think she did. She is about to accompany Kat on violin.

Kat: We are going to do something together even though there isn't enough room.  The Lark at Tea TIme.

Angela: Lark in the way too early morning! (As they warm up)

Kat: Speaking of being hydro-powered....

LIVE - Kat Eggleston and Kate MacLeod - (Kat's) Go To The Water

Angela: Nice.  Thanks. Sounds great together. I just listened to a song of someone going to the water with love letters of somebody they were trying to stop thinking about and threw it all into the water.

Kat: That happened on an episode of Northern Exposure!

Angela: Ah, that's where they got it.

Kat: Well, I think that is an architype.  I really do. It's some kind of standard ritual. Boyfriend burning party is what they had on Friends.  Everybody wrote their problems down and threw them in a waste basket and lit it on fire. Ah, who cares....

Angela: Well for some that is their lucky day, happy day. That is their barbeque.

Kat: Thats true.  So.  We are doing some stuff next week in the Boston area. You never know, people may have friends that might want to go.

Angela: Boston DJ's may read it on the list and go. Where are you going to be?

Kat:  At the Black Thorn Tavern in Easton on Monday, Passim in Cambridge on Wednesday and then the New Bedford Summerfest on the weekend (7/8-9) That is going to be amazing. Lots of people.

Kate:  Record sales on their buttons. That is something that goes on back here that I knew nothing about. Out west we don't have buttons. I didn't know what was going on when I first went to a festival. We don't have a scene out there though.  We all fend for ourselves. We don't know what's going on in the rest of the world.

Kat:  In Utah?  That's true?

Kate:  I didn't know what the Folk Alliance was, and I've been playing out there for years. There you have it; and I'm one of the main people in the area. So, it is really interesting, though it's not as isolated now as it was about 10 years ago.

Angela: So it makes you wonder who else is out there.

Kate: There are several really good people.  We have a handful that are really good.

Angela: Even beyond Utah I am thinking.  Like this fellow who just sent me his CD you see there, The Gathering.  He just plays banjo with his family. The CD is his family and what they have been playing all these years. It is just what he plays.

Kat: Isn't that wonderful!

Angela: The real folk music. Sorry, we don't want to go there - defining folk.

Kat: Oh, dear god.  No. It has to be later and there has to be alcohol involved for that converstation.

Angela: So you are no where near here tonight then.

Kat: No. We are heading back to the Boston area.

Angela: And what festivals are you doing this summer?

Kat:  Kate is doing a lot.  I'm doing Kerrville 2. The labor day weekend one. Wine and Music festival. Two of my favorite things.

Kate:  I do a bunch of them out in my region. In Utah we have a handful of good festivals so I'm playing all of those.
Angela:  What are they called?:

Kate: Festivals.  (Laughing) You have probably never heard of them because you have so many here you don't need to look elsewhere.  Those of us who live elsewhere have heard of the festivals from here because there aren't as many things going on out there.  Well, there is teluride, the big major one, everybody knows about that. Other than the Telluride Folk Festival, most of the people haven't heard of the other festivals out there.

Angela: I was thinking, listening to your writing that you have a little more of a free flow thought, almost like Annie who I cued up now.

Kat: Oh good.

Angela: I wanted to get her in before our time was up. She is really a great writer, not bound by very much.
She says what she wants and it all works up so beautifully.

Kat: She is one of my heroes.
Annie Gallup - Fight the Devil - Cause and Effect - Prime CD

Dick Gaughan - (Adam McNaughton)  Thomas Muir of Huntershill
Redwood Cathedral

Angela:  Great voice.  I heard he had trouble with his voice for some time. But he's back. We have been talking with Kat Eggleston and Kate McCleod today. I want to thank them for coming out of their way from NJ to Mass. to come to Jeffersonville.

Kate and Kat:  Thank you.

Angela:  Stay tuned for the kid's show.

Trout Fishing in America - (Key/Smith) Star Spangled Banner

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