Festival Speak with Matthew Logan Vasquez

Jillian Tullgren interview Matthew Logan Vasquez

This has been quite the calendar year for Matthew Logan Vasquez, former member of Delta Spirit, and member of Middle Brother since 2010. In November of 2015, Matthew released his first ever solo EPThe Austin EP, shortly followed by his second release in February of 2016. A full length LP, called Solicitor Returns, representative of his childhood in Austin the LP has been cited as an audible autobiography. In case anyone is wondering his Chinese Zodiac, it’s a pig.

I caught up with Matthew at this years Newport Folk Festival on Saturday, after he delivered a face melting set on Friday and before he took the stage at Jane Pickens Saturday evening. In case you’d like to peek his set list:

Personal
Maria
Walking w/Marc Black
Many rivers to cross w/ Eric D Johnson-
(following songs with Parkington Sisters)
Crippler King
Spanish Moss
Bet It All
Angel from Montgomery
Holy Mountain
Half Colt
People Come On
Everything I do Is Out (no sisters on this)
Matthew Logan Vasquez
Jeremy Black – drums
Dustin Loulis – bass
Spencer Garland – keys, electric guitar
Parkington Sisters – Sarah, Rose, Ariel

Am I correct in saying that the list speaks for itself?


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Between the arrival of his son, Thor Ulysses Vasquez, and his tin type portrait with Giles Clement (whose Facebook name is actually Otis), I caught Matthew to talk shop, and by shop I mean, music. But before we talked music, I had to ask …

What inspired the name, Thor?
“He has three Grandpa’s with that name … his Mom is from Norway so we wanted to keep some of his heritage. I was expecting a Chicano to come out (Thor is a blonde haired blue eyed babe).”What is the difference in performing now versus with Delta Spirit? Do you feel like you have more jurisdiction and flexibility?
“It’s freer, it’s fun. Yeah, I definitely get to call a lot more audibles musically. So, for example, if I want to stretch something out, which I did during Suspicions Minds [the Elvis Presley song] ending it and then saying ‘nah, f-it let’s go at it again’. It is fun to be able to have that power on stage. When you sing you’re in a unique position to look over the crowd and see what the crowd needs and you can kind of experiment with what you can make the crowd do.”


Kind of like a ‘jam band’ situation …
“Yeah, sure, but I like to keep things a little more simple. I’m not String Cheese [laughs]. You have to have that feeling that anything can happen at anytime, that’s what very much separates this kind of music from that of a DJ. When you have a band you have all of these egos that have to collaborate, it’s all of these brains having to share one intellect.”

There is definitely no room for Ego at this festival.

Have you ever attended Newport Folk as a patron?
“One time, yeah, but I was more like a guest. Delta Spirit and Middle Brother played some years ago and the year after that, my wife and I came up from New York and went to the festival and it was amazing. We sat in with Deer Tick and hung out, met Jackson Browne and it was cool. The first time was really crazy, we watched Ramblin’ Jack Elliott play a song to Pete Seeger at one of the after hours events and it was really beautiful … it was weepy, he had tiger tears.”

Matthew got a phone call at this time, which gave me a break to compose myself and try not to get weepy myself. We started discussing his performance and experience at Jane Pickens Theatre this weekend,

“I met the owner (Kathy Staab) and she just smothered me … we just twirled around. Rhodies are all great, I just think Rhode Island is a good mix of the Massachusetts vibe but a laid back feeling too”

Pause, Matthew just flicked a bug out of my hair. Thanks, Brother.

I know this seems pretty general, but how does Newport compare to other festival locations?
“It doesn’t. It doesn’t make any sense, it’s too great. It’s really all blended and beautiful.”Matthew’s response seems to follow suit of so many other artists who have taken the stage, or enjoyed the show as special guests or patrons. We are happy to share our little island with you, Matthew Vasquez. Can’t wait to see your tin type!

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