On episode 66 of the Americana Music Show, Ted Hefko talks about the extremely competitive music scene in NYC and how that’s a positive influence on artists, how Dylan’s early work was a huge inspiration for him, riding the Greyhound Bus to move to New Orleans when he was just out of high school, and learning to “fix his face.”
Americana Music Show
- Subscribe by email, by iTunes, or by RSS. It’s all free and you won’t miss an episode.
- Visit the episode list to listen to past episodes
The Americana Music Show is copyright 2012 by Taproot Media. The music and interviews in this episode are used with permission of the artists. The Taproot Theme music is called “Meltdown Man” by Derek K. Miller of Penmachine.com.
If you have any feedback for this episode or any other episode, please send mail to email@example.com.
Ted Hefko talks about moving to NYC in 2003 and putting out his first CD a few years later. But he spent his formative years in New Orleans and that’s always the center of his musical focus. Egyptland was specifically looking at New Orleans and its changes. This CD If I walked on water is a lot more playful.
Ted Hefko talks about how competitive NYC is and how that’s a good thing because it pushes you. New York is all about original music. It’s not background music. It’s on a stage to say “This is something I created.”
Ted Hefko introduces the title track, “If I Walked On Water”. It’s got a gypsy jazz flavor. Ted had to push himself on clarinet on this on. A playful song of courtship done in the language of the King James Bible, with Old Testament reference.
Ted Hefko talks about the band and how the CD is really a group effort. Trumpet player Satoru Ohashi. Was in New Orleans with Ted. He has a very positive spirit. The guitarist Luca Benedetti and he is not a straight ahead jazz guitarist. He does bluegrass also. He put out an instrumental telecaster CD And Ted wanted to pull something like that on to the CD to show him off some. Scott Ritchie great bass player in New York, “people sound a lot better when Scott’s around.” Moses Patrou plays drum and a little bit of piano. They went to grade school together. His dad is a singer of old time blues and Moses gets a lot from that. Guests: Billy Blend on Hammond organ. Neil Thomas plays on accordion.
Ted Hefko talks about the name of his backup band, The Thousandaires. First heard the word on a Saturday Night Live skit “Who wants to marry a ten thousandaire.” so he took off from there. .
Ted Hefko talks about his neighborhood. Williamsburg at northern end of Brooklyn which has become a popular area for music with good paying gigs. They also like to play The Shrine in Harlem.
Ted Hefko introduced “You Gotta Take Steps If You Want To Get Started.”
Ted Hefko talks about his inspiration. When he was a kid we worked on songwriting. Then focused on sax for a while. Then he started back into songwriting. One of the first albums that got to him was Dylan’s Nashville Skyline. Ted also has a Dr. John influence. Howlin’ Wolf and Willie Dixon speaks to him. And of course Duke Ellington and the lyricists that worked him.
Ted Hefko starts with the lyrics and then lets them take him where they need to go musically and this time he was fitting the music into the band. But he doesn’t see himself as a strictly jazz guy. He does like the whole CD to fit together and not sound like individual songs
He introduces Greyhound Coach. He rode one at 18 when he moved to New Orleans. Spent the trip next to a call girl twice his age who explained to him the ins and outs of the business. Went to New Orleans with a foot locker of personal stuff, a sax and a couple of guitars. Ted says that New Orleans is very welcoming, everything smells moldy, but the thick air is also like a blanket.
I asked him if these hard economic times makes people more receptive to his feel good music. Ted said he tries to create a good value with his music and making sure his music is entertaining. He’s not so much into the cult of personality in music.
He talked about a lesson he learned in New Orleans. Some of the old guys would tap him on the shoulder and tell him to “fix his face.” By that they mean he needs to smile an remember that the audience came to see and hear him and he needs to act like he’s having a good time.