Don Gallardo is joining us on the Blue Plate Special with host Red Hickey on October 28th at noon. This event is free to the public and will be held at the Knoxville Visitor Center. In the meantime, enjoy this Bullet Backstory from Don Gallardo, himself. He was gracious enough to answer our questions for this regular feature on the WDVX blog.
Take it away Don!
- Biggest musical influences? The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Elvis Presley, Elton John, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Gram Parsons, Townes Van Zandt, The Mother Hips, Willie Nelson, John Prine, Merle Haggard.
- What made you decide to pursue music as a career? My family listened to music all the time and I would always sing along. I moved away from home at the age of 20 years old. I was moving into an apartment and the guy next door was cleaning out his apartment. He was walking a guitar to the dumpster and I told him not to throw it out and give it to me. That was my first guitar. Also, I used to follow a band called the Mother Hips and another band fronted by my friend Jeremy Mendonca who inspired me to play music.
- What advice do you have for young musicians who are trying to hone their craft? Listen to John Prine, Townes VanZandt, & Bob Dylan for some great ideas on songwriting and practice as much as possible. Get out in front of people and play. Don’t give up; it is not an easy business. You might find yourself 20 years later still trying to make a mark. Most of all, put your heart into everything. Whether you play to 5 people, 100 people or thousands make sure every time you play you play your best.
- What’s your favorite thing to do in Knoxville? I usually just drive in for a show and have to leave the next day. I’m not just saying this, but I aways love visits to WDVX (seriously). You all have always made me feel at home. I also like hanging and having a bite in Market Square. Seeing some friends that I haven’t seen in a while like drummer buddy Dave Campbell.
- If you could work with any musician (living or deceased) who would it be and why? Very hard question but Paul McCartney, Willie Nelson or Jeff Tweedy. Each have had careers that any singer-songwriter would love to have.
- Anything else you would like to share? Last year was a great year for me in music. I released Hickory in the UK and it has received some really great press/reviews that I am really proud of. It was released here in the US (and worldwide) in July. Rolling Stone premiered our new video for the single “Diamonds & Gold.” I have a lot of great people working with me to help promote the album and get it out there. I have been doing a lot of touring in support of the album and have some upcoming shows supporting Elizabeth Cook that I am really excited about.
Also, I got to meet Mick Jagger. He came to see us at one of our shows in Nashville. I was then invited to a private show; all the Stones were there and I got to meet each of them separately. It was pretty wild.
- Favorite WDVX memory, etc? Met my buddy Jamie Kent at WDVX when we both played Blue Plate about 4 years ago and have been friends since. Its great to see how far the both of us have traveled in music since then.