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Cindy Cashdollar

A Conversation with Cindy Cashdollar

CC: Hello.

PM: Hi, Cindy, Frank from Puremusic.com.

CC: Oh, hey, Frank. How you doing?

PM: I'm doing good. How's your morning proceeding?

CC: Pretty good so far.

PM: Yeah?

CC: So far, yeah.

PM: It's just started stormin' like Norman here in Nashville, out in the country.

CC: Oh, no.

PM: What do you got down there for weather?

CC: Oh, it's beautiful. It's like a spring day so far. But it's probably gearing up to be pretty warm. It's already started in getting pretty hot. But we had a bunch of storms, too, about a week ago, and now that's over with.

PM: Yeah, we've had beautiful days lately. The good days, this time of year, are just so incredible, when it gets nice for a little while. Nashville doesn't get like Austin, but it gets pretty hot.

CC: I know. I know it gets very similar. But so far it looks like a nice day here.

PM: Somebody just sent me the most amazing video. Have you seen this video of this brown-skinned guy on a kind of cactus-y hillside, and he's playing a guitar, and he's chording, and he's finger picking, but he's got a spoon in his mouth, and he's playing a melody on the top string with it.

CC: Yes, I saw that!


PM: Mr. Spoon. [You can see it here.]

CC: It's incredible. Nobody knows where it's from.

PM: So nobody knows who it is or what country--

CC: Yes. It's very bizarre. It's going to be one of those cult things. So yeah, I think it's amazing.

PM: I mean, with all the slide guitar players I've known, I've never seen anybody chord through something and still play a slide melody. That never even occurred to me.

CC: I know. It's incredible, that whole concept. And when I see something like that, I always wonder, like, how did they figure that out? Were they having a day where they had absolutely nothing do?


PM: It's like Zen mind, simple mind.

CC: It is. It's unbelievable. Have you seen that little--oh, it's just like a little thirty-second thing, it's called "Cookie Blues"?

PM: No.

CC: Oh, it's wonderful.

PM: Will you send that to me?

CC: I'll see if I can. [You can find it here.] Although I play steel guitar, I don't play pedal steel, and there's a reason. I'm technically impaired. So for me to try to send anybody anything other than email is really frighteningly hard.

PM: Email is challenging enough, right. Oh, so many of my friends in Nashville are finally getting computers--and I mean, guys like Jim Lauderdale and Kenny Vaughan, it's just like "No, I'm not doing it." [laughs]

CC: Well, those guys are too busy to deal with a computer, anyway. And they've probably got people who take care of most of that stuff, and they're on their way all the time.

PM: Like hell, they do. Kenny is chasing his kids around, and Lauderdale is probably chasing girls around, but still…


CC: It's true. But on the road it's so hard, I find, even--sometimes I'll take my laptop so I can keep up with email, but then there's never any time to use it. And by the time you get back to the hotel and figure out how to plug into their system, you're just too tired.

PM: Yeah. You might wonder why, some time after your solo debut, that somebody calls you for an interview--or is it just normal?

CC: It's funny because that CD just seems to just keep growing legs. It's like somebody else will hear about it or happen upon it. Everybody's desks in this business are just piled with CDs, and they never ever get to them. So, no, it doesn't surprise me at all.

PM: Ah. Well, how it happened to me was I was in Austin for South By Southwest, and I happened to go into the church that night because I wanted to see Kenny Vaughn play with Marty Stuart. [If you haven't seen our videos of that performance, bookmark here.]

CC: That was a great venue, wasn't it.

PM: Oh, yeah--well, it was once they got the sound straightened out. There were some gospel a capella groups at the top, and that was nightmarish. But it got better as the night wore on.

CC: Yeah.

PM: So when I saw Olabelle, you were playing with them. And that's where I got turned on, really, to Cindy Cashdollar. I mean, I knew your name for years, but I'd only ever heard you play on your many appearances on A Prairie Home Companion, or some on Time Out Of Mind.

CC: Well, I'm glad you called. [laughs]

PM: And it's some much different when you see somebody play.

CC: Yeah, it is, it's totally different, because people can send you tons of CDs, but I don't think people can actually get what a player or a singer is doing until they actually--you got to see them in person, that's all there is to it.

PM: Yeah, because half of it is the presence that they exude.

CC: Yeah, and interaction.

PM: And your presence is formidable. You stand up there like--even before you played a note I just watched you and said, "That chick can play."


CC: That's a big compliment, I appreciate that.

PM: On the [Bob Dylan] Time Out of Mind sessions, did you run into my friend Bob Britt from Nashville?

CC: I sure did, yeah.

PM: Isn't he something?

CC: Yeah, he's incredible. He's a real pro to work with, and just a great player. I haven't seen him since then, actually.

PM: A real tonemeister.

CC: Yeah, he is. It's like he always plays appropriate, he always plays tastefully. And I haven't seen him since then. I have no idea who he's playing with, what he's doing.

PM: I think he's been out with John Fogerty.

CC: Oh, okay. Well, that's a good gig.

PM: Yeah, that it is. So as a perennial sideman--first of all, does that word--I take it that word doesn't bother you right, "sideman"?

CC: No. I think it's totally appropriate. I think "side woman" sounds ridiculous.

PM: It does, yeah. It sounds like a sidecar or something.

CC: It does. And "side person" is even more ridiculous.

PM: [laughs]

CC: Sideman, that's what I call myself.

PM: Right. So as a sideman instrumentalist, do you have much truck with the whole singer songwriter thing? Is that interesting to you or--

CC: In what way? Can you explain?

PM: Like, "Well, I like singer songwriters, I like to play with them," or "Nah, I'll take it if it's a good gig, but I'd just as soon play with a good swing band, if you ask me."

CC: Oh, I see what you're saying. No, I love to work with singer songwriters, because I guess you can tell I like doing all different kinds of stuff. And sometimes it's challenging, because singer songwriters, depending on the genre they work in, sometimes, especially if it's a solo performer, there's a lot of chordal changes.

PM: Right. Even if sometimes they don't know what those chords are.

CC: Right.


CC: It makes it interesting. So you have to just use your ear, and just kind of weave in and out. And it becomes really interesting to try to support, musically, what they're playing, as well as vocally, but not get in their way. Because you never, as a sideman, want to get in anybody's way.

PM: Yeah, right.

CC: And so the singer-songwriter, in a duo situation, is a little more of a challenge, as far as just not cluttering, but supporting.

PM: Yeah. And something at which you are an expert.   continue

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