This week, I'm all in favor of Catie Curtis, who not only has a new album out, but has taken it upon herself to start Aspire to Inspire, a program that gives guitars to kids who can't afford them. Props to that, Catie; here's the recent phone interview:
Did you do the cover art for "Hello, Stranger"?
No, I didn't. The woman who drew it is a good friend of mine who's also a best-selling author. She wrote and illustrated the book, "All I Needed to Know I Learned from my Cat." She's the real deal. We asked her to make up something for the cover and she did.
Is that you in the glasses and fake mustache?
No... it's sort of like the whole idea of putting on a disguise, for me, like trying on a new identity. I think that's what she was getting at.
And not that, literally, you go around like that.
No, I don't. (Laughs)
Who do you listen to right now?
I've been listening to Feist quite a bit. I love the melodies and the playfulness. The music that I always fall back on... is Lucinda Williams, Emmylou Harris, a group called the Weepies. There's a new artist in the Boston area named Lindsay Mac, who I think is really outstanding. When I'm driving, I love public radio. I love hearing discussions about politics and that's the kind of thing that keeps me awake more than music, which relaxes me too much to drive to.
You're focused on more than music; can you tell us about "Aspire to Inspire"?
It's a really small, kind of personal endeavor that started with just me, but it's grown into a nearly $10,000 endowment. It's not huge, but it means that in the coming year, I'll be able to give away a handful of guitars (about 5-10). I'm allowed to... give a handful of guitars to kids who are affiliated with the Fresh Air camps in New York State. So kids who don't have the means to buy guitars, but are passionate about music, (can get one). I know how much it changed my life as one person being given a guitar. One thing I would really liked to do is solicit used instruments from people that don't play the instrument anymore.
Do you remember the guitar you were given?
It was a Yamaya, like, SG 30, something like that. SG something.
Do you still have it?
No, sadly. I traded up at some point.