Carl Alderson
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Carl Alderson

Band Folk


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The best kept secret in music


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The Firefly Field - Fast Folk Records (Carl Alderson)
Courthouse Lament - Fast Fold Records (Carl Alderson)
Tube-timing Son-of-a-Gun - Akashic Records (Spook Handy)
The Firefly Field - Wooftone Records (Sue Harris)


Feeling a bit camera shy


My Grandfather played Ozark Mountain barn dances in the 1930's and 40's. He taught me flat-picking and old time Mountain Music. I grew up in New Jersey (largely because of my Dad and the United States Air Force). Thanks! Uncle Sam.

Music in our house was everything from Marty Robbins to Merle Haggard. My mother was partial to the King. In 1973, at the age of fourteen, I was disc jockeying at a local station, playing country hits (what we'd call classic country now). The station and the radio tower were set down a long gravel road in the Pines of New Jersey. I was surrounded by Gospel, George Jones and a new kind of country that would later become "Outlaw Music". Some of the outlawing happened right in the studio on a nightly basis. The station folded within a year after it was looted of all its electronic equipment. All of the great records and a good part of the front door were blasted away by a shotgun - or two.

I spent my teen years listening to mellow 70's rock until a scrawny older local kid busted open the local Asbury Park music scene; and in turn the national music scene. This new music turned me on to great new possibilities. Thanks! Local older kid.

At the age of 19, after a quick stint in college, I took a minute to step off the curb funny at the Lakehurst Motel (yes, the famous flop house with the flashing neon blimp). With my foot in a cast for many weeks I spent my entire disability check on a brand new 1978 Jumbo-body Hohner Guitar. I didn't know much about guitars, but at 6'4"being all arms and legs, a Jumbo made sense to me like the way a big & tall shop makes sense for buying a pair of pants that keeps you from looking simple-minded. So I bought my first guitar because it fit! After a succession of all sorts of guitars I've come back to jumbo body guitars because of the sound they produce. My stage guitar is a 1995 Everett AC. The AC stands for Air- craft Carrier (presumably Mr. Everett figured it to be bigger than a dreadnought).

Back around 1981, after three years of dead end jobs and weary of a rough stint on the road, I returned to college in New Jersey. I will say this much, California was nice whether you were looking out across the San Francisco Bay or through the bars after a night at the Alameda County Jail. It’s just that pretty. Back in NJ, and at the Rutgers Ag-school, I fell in with an aspiring musician by the name of Spook Handy. This cat insisted that I pull my dusty guitar out from under the bed and play a few licks. Being somewhat of a shy person, I was barely able to control my bodily functions through our first gig as the "K-9's". For a couple of years we played our original and cover songs for club and coffee house audiences around New Brunswick, NJ - either a duo or a trio with a female vocalist (Susan Cohen of Solar Circus, later Susan Alderson).

Later in the decade, Spook and I would join again with new band mates as the "Love Project". The original music that came out of this band lasted for too short of a time. It did however add greatly to the flavor of the New Brunswick scene. The music It could be described as George Clinton and P-Funk meets the mellow of 1970's raised suburban kids. This was something much different than KC and The Sunshine Band (who are very cool to this day). I played the funk bass. You could not be less cool in 1987 if you tried. Try we did.

I learned to Travis pick from a local NJ legend, Howard Schwartz, of the folk rock band Wood n' Strings. Sadly, cancer took Howard soon after we got started with a project of recording original tunes in his basement studio. Inspired by Howard and my new found finger-style abilities I continued down that path, seeking lessons from Fred Winston and Howard Morgan at the New School in New York.

An invitation by Sound Engineer Peter Beckerman (later of Rusted Root, The Paul Schaffer Band) to record at a studio in Manhattan yielded a five song demo. One of Howard's last wishes for me was that I team up with his friend, guitarist Jon Herington (later of Steely Dan, Lucy Kaplansky). The result was a surprisingly big folk rock sound. The demo, entitled "The Firefly Field" was co-produced by myself and Peter and is still available in tape-cassette only.

The demo was a great studio experience but it was unlike anything that I did live. Now living and working in New York City, I was invited by a friend to volunteer for a Greenwich Village based music magazine known as "Fast Folk Music Magazine".

I dove into the work in earnest, not being familiar with the editors, writers and musicians, but being happy all the same to find some like-minded folk musicians to hang with. While with Fast Folk I recorded two songs for the magazine, ran the volunteer mail room and was the assistant stage manager and/or stage manager three large stage productions at the Bottom Line in February of 91, 92 and again in 1993 (joined again by pal Peter Beckerman as Sound and Recording Enginee