The recent release of Raul’s self-produced CD, “Royal Street,” which features the Rhythm Brothers and special guest violinist Johnny Frigo, has brought Raul international acclaim from Jazz reviewers in the U.S., UK and Europe. The instrumental and compositional skills displayed on this, Raul’s first solo CD, have solidified his position as one of the world’s finest guitarists. We caught up with him recently for our 7 Questions With series, and it went a little something like this:
With the current state of live performance being what it is, what is your musical (or otherwise) focus right now?
Basically, as performers in the current pandemic environment, we are having to come up with new ways to stay in touch with our audience. Right now, I am trying to set up a nice home studio for overdub session work, and my own musical projects, as well as teaching online.
What current work/releases are you most excited about?
As I am spending more and more time at home, I’m working on some projects that have been on the back burner for some time, including a second Django inspired CD, along with a Charlie Christian style project.
What does the ideal amplifier offer you?
As far as gear, the best equipment is the kind that does it’s job quietly and efficiently for the performer. The Henriksen Bud has been my primary amp for quite some time, and has never let me down. I can plug in Martins, Django guitars, and electric archtops, and they always sound great.
Who would you most like to play with today, living or not?
I’ve had the good fortune to play with many of today’s great players over the years, but as for players no longer with us, I would have to list Django, Charlie Christian, Jimmy Bryant, and Clarence White.
What kind of music would people be surprised to discover you enjoy?
I love all music, from Bebop to Bluegrass, to Irish. Lately, I’ve been playing Old Timey music on the mandolin, as well as Swing mandolin.
How did your relationship with Henriksen begin?
I met Peter Henriksen at a Guitar show in Santa Barbara a few years ago. He was introducing the Bud amps, but by the end of the show when I went to check them out, they were all gone. We had adjacent booths at the same show the following year, I was working for Shubb Capos. I was able to try out the Bud with three different instruments, no external preamps, just plugged straight in, and I was sold! I bought a Bud that same weekend.
What upcoming things would you like our readers to be aware of, and where can they find out more?
I am currently Co-Director at the Colorado Roots Music Camp, near Divide, CO. It’s great camp where I taught every year from 2006 on, then was honored to be asked to be Co-Director when founder and great friend Charlie Hall was stricken with cancer. Our June and August camps were cancelled due to the pandemic this year, but we are looking forward to seeing everyone next year! CRMC is on Facebook and the web at: https://coloradorootsmusic.com/