Saturday, April 11, 2009

When Geoff Seitz played fiddle for Eleanor Roosevelt

A nice new multimedia essay on my buddy Geoffrey Seitz by Erik Lunsford of The Post-Dispatch gives me a good excuse to spotlight his fiddle work with my band Eleanor Roosevelt.

These songs will appear one of these years on the Eleanor Roosevelt record Water Bread & Beer. We tracked Geoff at the late Pops Farrar's house, on the outskirts of Belleville and Millstadt, Illinois. Pops was alive then and eagerly consented to our turning his place into an impromptu recording studio for a few days.

Free mp3s

Lyrics from a Moroccan Jewish children's song to summon rain.

I heard the chorus of this song sung in Spanish and then translated at a trade union meeting in St. Louis.

"Seeds & shit"
I made this one up. It's a disguised story about settling down in the big city with a woman.

"James Brown Boulevard"
True story. I was living at the time in Augusta, Georgia, JB's hometown. There really is a scary street with this name there.

All songs by Matt Fuller, Chris King, Lij & John Minkoff, with some lyrics adapted from other sources.

Eleanor Roosevelt is: Matt Fuller (drums, guitars, banjo, vocals), Chris King (vocals, guitar), Lij (banjo, guitars, harmonica, drums, lobster pot percussion, vocals), Dave Melson (bass), John Minkoff (guitars), with Geoffrey Seitz (fiddle).

With a new Son Volt record on its way now, I am reminded that the room of Pops' house Lij cleaned out to use as our control room had been Jay Farrar's bedroom growing up. In cleaning out the room, Lij unearthed some lost Son Volt masters! Forgot which ones. Jay ran right over and picked those up!


Photo of Geoff, not by Lunsford from his photoessay, but by my friend Frank Di Piazza. Frank fell in love with Geoff's fiddle shop a few years ago and got the go-ahead to shoot it for St. Louis Magazine. I was then tabbed to write the copy for it.

I first wrote about Geoff (for the Ray Hartmann-era Riverfront Times) and befriended him back in 1993, after he won First Place for Old-Time Fiddle at the prestigious Appalachian String Band Music Festival in Clifftop, W.V.

Feller was nice enough to pay his and his wife Val's way out to New York to play "Ook Pik Waltz" at my wedding when I got hitched ten years ago. Salts of the Earth.

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