Singer/songwriter Tom Brosseau doesn't mind people calling his music old-timey. After all, he learned to play at the feet of his father and grandfather, who were in a pre-rock band together called Buck and the Buccaneers (and whose album collections were, to say the least, vintage). "I am an old soul, and so I think that comes out in my voice," says Brosseau. "My favorite songwriters are George and Ira and also Cole Porter and Jerome Kern. I don't really play the guitar very well, but I use it as a guide, and so sometimes it's more like vaudeville." The Grand Forks, North Dakota, native moved to San Diego in 2001 and quickly became one half of the American Folk Singers with Gregory Page. "I got taken under his wing; he was the first person I met [in San Diego]. A gal by the name of Genevieve Mantle introduced me to him. She was a fan of his. So many women love Gregory Page. So many men do, too."
The duo's first album was taped in Page's living room over two days, through an old phonograph. Page also ended up working on Brosseau's solo CDs, which are similarly evocative of railroad hobos, yodeling contests, and barnyard hoedowns. For Brosseau's new album, What I Mean to Say Is Goodbye, producer Sam Jones brought in players like Benmont Tench (keyboardist from Tom Petty's band) and Pete Thomas (Elvis Costello's drummer). A CD-release party takes place Friday, June 24, at the North Park Vaudeville Theater. Gregory Page shares the bill.
SOMETHING FEW KNOW ABOUT PAGE AND POLTZ?
"Well, Gregory Page only takes baths; he's a bather. Steve Poltz is, and always was, a big fan of classical music."
FIVE DESERT-ISLAND DVDs?
1. U-Turn ("To remind me of Arizona. My favorite movie, I might add.")
3. The Unabridged Bible, narrated by Charlton Heston ("I could think of nothing better to watch than this day after day on a deserted island.")
4. Buster Keaton Series ("You can buy this DVD for $1 at Target.")
5. Planxty Live 2004 ("Featuring all the bandmates, including Christy Moore.")
BEST LOCAL GIG EVER PLAYED?
"The San Diego Roots Festival, 2004. It was fun to play on a stage with Gregory Page and Angela Correa, with Floyd Fronius on violin. I like to play music with my friends. There was a lovely crowd, and we played outside on a stage set up next to Rosie O'Grady's. The sun was out, and the day was really nice."
FAVORITE READING MATERIAL?
1. Cabinet Magazine ("Great little quarterly with articles you never knew you wanted to read about and super pictures.")
2. Death in the Afternoon ("I never get tired of this Hemingway novel, which tells factual accounts of matadors.")
3. The Fall ("The book I will one day turn into a movie, written by Albert Camus, my favorite writer. There are very few passages in this book in quotations, which leads me to believe whatever conversation the main character is having is all in his head.")
4. Wallpaper Magazine ("Great UK publication. Lots of neat stories and designs and pictures.")
5. Papermag ("New York publication on film, arts, music.")
BEST LOCAL EATERIES?
1. The Turf Club, Golden Hill ("You cook your own meal. I like the #1, sirloin steak with a salad. The #1 is around $6.75; salad is an additional $1.75 or something like that.")
2. Hash House A Go Go, Hillcrest ("Their big plates make the food appear small, but their portions of food are really large...they have a great drip coffee, which I have found hard to find. I like their homemade biscuits and honey, $1.95 each.")
3. The Antique Row Cafe, Normal Heights ("It's been around for a while -- an old kind of diner where you can pretty much guess what they have on the menu. I would most likely get eggs and bacon and grits.")
WEIRDEST THING YOU EVER SAW BACKSTAGE?
[73-year-old folk legend] "Ramblin' Jack Elliott walking around with a cell phone."