When roots blues acoustic guitarist Joshua Blatchley plays shows around town, he usually leaves his acoustic at home, stuffs some picks in his pockets, and borrows an electric guitar and amp from a friend.
Once onstage, Blatchley’s electric gigs are much different than the “pre-war” finger-picked acoustic songs he plays on his EPs and home recordings.
“The electric thing is totally improvisational,” wrote Blatchley in an email. “In fact, I don’t actually own an electric guitar. If I want to do an electric set, I just borrow stuff and see what happens, call it ‘plein aire.’ The electric thing is different each time; usually it’s one tune or note that sustains for a while.”
But after recording a solo instrumental guitar album last December with Pall Jenkins (Black Heart, Three Mile Pilot, Mr. Tube) at Jenkins’s studio, Stereo Disguise Recording Laboratory, Blatchley decided to ditch the electric shows and go back to acoustic sets to gear up for the album’s release and coinciding tour this coming May.
For Blatchley, whether he plays acoustic or electric sets, his live performances always have an improvisational, unscripted quality to them that keeps it interesting — for the audience and himself. “I don’t want my music to come across as too rigid. I know where [the songs] start and what should be in them, but there is no real structure. I like to actively participate in the composition while I’m playing, that way I’m more invested in the performance. Ultimately, I’d like the audience to feel like friends watching me play at home, and I get bored easily if I make them too rigid.”