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No more bricks in this wall

Andrew Harley
Vail Daily/Shane Macomber Wally Furlow takes the honors of performing live music for the first time at the Westside Cafe on Wednesday night, April 28th, in West Vail.
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“I’m a guitarist,” said Wally Furlow. “I’m self-taught. I started playing when I was five or six years old, I guess.”

Furlow has been playing guitar for about 33 years.

“It’s like an old pair of shoes. When you do something, and it just comes really natural to you, you kind of miss it when you don’t have it,” he said. “I’m just as happy sitting around a campfire with a couple friends as I am in front of a couple hundred people. The music comes first, making the music is what’s important. It’s not an ego thing.”

Furlow titles his new Wednesday night program at Westside Cafe in West Vail “Wall’s Choice,” and he’s not opposed to covering it – “The Wall,” that is – during his first set.

“Wall’s Choice” is a two-set event. The first is request-driven and Furlow shares his original work during the second set.

“I want to make the focus to be on the music – people listening to it and appreciating it,” he said. “I have other friends in the valley that I write music with, and, from time to time, I’ll have guest musicians come in and sit in.”

Furlow played locally in Eyes with Paul St. Germain. They’ve been playing for about seven or eight years, doing a lot of Grateful Dead stuff.

Furlow’s opening night drew an attentive group of folks, but not so large. However, with so much construction obstructing Vail Village, Furlow and Westside may begin to draw a larger crowd.

Furlow almost exclusively plays original music during the second set, mostly from his first solo album, “Daze and Seasons,” which he recorded with his band Coustica at Bob’s House of Music and at home on his own equipment. He cites virtually all guitarists as influences.

“I’m a Dead Head from way back. I also am very tied to what are the standards of what I guess would be classic rock,” said Furlow. “Pink Floyd’s a real big one, Santana, Genesis is a really big one for me – Steve Hackett was the guitar player – the early Genesis, before Peter Gabriel left and such.”

He’s been in the valley for 11 years.

“I have my own business here, I don’t like to go down to sea level, too much oxygen,” he said.

Furlow admits he can be particular with his musical tastes and the content of his songs.

“I try not to do just your basic chord structures. I’m much more jazz-oriented. I like kind of a jazz-rock kind of sound with thought-provoking lyrics,” said Furlow. “I’m not the type that writes a song and typically will just not make it not really mean anything. I like to be a little bit profound in whatever subject matter I choose.”

“Daze and Seasons” leads off with an instrumental called “Dawn,” which is followed by “Morning,” “Mid Day,” “Kiss,” an instrumental titled “High Noon,” the sixth song is called “Summer” and it goes on from there.

“Basically what I did with that album, is I looked at a typical day in different places of the world,” he said. “I looked at what could be going on in people’s lives and relationships at the same time, but in different places.”

The songs on the album generally contain verses from two points of view.

“For example, there are two verses in ‘Morning,'” he said. “So, while the first verse looks at the sun coming up over a really nice, pristine, unpopulated island, and the second verse takes that same exact moment with the sun coming up in a city.”

It took Furlow seven years to finish “Daze and Seasons,” and he is now working on a project called “Cyber Life.”

“I’m taking a look at how computer access and relationships between people is really changing the way that people communicate,” he said. “So I take a typical American family – a husband and a wife and a couple kids – and I develop an experience that happens to the different people, basically over the Internet.

“It’s not cut and dry. At the same moment a person could be meeting the person they might spend the rest of their life with, at that very same second, there can be a predator who is finishing up the final touches on whoever he’s going to assault.”

Furlow met his girlfriend online – a dating site – during his research for the album.

Furlow says that he has always been impressed with the acoustics of what was once the Dancing Bear.

“The Westside is giving me an opportunity to play around with some other people’s music that everybody kind of likes. It also gives me the ability to play around with some original stuff,” he said. “Some of it will be great, some of it might not, but it will all be fun.”

Andrew Harley can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext. 610, or at aharley@vaildaily.com.


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