Tony Furtado playing at Samana Lounge Sunday
VAIL Fear be gone! Tony Furtado banishes his triskaidekaphobia – fear of the number thirteen – in his recently released 13th album, aptly titled “Thirteen.” In the album’s liner notes, Furtado reveals that the CD’s theme revolves around the concept of “good luck/bad luck/no luck,” and how they relate to one another.”I’ve always been intrigued by our collective fear or love of certain numbers,” he wrote in the notes, “and the number thirteen is not regarded by the whole world as an unlucky number.”Pulled from headlines, the title track of the album is an especially poignant memorial to the twelve men who died in the Sago Mine tragedy that took place just more than a year ago. Reports released initially stated that 12 of the 13 trapped miners were alive and would be rescued. In the end, only one man survived. “Thirteen, thirteen, down a West Virgina hole,” Furtado sings on the fourth song. “Thirteen was a lucky man, twelve lost below.”Furtado didn’t have a close connection to men who lost their lives, he said, but he’s spent a considerable amount of time in Kentucky – prime mining country – over the years, and is familiar with the dangerous lives coal miners lead. “Something about that tragedy hit a chord with me when I heard the story,” Furtado said. “About the middle of last year my manager asked if I had any mining songs. I didn’t, so I figured why can’t I write one? I started reading more on that story and (the song) fell right out.”
Furtado now calls Portland, Ore., home but up until 2002, Furtado was a Boulder-ite and traveled up to Vail for performances “a million times,” he said. This past year Furtado took a break from touring to reflect and try his hand at writing a second album full of songs. Keeping with the theme, there are 13 songs on the album, 10 of which Furtado penned himself.Besides setting up a couple of local weekly gigs to “keep my chops up,” Furtado taught himself to paint with watercolors and began sculpting. “I felt like doing the visual stuff goes hand in hand with the audio. I went to college for two years and I was going to be a sculptor but I got sucked out early. (Sculpting) is something I’ve always loved to dabble in.”Besides news stories, Furtado said he’s drawing lyrical fodder from his own life.”I’m drawing more from my personal life – feelings and emotions – where before it was ‘Hey look, I’m rhyming. I’m putting words to melodies.’ Now it feels a bit more reactionary to what I feel. It’s a nice feeling to put down in words and music something I’ve gone through.”Furtado started the faux-confessional “The Alcohol” while living in L.A. and reading a lot of Charles Bukowski, according to the liner notes. “It’s like a love song to drinking, almost,” he joked. “I noticed I was drinking more when I was reading Bukowski. And one night, after I came home from a drinking session on Ventura Blvd., I wrote a couple verses and a chorus. Months later, after I moved to Portland, I hammered out the rest of it with [acclaimed Nashville-based singer/songwriter] Amelia White.”Andrew McConathy, owner of Pure Productions and co-promoter for the show, saw Furtado in concert for the first time a few years ago in Portland when he was a special guest at a String Cheese Incident concert.
“He came out and played some trance banjo that I was taken aback by … he’s a banjo virtuoso as well as a slide guitar virtuoso.”Though Furtado graced such venues as the Blue Moon Saloon and Dobson Ice Arena, it will be his first time at Samana Lounge.”I imagine it’s going to be pretty loud and pretty rocking,” McConathy said. “It’s a pretty small space and I’m sure people will be dancing pretty hard and having a great time.”Luck likely won’t have anything to do with that.
Caramie Schnell can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.