myrick & cipriani
wanderlust: an intimate conversation, album and tour
“Wanderlust expressed the idea of being an explorer; the idea of searching for the frontier and going past it.”
~ Brad Myrick
Wanderlust reflects our longing to reconnect with special paths and places. It’s a perfect title for the collaboration between Brad Myrick and Nicola Cipriani as they ponder places they’ve been and places they imagine. We caught up with Brad to chat about this musical conversation between two great friends who happen to be great artists.
AL Why did you title the album Wanderlust?
BM Nicola and I have known each other for a decade now. We’re at the point now where we’re basically like brothers. We know each other very well. And one of the things that we both absolutely love to do is travel. Nicola and I had both written songs based on the places we’ve been, or experiences tied to places that we’ve been in our lives. We started talking about an initial set list for this project. We both said, you know, we have a ton of tunes about places. We should actually use that as a theme for this first album together. Wanderlust was an idea because it expressed the idea of being an explorer; the idea of searching for the frontier and going past it. And this is something that I’ve always enjoyed in my life, let’s say with traveling, but I loved it as a musical theme.
AL Your videos and studio recording are very honest.
BM We wanted to do give people a view into our approach on this album, which is to be as real and honest as possible. We’re just playing steel string guitars. We don’t have any pedals or amplifiers or tricks of any time. It’s very honest, which for me is strange because I’ve always played with a lot of sound effects and done a lot of pop music with layers and layers of guitars and you go in and punch and you fix things. We just wanted this to be as honest as possible and we wanted to capture all the breaths and the little clicks of the tick on the strings and just the sounds – the real honest nature of two guitar players doing music together. It was really important for us that we got a film crew in to showcase that in a really honest way. You’ll notice that it was two cameras, a real simple shoot. Again, no effects, no crazy lighting, just kind of simple and hopefully allowing the music to tell the story.
AL If you could choose three songs to introduce your music, what would they be?
BM The first single on the album is a song called 992 Hopkinton Road. That certainly would be one of the three. Then, there’s Reñaca and a tune called Kearsarge which is the name of a little mountain in the next town over from where I live. I think with the three of them together, you would absolutely hear the voice of Wanderlust.
AL If you could see one acoustic show, who would it be?
BM For me it would be Julian Lage and Chris Eldridge if they go on tour together as a duo. I bet Nicola would answer the same thing, too. I’ll tell you exactly why: they’re my generation. I’m 37. Nic is younger than me, he just turned 30. I think Julian and Chris are right in that ballpark if I remember right. They’re younger musicians pushing acoustic guitar forward, making it tangible for people that are our age by combining genres in a way that I’ve always tried to do myself.
AL How do answer the inevitable question about genres?
BM At least for me, genre doesn’t define my music. I think it’s the other way around. I think that sometimes certain genres allow me to express my music in the way that I want to do or closest to the way that I want to in the way that I imagined it in my head. So, sometimes you need to write a jazz piece and sometimes you need to write the hard rock piece, or whatever it may be in the middle.
Returning to Julian Lodge and Chris Eldridge. What I love about them is that Lage is coming from a jazz background. I just saw his trio show, kind of a jazz thing. He’s playing a telecaster in a small room in Burlington, Vermont. Um and he does that thing at an incredibly high level. And Eldridge is coming from bluegrass and the two of them get together and they make this music on steel string acoustic guitars. You hear some jazz influence and you certainly hear some bluegrass influence and you hear folk influence. But what you really hear is two people who have a really profound voice playing a lot of diverse music. And it comes together in this glorious way that’s just inspiring and beautiful to listen to and you don’t have to define in a shot. I just love that concept.
AL Of your acoustic guitars, do you have a sentimental favorite?
BM I wish I had the first a couple of instruments that I had acquired of any quality, but I’ve had the same guitar, my touring acoustic since 2000, so that’s the one sentimental one that’s been all over the world with me and on every record I ever made. It’s really fascinating because as Nicola and I are pushing into some new territory musically with this album, I decided it was going to be the first album where I didn’t use that guitar.
AL Who are your acoustic heroes?
BM The ones that changed my life the most would be Al DiMeola and Dave Matthews. In my formative years, those were the two I latched onto for obviously very different reasons. Musically, they appeal to different things. It was weird when I was growing up as a guitarist, like in my early teens, I was kind of right on that breaking point between the eighties, where it was lots of shred and rock and big solos and that kind of stuff and leading into grunge music, which was obviously the anti guitar solo music. And I was listening to both of them, so I was listening to alt-rock stations and college radio and that kind of stuff. Certainly for acoustic guitar, when I discovered DiMeola, I was like, oh my goodness, there’s a guy that plays this acoustic stuff, but he puts all these solos in and he’s playing all these notes and there’s all this harmony and all this cool stuff I didn’t understand at the time. And that was amazing to me. I was kind of a kind of a split personality thing between between like nineties alt-rock and acoustic.
A quick DiMeola story I have to mention is that Al does acoustic duo tours every year. The other guitar player is Peo Alfonsi. He’s an Italian guy and a good friend of Nicola’s. He’s not as well-known as Al, but someone who should absolutely be on your radar. I wish more people knew who he was. He’s an incredible person, has an astounding view of life and just says so much with his instrument. We actually just played a show with him back in November. We had a little guitar festival and it was Peo Alfonsi, Nicola and myself. We each did a set and then we played a song together at the end.
AL You must be excited about the upcoming tour.
BM Yeah!, Nic’s been down there, but I’ve never been to South America. I’ve traveled in Europe a bunch. I’ve been to India, I’ve been all over the U.S. and Canada, but I’ve never been to South America. So, it’s one of those things I can, fingers crossed, get really excited about because, for me, that’s wanderlust. It’s me, getting a chance to, to go to a new place and discover something and have my mind blown by a totally different part of the world.