Three Questions With… Steve Shelton

by Matt Kettmann

Santa Barbara’s Steve Shelton and the Jack Ball Trio release A Fool’s Hearty Wisdom this Saturday, July 8, 8 p.m., at Center Stage Theater. The album is impressive both lyrically (Shelton was first a renowned poet) and instrumentally, with the likes of Wayne Peet on keys and Tom Lackner on drums, plus the occasional appearance of Roberto Miranda on bass and Josh Shelton (Steve’s son) on trumpet.

How does poetry relate to music for you? Poems have to stand on their own, they have to stand up with their own internal rhythm. The music is within the words themselves, whereas once you say you’re gonna write lyrics, you know there is a tune coming and you have to make sure that marriage works. Your dad was a jazz musician and now you’re playing with your son. How’s that? It’s great. It’s always fortunate when he’s free enough to dip into some sessions. He’s got a great band I love to plug called Vajra; they’re doing some interesting stuff. He plays trumpet, he raps, he writes, he sings. We’re keeping it connected, and that’s fun.

Do you plan to get this album to bigger markets? Being independent is funny. I just did an interview with an FM station in Maine. I’d never even heard of them, but they had my first few CDs. And yeah, the idea is to get it exposed, get it out to radio stations, get the stuff heard. … It’s easier when someone else is pushing you than you pushing yourself, so thanks for this.

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