Monday, January 02, 2006
Freddie Roulette's guitar gambols
Freddie Roulette may be a soft-spoken man, but his guitar speaks volumes.
Notes swell and glide, jump, strut and boogie as thin, tapered fingers pick out a blend of country-western twang, funky urban rhythms and tropical ululations. The sound tells you all you need to know about the Berkeley musician -- or at least as much as he'd like you to know.
In person, the 65-year-old renowned lap steel guitar player is remarkably humble -- you might even call him shy. But onstage, he comfortably shares the limelight with other well-known Bay Area musicians. In fact, Freddie and Friends (guitarist Michael Hinton, bassist Michael Warren and drummer and producer Michael Borbridge) will be playing a spate of gigs in Berkeley and San Francisco this month.
Roulette, who's been playing the lap steel since childhood, has lent his unique sound -- which draws on country-western, Hawaiian guitar, blues and funk -- to a bevy of well-known musicians, including Frank Zappa, John Lee Hooker and blues great Earl Hooker. Still, he's not a name-dropper. Roulette prefers to talk about the good music coaxed out of the weathered wood body of his vintage mid-1940s lap steel guitar rather than who he's jammed with.
Read the article
Contra Costa Times