Episode 10 with John Leventhal 

My guest today is Mr. John Leventhal. John is a guitarist, songwriter and producer, having won 5 Grammys  and 16 nominations for records he has produced. (I may be incorrect about this, it might actually be more…) 

 As usual on the Riff Raff, I have “selfish” ulterior motives and tend to interview people who were influential to me as a guitarist/producer and John is at the top of that list. He was a big influence on the way I approach working with singers and in the studio. His uncoventional approachs to folk, country and rock/pop genres is hard to pin down and that’s exactly why I like his sound so much. 

John is married to Roseanne Cash,  an amazing singer/songwriter and the daughter of country legend Johnny Cash. (For this interview I get to play one of Johnny Cash’s guitars!) 

In this interview we discuss guitars, producing, working with singers, songwriting, alternate tunings, his early career, “letting go” of preconceived ideas, the importance of good time, and much more. We also do quite a bit of playing and you get to hear John do his thing. There is some really great gems at the end so if you are a fan of John's we were really just getting going....

This interview took place on a snowy day at John’s studio in New York City, March 2017.

4 comments

  • Ross Helmot

    Ross Helmot Melbourne - Australia

    Shane, I really enjoy these podcasts...I'm also a big fan of John's work and the way he plays guitar. The first time I consciously heard him was when I was in a record store (not sure they really exist anymore) and they were playing the Shawn Colvin album 'A Few Small Repairs'...Bought it then a there and it still remains a favourite. I guess our influences are all quite similar. Cooder, the great R&B players...I must admit to having borrowed and or adapted some of John's chord ideas. Maybe it's about time someone reversed the roles and you had an episode on you. I'm sure many of us would like to hear a bit more about your career in music going back to your beginnings... Thanks again, Ross

    Shane, I really enjoy these podcasts...I'm also a big fan of John's work and the way he plays guitar. The first time I consciously heard him was when I was in a record store (not sure they really exist anymore) and they were playing the Shawn Colvin album 'A Few Small Repairs'...Bought it then a there and it still remains a favourite.

    I guess our influences are all quite similar. Cooder, the great R&B players...I must admit to having borrowed and or adapted some of John's chord ideas.

    Maybe it's about time someone reversed the roles and you had an episode on you. I'm sure many of us would like to hear a bit more about your career in music going back to your beginnings...

    Thanks again, Ross

  • Shane Theriot

    Shane Theriot

    thanks Ross! Glad you liked it and thanks for listening! John was indeed an influence on me and I "lifted" quite a few things from him that I use to this day when working with singers-

    thanks Ross! Glad you liked it and thanks for listening! John was indeed an influence on me and I "lifted" quite a few things from him that I use to this day when working with singers-

  • Claes Jorwall

    Claes Jorwall Sweden

    Great shows Shanes. I’ve listened to quite and I love it. Being a bassplayer myself, I in particular enjoyed the George Porter episode. Planning on shows with other bassplayers as well? All the best Claes

    Great shows Shanes. I’ve listened to quite and I love it.
    Being a bassplayer myself, I in particular enjoyed the George Porter episode.
    Planning on shows with other bassplayers as well?

    All the best
    Claes

  • Claes Jorwall

    Claes Jorwall Sweden

    I did of course also enjoy the Will Lee episode a lot . More bassplayers please! //Claes

    I did of course also enjoy the Will Lee episode a lot .
    More bassplayers please!

    //Claes

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