Playing What He Loves: Tony Furtado, World Class Musician, Comes to Corvallis and Eugene

Tony FurtadoIf you’d like to hear a creative amalgamation of Americana, indie folk/rock, bluegrass, and jazz driven by a world-class banjo and slide guitar player and vocalist, Tony Furtado is a must-listen. Heralded by Paste magazine as an acoustic and slide guitar virtuoso with a “voice reminiscent of T Bone Burnett, sans preachiness,” this soundsmith will soon grace the stage at Majestic Theatre.

Tony has been playing the banjo since age 12, won the Grand National Championship in banjo-playing in 1987 and again in 1991, and secured his first record deal in 1992. Originally born in Oakland, California, Tony now resides in Portland, Oregon, when he’s not touring the U.S. His new album, Live at the Mississippi, is a dramatic CD/DVD compilation, and follows his 2011 release, Golden, which claimed a place on the American Top 40 chart for months.

This well-rounded artist definitely brings his own flavor to the music he plays. Influenced by an array of genres, from hill country to Celtic to rock and pop, with artists such as Blind Willy Johnson, Taj Mahal, Ry Cooper, and Iron and Wine, Tony, in his own words, “strains many influences into one filter” to create his sound. Asked what advice he might give to up-and-coming musicians, his counsel was, “Just always play the music you love.” Clearly, Tony knows and loves the music he plays, and it shows.

Tony has toured for the past 25 years and when asked how the journey has been, he replied, “I love it. Driving from gig to gig might be a pain in the ass, but there’s nothing like the experience of being on stage.” And when Tony needs a break from the stress of the music biz, he’s also a talented sculptor, an interest he left behind in his undergraduate days but returned to as a hobby in the past few years.

Tony Furtado is playing the Majestic Theatre on Sunday, Nov. 25 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door. Tony will be following up a performance at Eugene’s Cozmic Pizza on Saturday, Nov. 24th at 8 p.m.; tickets are $12.50.

by Joel Southall