Quick Q and A with Craig Werth

Craig Werth is David Francey’s right hand and maybe left hand too.  He accompanies David on many tours and has arranged and produced his music.  He knows David’s music inside and out.  But he’s also a very fine singer-songwriter and has a multitude of musical talents.  As David notes, Craig is a natural-born storyteller as you can tell from the responses to the questions below.

To learn more about Craig, visit his website.

Craig’s warm personality comes through on this video for “If Angels Had No Wings.”

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You inspired me to check out an online anagram generator online.  I was disappointed in what I ended up with…but yours—-“Regard with Grace.”  How absolutely awesome!  What’s your take on your anagram?

I take the anagram as a reminder for a way to be in this life of mine — to appreciate and cherish as much as I can — and to express that appreciation often.  Much of the time I’m successful at this.  I admit to having hit the anagram lottery, though the expression surely isn’t wasted on me.

You’ve been accompanying David Francey for some time.  What is it about David’s music that resonates so much with you?

I first met David at a show Harvey Reid hosted in York, Maine.  He was accompanied by the brilliant Dave Clarke.  I am not alone for having been grabbed by the heart with his words and the way he presents them.  Beyond being one of my closest friends, David is one of my favorite writers of all time.  There is truth in everything he writes about.  His songs are beautiful, and also rich and genuine throughout.

 Your CD, The Spokes Man, includes some very inspiring story songs like the title song.  Tell us about it.

My CD is filled with my own true stories.  Even the fictional stories, like “Good Old Dog” are built on truth.  In that one the main character has an old dog who “crossed this river all by himself… left thirteen times… came back twelve.”  The story is made up, but the love of canines is absolutely genuine.  I know, from more than 30 years of canine companionship, how profound their love is and how devastating the loss can be.  “The Spokes Man” is based on Mr. Lewis Days from Durham, North Carolina, who still fixes up bikes and gives them away to children in the poorest neighborhoods.  I was born with a great, sometimes overwhelming capacity for empathy for others and that feeds much of my writing.

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 What prompted your love song to zucchini. I happen to be a big fan.  My daughter, on the other hand, thinks it’s a vegetable without value.  Is it one of your favorite foods?

In the early 80s we lived in Harrisville, NH which started the International Zucchini Festival.  I wrote the song for that festival.  That song is a surprise “hit” in several parts of the world including Australia.  The zucchini has appreciators everywhere I’ve travelled.

You play a number of different stringed instruments. Do you have a favorite?

I love all stringed instruments and many others as well.  I don’t have an absolute favorite — just favorites of the day or week.  Each has a unique voice and role in my life.  The one I play most for enjoyment is actually the violin, which I almost never play on stage.  I’m not at all expert at it, but I love playing it.  I think it’s the one, for me, that is closest to the human singing voice in its range of expression.  It’s my instrument of choice for jam sessions with friends and I compose many fiddle tunes for friends and family.

I’d like to know more about being chosen for a Club Passim Iguana Fund grant.  It sounds like such a worthwhile project.

I am so thankful that the folks at Club Passim chose my project to fund.  They commonly fund young artists in support of their recordings.  I proposed something out of the ordinary for them and they were gracious enough to honor my request.  My project involves the teaching of both ukulele and songwriting to folks who experienced brain injury.  I will also be working with a group of hospice volunteers to teach ukulele for incorporation into hospice work.  I’ve used the ukulele as a hospice volunteer myself and the impact has been potently positive. The project has already attracted much support and the number of interested participants has already grown well beyond the figure in my proposal even though the project won’t officially start up until late April.

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