The Kingston Trio returns to the Egyptian Theatre
March 12, 2013
When the Kingston Trio, played the Egyptian Theatre a little more than a year ago, the three members — Bill Zorn, George Grove and Rick Dougherty — had been working on a new CD.
When the group returns to Park City to play a couple of concerts on Thursday, March 14, and Friday, March 15, it will be selling the disc titled "Born at the Right Time," said Grove during a phone interview with The Park Record from his home in Las Vegas, Nev..
"Bill, Rick and I have done several recordings as the Kingston Trio that include DVDs and CDs, but those have primarily been inclusive of the old material and very few new songs," Grove said. " ‘Born at the Right Time,’ on the other hand, is comprised of songs that have never been recorded before by us or any prior line up of the Kingston Trio.
"In fact, for the most part, these songs have not been recorded by anyone else, except for, maybe, the songwriters themselves who sent us the recordings so we could hear what the songs sound like."
In early 2010, Grove, Zorn and Dougherty began choosing tossing around the idea of making a CD.
"Over the past few years, fans kept saying they already have ‘Tom Dooley’ on Lord knows how many albums, and they kept asking us when we were going to do a CD new songs," Grove said. "So, the three of us took some time and selected some songs. We all brought them in, and we were hopeful that each others would like them as well."
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Helping with the selection process was founding member Bob Shane.
"Bob has a great ear for music and is one of the greatest vocal talents in the world and, of course, we wanted to include his opinion, too," Grove said. "After hearing what we had, he liked all the songs we chose pretty much left it up to all to us.
"We whittled the list down to the 15 songs that are on the CD," Grove said. "We know a lot of other groups will record 22 to 30 songs and then go and select 12 to 16 of those for a CD, but we decided on 15 and stuck with that number."
Once the group agreed on the songs, they booked a studio and got down to business.
"We did a four-day session to do the basic recordings in August of 2010, and then went back in October to sweeten things up with bits and pieces of overdubs and fine tuning," Grove explained. "Then we gave the tracks to the producer, John Jacob, who kept a tight lid on things."
Jacob did not break his silence until the CD was sequenced, mastered and duplicated.
"We didn’t hear anything until he said, ‘OK, it’s done. Good luck, boys,’" Grove said with a laugh. "We did the CD like how we flying from gig to gig. Instead of using a private jet, we leave the piloting up to Delta Airlines. So, we left the producing and the recording up to a professional.
"That way we work in a controlled environment and the sound turns out pretty good," he said. "I feel we ended up with a wonderful CD, and we’re all very proud of it."
Many of the Kingston Trio fans tend to agree.
"The most complimentary way of knowing we did the CD right is that it’s our best-selling disc in our catalog right now," Grove said.
The new songs have injected some new energy into the live performances.
"The three of us have selected six songs that we wanted to play live," Grove said. "I sing leads on two of them and we’ve got two Bill songs and two Rick songs that we intersperse within the show."
Finding the right place to put the songs proved to be a bit of a challenge.
"One reason is because the primary purpose of coming to a Kingston Trio show is to hear those old comfort songs," Grove said. "I want to let the fans know that we are not leaving any of those out.
"We play ‘Tom Dooley,’ ‘Scotch and Soda,’ ‘Where Have All the Flowers Gone,’ ‘The Reverend Mr. Black,’ ‘Worried Man,’ ‘Tijuana Jail’ and all those others, so we had to be judicious about when and how we interject the new stuff," Grove said with a laugh. "But we’ve been able to do it."
Still, the three know how important the old songs are, and they are the reason the Kingston Trio is still touring.
"Rick, Bill and I are all the same age, 65, and those old songs are what we grew up listening to, like our fans," said Grove, who has been a member of the band for 37 years. "The demographic of the original line up that included Bob Shane, who is 79, is five to 20 years older than I am. But the music we play was the music of our youth.
"These songs inspired us to pick up a banjo and start singing," he said. "This is what inspired us to form folk groups and perform and win in talent contests in high school. And, here’s the biggie, since we developed an identity as being successful musicians, we could date the cheerleader without having to play on the football team."
Grove’s favorite Kingston Trio song is still "The Reverend Mr. Black."
"My dad always wanted to be a minister, but he couldn’t stop working in business because he had to support his family," Grove said. "So, at the end of the song when the lyrics say, ‘The Reverend Mr. Black is my old man,’ I sing those words, I look to Heaven and wink."
The Kingston Trio will perform at the Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main St., on Thursday, March 14, and Friday, March 15, at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $39 to $70 and are available by visiting http://www.parkcityshows.com.
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