Bob Kilgore brings his music to its highest level yet on his
2016 CD Time And Again. The 13 track album is
essential for fans of instrumental acoustic-based guitar music as
well as New Age music, especially as the music on Time And Again
is quite meditative and peaceful sounding. Playing his Martin
D16M guitar, Bob gets support from his keyboardist brother, Bear
and the CD also features orchestral strings by cellist Sarah
Dean. The CD packaging also lists the various tunings Bob uses
on his guitars and the album is also a showcase for Bobs own
Harmonic Capo, which helps him get some appealing harmonic string
sounds on his Martin guitar. Kilgores 2016 notes regarding the
making of the CD are revelatory with the guitarist adding, I
worked on it for over four years, discarding it twice entirely before
I was completely satisfied with the compositions and with my performances
of them. I am immensely proud to offer it to anyone who cares to give
it a listen. If you go to Bobs website you can see
all his many fine albums released to date on his Weaseltrap Records
imprint. Music fans into deeply inspiring, acoustic guitar-based New
Age instrumentals are well advised to track down and give a good listen
to the music of Bob Kilgore. www.weaseltrap.com
mwe3.com presents an interview with
Can you tell the readers where youre from originally and where
you live now in South Carolina and what you like best about it?
Bob Kilgore: I was born and raised near Baltimore and moved
to Greenwood, South Carolina in 1999. I came here to get married!
My wife Marf has been the best thing in my life ever since.
mwe3: What is your musical background and when did you start
developing an interest in music? Did you grow up in the 1960s or 70s?
When did you start playing guitar and can you remember your first
guitars and some of the guitarists and other musicians that inspired
you to become a recording artist?
Bob Kilgore: I was the youngest of seven kids and we all played
music. There was always music in our house growing up. My first guitar
was a nylon string, classical style guitar a very cheap one,
Im sure. I was mainly interested in classical music early on,
but at age 13, I went to a concert that forever changed my life. It
was 1974 and I saw the Mahavishnu Orchestra, with John McLaughlin,
Jean-Luc Ponty, Narada Michael Walden, Gayle Moran and Ralph Armstrong.
John McLaughlin was the first and greatest influence on me musically.
Every time you hear me playing alternating odd time signatures, thats
After that first exposure in 74, I listened to every European
fusion band I could find. I was never much interested in pop music.
One of my favorite albums from the 70s was Pekka Pohjolas
Mathematicians Air Display also known as Keesojen Lehto
in Finland, with Pierre Moerlen on drums and Mike Oldfield on guitars
and Sally Oldfield doing vocals.
In the 1980s I discovered the music of Michael Hedges and Steve
Reich who were also great influences on my compositions and in the
case of Michael Hedges, on my playing techniques. Both of these composers
redefined what was possible for me.
mwe3: How many solo albums have you released so far and how
do you feel that your latest release, Time And Again is a progression
in your musical career? Is there a way to chronicle your musical evolution
as a composer and player and how Time And Again represents
your best release yet?
Bob Kilgore: Time and Again is my 5th CD. Ive
never actually analyzed my compositions with an eye for spotting evolution.
I suppose its there, but maybe thats for others to comment
on. Ive always just composed what I felt and recorded it as
faithfully as I knew how.
There has certainly been an evolution in the quality of my recordings,
and in that sense, I think Time and Again is definitely my
best work. I confess to being a bit of an audiophile. It probably
annoys radio producers that I dont use much compression on my
CDs, but radio-ready volume comes at a price, and most of the time,
its just not worth it to me. In todays world of low-fi
music distribution and even lower-fi playback technology, Im
probably wasting my time trying to perfect the audio, but I just cant
Why do you call your new CD Time And Again? Was there a time
when you considered stopping playing the guitar and what brought you
back into recording again? How would you compare your early music
from the late 1980s with the music you recorded when you started recording
again in 2009?
Bob Kilgore: You mustve been reading some old liner notes!
Yeah, I have a history of putting my guitar down for years at a time.
There were some long stretches when I didnt play at all. My
longest down time was between 1991 and 2003. All my recordings
before that were made on analog tape. My brother Bear and I had a
home studio, built around a Tascam 38 and a Tascam 32. Those early
recordings were severely limited by what you could do with those decks,
so "spartan" mixes were a necessity, not a choice.
I started playing again in 2003, but it was a long time after that
before I made any new recordings. I put together a new home studio,
built around an Akai DPS24 Digital Workstation. That machine allowed
me much greater flexibility than I ever had with the Tascam gear.
Although it wasnt analog, it was the best sounding digital recorder
Id ever heard. I used it to remaster all my old analog tapes,
and in 2009, I released two CDs worth of material gleaned from those
early recordings. At the same time, I released a third CD of all new
recordings called, Back In The Day.
Now, getting back to your original question, the opening track
of Back In The Day is called Van Winkles Dream,
which was meant to symbolize my long absence from the recording studio.
If you play that tune and then follow it with the title track from
Time and Again, youll notice that the first dozen notes
of both tunes are the same. Van Winkles Dream wasnt
finished with me. After a few years, it wanted another go, hence the
title Time And Again.
mwe3: Tell us about working with Bear on your albums and what
can you say about Bears 2010 solo album, which was also released
on your Weaseltrap Records label. I know you and Bear are brothers.
Its no wonder theres such a musical telepathy on your
albums with Bear. Also, how long have you been working with Sarah
Dean, who plays cello on your albums?
Bob Kilgore: Bears got a brand new album! We just released
After a Pause on May 1st, 2016. Bear and I definitely think
alike musically, but we could hardly be more different in terms of
how we compose. I am a total hack at composition compared to Bear.
Time and Again took me four years to put together. Four years.
Bear composed and recorded After a Pause in three days. His
previous album, Untroubled was also improvised in the studio
in just a few days. Bear can play anything he can hear, effortlessly.
Yes, I am jealous!
Sarah Dean has been helping us out with cello and violin tracks since
Back in the Day. She is a very popular music teacher here in
Greenwood, and Im very grateful that she has been able to find
the time to join in our fun.
mwe3: Tell us about your Martin D16M guitar that you recorded
Time And Again with. How long have you been playing and recording
with that guitar and what else can you tell us about that guitar?
How does the D16M compare with other Martins as well as other guitars
you have or have played before or after? When it comes to guitars
are you somewhat of a gearhead?
Kilgore: Me, a gearhead? No. Far from it. My D16M is a 1990 model.
Ive played it exclusively on the last two albums. Ive
never owned more than four guitars at a time and Im down to
two at the moment. I know, its a mental deficiency, no doubt,
but there it is.
Ive always liked this D16M because it has a great rich bass
tone while still being very lively for high harmonics. This guitar
tolerates being tuned down to a low A, which I use a lot.
My Martin has held up well for the most part, but during that long
down time episode, the top and back cracked in the case.
C.F. Martin was great about it, though. They repaired the cracks for
free. I had it re-fretted at the same time. I remember the luthier
got annoyed at me for being picky about the action up at the 20th
fret. He said something like, Oh, come on. How much of the
neck do you really use? I usually tell that story just before
performing a tune called Travelers Tale. My response
to the luthier was, I use ALL of it.
mwe3: When did you come up with the idea of the Harmonic Capo?
Bob Kilgore: I invented the Harmonic Capo way back in 1981,
quite by accident. At the time, I was practicing fast flat picking
and not having much luck with it. I was trying to do fast scales high
on the neck, but I kept screwing up and accidentally playing the open
strings. To alleviate that, I stretched a rubber band over the headstock
of the guitar and let it close over the strings right against the
nut. Of course, that didnt make me stop screwing up, but it
did make the mistakes quieter.
So, I was practicing like that for a long time and I got more and
more frustrated. At one point, I was so mad I grabbed the rubber band
and pulled it all the way up the neck and strummed the strings in
disgust. To my surprise, I heard some harmonics ringing out. Completely
by accident, the rubber band was resting over the 12th fret. The two
outer strings were muted by the rubber band, but the four in the center
were ringing as harmonics. An hour later, I had made my first Harmonic
Capo out of two rubber bands and a strip of metal I cut from an old
coffee can. The rest is history.
If you want to know more about the Harmonic Capo, I recommend watching
the tutorial video on the weaseltrap.com
mwe3: You recorded Time And Again with mainly two different
guitar tunings, AADEAE and DADGAD. Is there a way to compare those
two different tunings? It sounds like DADGAD is the more peaceful
of the two? Did you try to expand on the boundaries of guitar compositions
with those tunings and what other tunings do you like to use?
Kilgore: One of the things I learned from Michael Hedges is that
the tuning should be whatever you need it to be to get the sound you
want. Theres no system to it. The tuning changes when I can
no longer reach notes I need. Ive settled into a few comfortable
tunings lately. I never used DADGAD before the Metamorphoses
album, and then I used it on every track. Ive used AADEAE for
a long time and also CGDGDE.
One thing that is common to most of my tunings is that the lowest
string usually goes down to provide contrast to the higher strings
where I use the Harmonic Capo. By only engaging the capo on the higher
strings, it allows some very cool chord pull-offs, where some notes
go down and others go up.
mwe3: Did you use your world famous Harmonic Capo on different
tracks on Time And Again and what tracks of yours offer the
best examples of the Harmonic Capo in action? Do you feature the Harmonic
Capo on your other albums too? What other artists have used the Harmonic
Bob Kilgore: Ive used the Harmonic Capo on all my albums.
Metamorphoses used it on every track. On Time and Again,
I used it on nine tracks. The best examples are probably Once
Upon a Sky and The Tortoise and Achilles.
Ive sold thousands of Harmonic Capos since 2007, some of them
to very famous guitarists. Honestly, Im not sure how many of
them use it in performance. Im sure Vicki Genfan wouldnt
mind me dropping her name here. RafQu is another.
mwe3: I was reading that there was a German guitarist, who
passed away in 2011, named Hans Reichel who also used a type of harmonic
capo around the same time you did. Did you ever meet or speak with
Hans and do you like his music and vice versa?
Bob Kilgore: Oh, yes. I wasnt aware that he had passed
away though. Hans Reichel was a very creative soul indeed. He had
many inventions and unique instrument designs. Apparently, we both
came up with the Harmonic Capo at roughly the same time. I think he
said he had the idea in 1984 or 1985.
When I first learned about Hans Reichel, I contacted him by email
and sent him one of my capos. He was very gracious and assured me
that he had no intention of marketing his design because he had moved
on to other creative projects. I regret that I never met him.
mwe3: What can you tell us about the artwork for the Time
And Again CD cover art. It looks even more metaphysical than your
other CD covers. How much of a role does artwork play in your music.
Either by inspiring you musically or enhancing your music, for example
in album cover art and even video clips which feature your music?
Have you done any soundtracks and is that something youd like
to do in the future?
Bob Kilgore: The cover of Time and Again was created
from a composite of a Hubble Space Telescope photo of a stellar nebula
(V838 Monocerotis) and a photo of a hollow log that I took while hiking
in North Carolina. I was drawn to the way the two images naturally
merged. In a way, I think of my music as something organic, something
firmly rooted in the soil, yet it also reaches to the sky. Looking
back at my earlier album covers, there does seem to be a pattern there.
Ive never pitched my music for soundtracks. Some of the tunes
would make good ones. Tap Jockey comes to mind.
What other musical activities are you planning for 2016 and into the
coming year as far as writing, composing, performing and even creating
new videos or other musical activities?
Bob Kilgore: Right now, Im concentrating on marketing
Time and Again and also Bears new release After a
Pause. I dont perform in public often, but Im sure
Ill be doing some shows later this year.
I definitely need to do some videos of the tunes from Time and
Again, especially Tap Jockey, Stop Motion
and On Point. Those all need to be seen as well as heard.