Jim Campilongo Interview

(Originally aired on February 11, 2010)      

It’s tough to pigeonhole Jim Campilongo. He plays a Tele, attacking pedal-steel and behind-the-nut bends with psychedelic fervor. He’ll pay homage to Roy Buchanan with tone-pot swells, and then dive into a Travis-picking groove, complete with banjo rolls and shimmering harmonics. He is equally at home playing ballads or digging into raging, feedback-spiked solos, and he’s probably the only guitarist to claim both Chet Atkins and The Sex Pistols as primary influences.

Campilongo has recorded eight albums as a bandleader, toured and recorded with Norah Jones in The Little Willies, and played lead guitar in Martha Wainwright’s band. His new album Orange is an audacious mix of styles and sounds that includes snarling Tele instrumentals tracked with his trio, haunting duets and a dark, solo chord-melody treatment of “When You Wish Upon a Star.” Tying it all together is Campilongo’s edgy musicality.

In our exclusive interview, Campilongo explains how Orange differs from his earlier albums and discusses his approach to playing guitar and composing music. We'll accompany the interview segments with selections from Orange.