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© Rahav Segev/ZUMA Press/Corbis
Speaking of tone, the sound of the electric guitars on Set That Baggage down is very classic CSN – the brightness, the jaggedness, a certain sparkiness.
“Well, that’s Shane Fontayne. He’s played for Springsteen, Sting… When I found him, he was playing for a guy who is arguably the best writer in the country, Marc Cohn. We stole Shane – I admit it. I hear what you mean about the sound. The sound is brilliant. Shane has that vibe; he’s a wonderful player.
“But again, it’s not about giving direction – it’s about getting the best guys, the best players. You get guys who are really deep, dyed-in-the-wool music guys. Then you sing them the songs, give them the words, but you don’t tell them what to do. You gotta let them feel what they feel and let them get involved. That’s how you get the best out of them.”
If She Called harkens back to Guinnevere –
“You know, everybody is saying that, and it’s totally different. It’s not in a tuning. The picking is the same, but it’s not even same pattern.
“The way that song happened, I was in a hotel in Belgium. I was looking down below me at this street of bars for tourists. There were these hookers workin’ the bars. They were like these cold, shivering, fox-faced little girls with skinny legs from Central Europe or some horrifying place where their parents got killed. They were trying to get these drunk, stupid guys to do it, and looking at them I just thought, ‘Where do they hide their heart? Where do they put their soul, their spirit and all the important stuff when they’re doing this?’
“That’s such a crappy way to earn a living, you know? Sure, it’s the world’s oldest profession, but it can’t be a good way to be; it’s a terrible path to be on. I’ve never been to a hooker, but I have a good imagination, so when I was thinking of that – ‘Where do they hide their heart?’ – the song just jumped out at me.”