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Saddle up and play

By Staff | May 26, 2009

“The best is still to come.” Those are basically the words Joe Pritchard, founder and frontman for The Recipe, left me with after our interview recently. That’s saying a lot for a band that built its strong following in the mid-1990s and has only played once a year in recent years. But as Pritchard says, a lot of exciting things are happening for the band this summer, including a return to one of the festivals it annually headlined back in the day. It’s hard to argue with that.

Graffiti: What’s the band up to right now?

Pritchard: Just recently, over the winter, I’ve run into a fantastic partner who gets The Recipe sound, in Shannon Jones from the Bridgeport/Clarksburg area. You can hear her music if you Google “Shannon Jones” and you go to her Myspace page.

She came to an open mic night at Billy’s in Clarksburg and I listened to her sing and I thought it sounded like hearing a ghost she sounded like Kristen Wolverton, our original duet partner.

(Shannon) came to me first and said, ‘I know you do duets,’ and I said, ‘yea we could.’ She started learning some of The Recipe catalog. The few people that have heard it so far over the winter were kind of getting excited; they knew something was going to happen.

I was sort of angling to slowly get some shows back in there. … I started to get the feeling that it was time to do some new stuff so we started writing some new material together and at first there was some discussion of (making this) a new side project. But as the songs started to come together — I know what The Recipe songs sound like and she does too. She wrote a song called, ‘Momentum,’ that sounds exactly like a Recipe song. So it was nice and then we started booking some shows. 

She’s on board now and for the first time in several years we don’t have a rotating line up. We’re going to have the same lineup.

… But everything sort of snowballed by itself and last week was an outrageous week. On Tuesday I did a full digital licensing deal so now the entire Recipe catalog will be available at iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, just everywhere.

And three days later Tim Walther (with All Good Music Festival) called and was looking to me for the first time in two or three years for the All Good festival, which is something we’ve done before.

… He says, ‘I know you used to co-headline this and I don’t have that type of slot for you but would you be interested in playing this year’ and I said, ‘I don’t know,’ because I didn’t no if everybody would be able and everybody was.

Graffiti: Are you excited to be going back to All Good?

Pritchard: Oh yea. Of course, we did the first six of them then we broke away from them for a few years. We missed one year because it was in the same place as (The Recipe Family) Cookout.

Graffiti: How different will it be going back as someone who used to headline the festival but will now be on a smaller stage?

Pritchard: Back when we were a co-headliner, it was 5,000 or 6,000 people and now there are 17,000. There were no Ben Harpers on the festival, you know. … But music festival audiences are great because they’re there to hear music.

We learned a long time ago not to get mad about time slots because people will find you. We learned that long time ago. You just saddle up and play. You don’t worry about that kind of stuff.

Graffiti: The Recipe looks to be quite busy in West Virginia this summer. Can we call it the Summer of the Recipe? What’s up next?

Pritchard: We’re playing the Fairplain Yacht Club and that will be our first show back with all seven pieces and then we’re doing a Fourth of July show at Nelson’s (Ledges Quarry Park for Gratefulfest) and then All Good and back to Nelson’s for Summer Hookah. Then we have a few shows in Pennsylvania. Aug. 1 we’re doing a thing with DJ Logic at Acme, Pa., at the Funkfest, and an acoustic show with just Shannon and me at the Bluegrass Festival.

What’s really neat is Kristen and I went out and played and got really tight. When you’re adults and not all living in a house in Sunnyside, you can’t have rehearsals all the time, so you have to find players who can play on the fly; and the girl and me have to have it down. So that’s what we’re doing with the acoustic shows, just trying to get tight, so the other players can just play off us.

Graffiti: Are you a little surprised that roots music has become as popular as it is?

Pritchard: If it is, it’s the second crack at it because that’s exactly what was happening around ‘94, ‘95 when we first started.

Jerry (Garcia) passed away then and people went digging for anything and everything that he had something to do with and a lot of those young kids found Old and In The Way, the bluegrass band (Garcia) was in. And so it was going on then, it was becoming very popular at the time.

Then we get in the early 2000s and the youth interest, it feels like they’ve definitely lost interest in it. They were very fixated on going to raves and pre-recorded dance music again. A lot of DJs were suddenly getting work and some were infiltrating the actual scene we were a part of.

I appreciate Dark Star Orchestra (a Grateful Dead tribute band) but I found it disconcerting that a scene founded on what we were doing, that a Grateful Dead tribute band was headlining in it. It showed me the youth’s desire to find new music had waned.

But I think it’s coming back around and I think that’s one of the reasons The Recipe is becoming relevant again.

Contact Justin at jmcintosh@graffitiwv.com