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Interview:
Triumph guitarist still fights the good fight -- but more quietly
 

By GARY GRAFF
of the Oakland Press

» See more SOUND CHECK

His years in the Canadian rock trio Triumph established Rik Emmett as an electric guitar hero. But these days he’s more apt to be found with an acoustic six-string — both on his own and in the duo Strung-Out Troubadours — and receiving honors such as the 2005 Canadian Smooth Jazz Award for Guitarist of the Year.

“I think everybody’s a folkie at heart,” says Emmett, 57. “When I was a kid in high school and playing assemblies and coffee houses and stuff, I was trying my hand at James Taylor tunes and Paul Simon tunes. The rock ‘n’ roll thing was, ‘OK, I’ve got to try to get everybody’s attention now ... ‘

“In truth I think I enjoy the intimacy of an acoustic show a little bit more than electric — not to say I dislike electric, but it’s a little more involved with lugging out equipment and having to wear earplugs, scream at the top of my lungs ... If I’m doing an acoustic show it gives me a little more range to do a lot of the things that come more naturally to me. And I think it’s easier for a crowd of people to embrace a guy who’s doing a singer-songwriter thing as opposed to growing his hair out and putting the spandex back on.”

Emmett is working toward another Strung-Out Troubadours album with partner Dave Dunlop, but he’s also been immersed in some recent Triumph activity, including a pair of reunion shows and an induction into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2008 and a “Greatest Hits Remixed” set that came out in May. But plans for a tour have not come to fruition, and Emmett is happy to go on without that looming as a prospect.

“I think (Triumph shows) would be as much fun as any other kind of a thing,” he explains. “And there are a lot more Triumph fans than there are fans who embrace my independent little folkie thing. I’m not trying to con anybody here; it’s a much smaller and more humble and modest kind of life that I have.

“And I’m not complaining about it at all. Sometimes less is more, and I have a little more freedom now to get to do things now.”



Rik Emmett and Dave Dunlop perform Sunday, Sept. 26, at the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20. Call 248-544-3030 or visit www.themagicbag.com.



Web Site: www.themagicbag.com

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