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Interview:
America at Andiamo, 3 Things To Know
 

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

» See more SOUND CHECK

They’ve been through the desert on “A Horse With No Name,” driven the “Ventura Highway” and even had some “Muskrat Love” -- and lived to tell about it.

America endures, nearly 50 years after Air Force progeny Gerry Beckley, Dewey Bunnell and the late Dan Peek met in England. The group has released 16 studio albums and scored seven Top 10 singles, mostly during the ’70s. Last year it dug into the vaults for “Heritage: Home Recordings/Demos 1970-1973,” and the duo remains an active touring concern.

Its present is really about its past, of course, but that doesn’t dampen the spirit of America, according to Beckley...

• Beckley, 65, says by phone that he and Bunnell often get fresh perspective on their songs from the players they bring into the band over time. “Sometimes in the band, the guys might be going back and listening to the earlier albums -- something I’m sure neither Dewey or I do at all -- and they’ll say, ‘I was listening to the first album. I didn’t realize you played the bass with a pick on that album, so I’m gonna switch to playing the bass with a pick.’ Sometimes it’s subtle little things like that that surface that we don’t remember.”

• This year marks the 45th anniversary for America’s third album, “Hat Trick,” and its hit single “Muskrat Love,” a Willis Alan Ramsey song that still has a decidedly mixed place in America’s catalog. “We don’t do it on stage,” Bunnell says, “but on occasion when it has surfaced I will say, ‘It’s a polarizing little number...’ (laughs) We’re partially responsible for that; It existed as a fantastic, beautiful, bluesy kind of song by Willis Alan Ramsey and we boiled most of the soul out of it. And then, of course, the final nail was the Captain and Tennille version. But it’s one of those songs that some people will yell, ‘Hey, what happened? You didn’t play it’ and other people will go out of their way to thank you for not playing it.”

• Beckley says that he and Bunnell continue to write new songs but have no plans to record anything at the moment. The duo is starting to focus on its 50th anniversary next year, which Beckley says will include “some box set reissues. I think (the record company) is looking at doing the 30th anniversary box as a 50th with some new additions. It’s all lovely. It’s nothing but pride. Dewey and I are as close as we’ve ever been. The band sounds better and the show is better than it’s ever been. We’re very, very fortunate and we love taking it out and around. It’s a good time for us.”



• If You Go: America performs at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 27, in the Andiamo Celebrity Showroom, 7096 E. 14 Mile Road, Warren. Tickets are $25-$99. Call 586-268-3200 or visit andiamoitalia.com.

Web Site: www.andiamoitalia.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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