The Hippo


May 25, 2020








Truffle. Courtesy photo.


When: Saturday, Jan. 3, 7 p.m.
Where: Riverwalk Café, 35 Railroad Square, Nashua

New here
Electric Truffle plays Nashua

By Michael Witthaus

Dave Gerard plays solo throughout New Hampshire, but seeing his band usually requires a trip to the Seacoast. That will change when Truffle appears Jan. 3 at Riverwalk Café in Nashua. Gerard hopes the gig is a sign of things to come. 

“It’s so silly, we don’t have a room in that area where we can come every two or three months and have a kickin’ show … we’re hoping this will be it,” he said, adding that it’s the band’s first performance of 2015. “We didn’t play a New Year show, so we thought a ‘new here’ show was a good concept.”
Gerard expects the set will be “anything goes, some new stuff and things from all the albums.” 
Initially named Savoy Truffle after a favorite Beatles song, the band formed nearly three decades ago. Members include David Bailey (bass, vocals), Ned Chase (mandolin, guitar, lap steel & vocals), Mike Gendron (drums) and Pete Kowalski (percussion). They’ve released five albums, the most recent in 2005.
Gerard has three solo discs, with a fourth due in March. Songs from it, like “How’d You Dream Last Night?” and “Magical Day,” are already in the live rotation. Because Gerard wrote everything, his name is on the cover. “Some of the Truffle guys play on it,” he said, “but it’s only a Truffle album if we all write.”
Little Feat keyboard player Bill Payne is a big presence on the record. Payne is a studio ace with one of the longest session resumes in music.  
“He plays on every song, some a little, some a lot,” said Gerard. “The fact that he was in there charting out stuff to my tunes is a little overwhelming.”
At times, it was challenging to avoid getting starstruck. 
“I mean, it’s Bill Payne, it’s pretty ridiculous,” said Gerard. “Obviously, the man doesn’t need to name-drop, but once in the studio he said, ‘I could leave this laid back here to put some slide on top of it, like I did on ‘Like a Rock’ for Bob Seger.’ I’m like, ‘Riiight, you did the piano on that tune.’ It’s amazing.”
Gerard gave Payne free rein to put his stamp on the music. “Whatever you’re feeling, do your thing,” he recalled telling him. “One time, I thought he was going to play exclusively organ and he threw down this Fender Rhodes part that was just so jazzy and cool that changed the vibe of the tune for the better.”
Payne’s contribution was consistent with the collaborative jamming approach Gerard brings to all his efforts. 
“I’m always open,” he said. “I’ve written the tune, raised it — what can everybody else bring to it that they hear that might be different from the obvious?”
In the process, it became a different kind of record for the singer, guitarist and songwriter. 
“Bill played piano on one song and Wurlitzer on another, which was really cool,” Gerard recalled. “I kind of forgot that in general we’ve always been a guitar band, except for the earlier stuff. To hear so much keyboards on all of my tunes … it takes on a whole different flavor and textual being.”
Gerard hopes to wrap up the record in time for a U.S Virgin Islands music cruise in early March. An annual tradition, the tropical tour seemed a good excuse for a hard stop. A CD release show will happen April 8 at the Press Room in Portsmouth.
“I held off as long as I could,” said Gerard. “I wanted it to be organic and natural but then I said, ‘You know what? Barring any snags, that it what I am shooting for.’ At some point it’s nice to have a deadline. It keeps things in line and in budget.” 
As seen in the January 1, 2015 issue of the Hippo.

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