Guy Capecelatro III
Guy Capecelatro III Travels Down The Lonesome Highway For His Latest Effort North For The Winter
Capecelatro and His Extended Circle of Musical Friends Produce an Intimate, Cinematic Sound on The Album’s 18 Tracks
Guy Capecelatro III is an enigmatic musician, a prolific singer and songwriter who tends to shun the spotlight, despite his contributions to an ongoing list of bands that includes Unbunny, Two Ton Santa, Beekeeper, and The Buckets. He also has more than a dozen solo efforts to his name, albums that include everything from country to metal, murder ballads to found sound.
Capecelatro traveled through 47 states with his hippie mother before he started grammar school. “When I was six, my mom sent me back to my dad. I had no shoes and flew by myself. My mom asked some women she saw getting on the flight to watch me on the plane.” Later on, he crossed the nation seven times on his own, both in touring bands and as a wandering troubadour. “The places I’ve lived and the people I’ve seen are an intricate piece of the songs I write,” he says.
After his wild childhood, Capecelatro had a relatively normal adolescence. He started playing guitar and writing songs in junior high, but was reluctant to share them, even with friends. “You have to write a lot of derivative songs before you start writing your own,” he explains. Once he found his voice, he never stopped composing – songs, poems, short stories and prose. Over the years he’s been a dishwasher, lifeguard, busboy, dock builder, record reviewer, painter, cook, chimney sweep and mason. Today, he runs a landscaping business, writes books, and hosts a show on WSCA radio, called Writers in the Round. “I bring in writers and musicians and we talk, read from books and play songs, all live. I don’t like to repeat songs, so I’ve played 300 originals in the past five years. It keeps me writing and makes every show fresh.”
The prolific artist is going to put together a group of friends for a springtime tour to take the music of North For The Winter on the road. He’s also putting together a few videos for the album, but is intent on keeping his profile low. “My lack of real desire for success has enabled me to continue to enjoy writing, playing music and collaborating with my friends. I’m as satisfied recording alone in my attic as I am on stage and that’s a great thing.”
Capecelatro currently lives in Portsmouth, NH, a small town with a vibrant music community. “I enlisted 30 musicians for North for the Winter and they all donated their time to help realize the album. There’s a lot of cross-pollinating across a variety of bands and genres here, without the petty competition that tends to drag down a lot of scenes.”
The album was recorded in three days, with musicians flowing in and out of the large gymnasium where it was recorded. “My friend Djim Reynolds worked as a caretaker on the estate of a rich old woman named Louise Doyle in Loeminster, Massachusetts,” Capecelatro explains. “Djim produced albums for Jason Anderson and Tigersaw there. I loved the way they sounded; the ambience of the room became a big part of the recordings.”
Most of North For The Winter was cut live, in three days of marathon sessions, with musicians coming and going. “The basic tracks were done in a whirlwind process that wasn’t as thought out as I’d imagined. We recorded 50 songs in cacophonic chaos, then fleshed out the ones that came out best. Arrangements were done on the fly, everyone contributing to the give and take, no preconceived notions. We gave every song what it seemed to warrant.”
Despite the controlled pandemonium of the sessions, North For The Winter has a cohesive sound, 18 sharp vignettes full of musical and lyrical surprises. Musical saw, singing bowls and bouzouki compliment the usual line-up of guitar, bass and drums for a cinematic take on Americana marked by Capecelatro’s subliminal melodies and erudite lyrics.
The eerie sound of musical saw intensifies the grief of “Like Anything,” a gentle portrait of an imploding relationship. Capecelatro’s whispered vocal conveys a world of pain and resignation with its quiet intensity. “Switch” is the story of a serial killer’s last stand and through the subject matter is grim, the song shines a compassionate light on the life of both the killer and victim. Lap steel and organ add understated drama to a scenario that manages to be strangely uplifting. Churchy organ chords add an ironic solemnity to “Girlfriends,” a love letter to lost love filled with regret and relief. “Joe the Sailor” is a folk ballad sung by a son to his dysfunctional father, a detective that meets an untimely end because of his habit of shaking down hookers. A mournful banjo and hissing brushes on a snare drum set the tone for this tragic tale, a meditation on the weaknesses that are passed down through the generations. The album’s welcoming measured tempo allows North For The Winter to weave a subtle, hypnotic spell that draws you deep into the melancholic worlds Capecelatro creates with his music.
“With a unique sense of songwriting, he utilizes assorted instrumentation, a rotating group of singers, and folk storytelling to create off kilter songs. Citing influences that include authors as well as musicians, Guy views his writing as fiction or stories that ‘end up being bull-dogged into songs.’” – NPR Second Stage