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Listen Up: Musical life of a Gypsy Balladeer

Oct. 6, 2010

Listen to a podcast of Jim’s interview with Spruce Baugher

Download the interview (MP3)

Spruce Baugher describes his lifestyle as a gypsy balladeer in a way that gets right to the point.

“Basically, I’m on wheels when I wake up somewhere.”

His wheels, a treasured and restored ‘60s VW Bus (aka Ruby), has been with him at least since 2002, when Spruce made his journey across the U.S. from Iowa to Hood River. On his way, he made a pit-stop in Colorado, where he happened to camp next to an artist. The artist made a watercolor painting of his rig. That artwork survived all these years and has now become the cover to Spruce’s latest CD release, “Ruby.”

If there was one theme that kept coming up during my interview with Spruce last week, I’d say that the topic of friends kept the number one slot.

Whether it was friends helping him record, friends as inspirations to songs, or friends who have gifted him instruments that he travels with today, Spruce always acknowledged that he’s “had a little help,” so to speak.

And speaking of recording, we need to mention something regarding these 10 new songs found on “Ruby.” First of all, you can definitely hear what Spruce is influenced by — mainly his love of folk and deep country blues. Believe me, when you hear the first harmonica notes, you’ll associate them with Bob Dylan’s style.

And second, even with musical help from all of Spruce’s friends, the CD maintains the solo singer-songwriter vein throughout. This is a collection of three and four chord stories that chronicle much of Spruce’s personal experiences — and living his dream of the gypsy lifestyle.

Spruce will be stopping by The Pines Tasting Room in Hood River on Thursday, Oct. 7, to preview songs from his new album.

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