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Bob Bradshaw

Singer-Songwriter Q&A

Photo credit: Rafi Sofer

From Bob's new album, 'The Art of Feeling Blue'.

How old were you when you started playing guitar?

14 or so.

What was your first guitar?  Did you buy it yourself?  Do you still have it?

A Karina acoustic guitar, bought it myself for probably $100, incredibly high action, long gone now.

Did your parents or grandparents play any instruments?  If so, what did they play?  Did you ever get a chance to play with them?

My father sang at parties, but neither of them played instruments.

What are the guitars that you play?  Do you have a favorite?  If so, why is it your favorite?

My main gigging guitar is a Gibson J-45, big warm tone. Also a National Steel Tricone, great for fingerpicking.

Bob with his Gibson J-45.

What strings do you use (brands and gauges)?  How often do you change your strings?

D’Addario mediums .013-.056 on the Gibson. D’Addario lights .012-.053 on the National. I change my strings before every show.

Do you use a pick?  If so, what brand and thickness?

Do you use any effect pedals? If so, what are your favorites?

Do you work on your own guitars or do you bring them to a guitar tech? Are there any guitar techs that you would like to recommend?

I bring my guitars to Curt Florczak, Roslindale, MA.

Curt is also a musician.

Do you have a favorite guitar shop?  What makes it a good shop?

Don’t have a favorite shop.

At what age did you start writing songs?

Probably seriously started at 30.

What is your songwriting process?  Is it the music or the lyrics that usually come to you first?  Do you write old school on paper, or electronically?

I’ll start a song anyway I can, usually a riff or a chord sequence, then I’ll sing along and see where it takes me, I use a computer now all the time.

Photo credit: Nate Dow

Who are the top three musicians or bands that have had a major influence on you?

John Hiatt, Nick Lowe and Guy Clark.

If you could jam with one person, living or dead, who would it be?

Bob with Nick Lowe in Iceland.

What are your top three “desert island” albums?

John Hiatt ‘Bring The Family’, Nick Lowe ‘The Impossible Bird’, Guy Clark ‘Old No. 1’

What was the first concert you attended?  What was the last concert you attended?

Van Morrison Ireland 1978, Bruce Springsteen Brooklyn Bowl, April 2023.

The Beatles or the Stones?


Where and when was your first paid gig?  How much did you make?

Mulcahy’s, Mitchelstown, Cork, Ireland sometime in 1981, probably $50.

What has been the highlight of your musical career so far?

Short tour of Ireland with my Boston band in May 2022.

What has been your worst gig so far and why? (You don’t have to name names).

Can’t remember, must have blocked it out.

What are some of the venues you enjoy performing at the most?  What things make the venue enjoyable for the performer (location, equipment, setup, organizers)?

Lizard Lounge, Cambridge. Sally O’Briens, Somerville. Organizers, sound system and audience.

How do you work out your setlist?

Slow build, then take it back down for a little while, then bigger build to finish.

Photo credit: Sarah Sparks

Is there any advice you wish someone had given you when you were first starting out in the music business?

Don’t take it so seriously at the beginning.

Do you have any suggestions for a guitarist or songwriter who might be stuck in a musical rut?

When I get stuck I go on Youtube and learn old blues songs in open tunings.

If you weren’t a singer-songwriter, what would you be doing for work?

Digging ditches.

Please list some of your upcoming shows, plug your music and provide links to your merchandise.

New album, my tenth, is being released on Friday, June 16th. Album release show at the Lizard Lounge, Cambridge on Saturday, June 17th.

From Bob's new album, 'The Art of Feeling Blue'.

More info on my site:

Photo credit: Rafi Sofer

From Bob's new album, 'The Art of Feeling Blue'.

Bob's new album, 'The Art of Feeling Blue' is available June 16th, 2023!

Photo credit: Kelly Burgess


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