In an earlier post, I wrote about Ry Cooder and Nick Lowe’s upcoming European tour, and about the standard of musical excellence maintained over many years by both musicians, as well as their ability to work outside of their comfort zones. I had interviewed and written extensively about Lowe in my music writing days, though I never interviewed or met Cooder. Now comes word from Cooder’s record label, Nonesuch, that he has a collection of fiction, Los Angeles Stories, that will be made available only on the tour. This follows a novella that came with his recent album I, Flathead. Cooder is an embodiment of living in more than one world; as a musician working in many genres, record producer (including the eight million-selling Cuban music album Buena Vista Social Club and the subsequent documentary), soundtrack composer, musicologist and now author. The Nonesuch page links to Ry, Flathead; an extensive, unabridged interview of Cooder by Tony Scherman, in stopsmilingonline.com, the wide-ranging website of Stop Smiling magazine. It’s a fascinating conversation about Cooder’s life and work; especially how Buena Vista Social Club changed his life. One area I found particularly interesting was the crucial role of research in his work as a writer and musician. And be sure to read his comments at the end of the interview about the importance of learning and continually advancing your abilities.

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