One thought on “Vladimir Vysotsky

  1. According to Webley himself, Vysotsky has some similarities

    I feel some sort of kindred spirit with the two of them. It is funny, I actually only heard Vysotsky a year ago when I first went to Russia. But when I first started doing this in 1998, all of the time Russian people in Seattle would come up to me and say, ‘my god! You are Vysotsky!’ In the beginning, this comparison came up more often than Tom Waits. I had never heard of him, but eventually I wrote down the name and tried to find some recordings in America. Admittedly I didn’t try too hard, but nothing came up. His name gets transliterated a lot of different ways. (Much like mine does in Russia now, oddly.) Anyway, when I came to Russia last year I inquired about this fellow who was considered a Russian Bob Dylan, a movie actor, sang with a gruff voice and jumped onto tables with his accordion. They were puzzled, but finally a few days before I left, someone said ‘could he mean Vysotsky?!’ I was misinformed. He was a guitarist, not an accordion player. He is amazing. My Russian is horrible, but even I can tell his wordplay is genius. But mostly it is just the raw powerful sound of a single man with an instrument and a voice. He sings roughly, but every syllable is clear and articulate. The music is simple, but full of subtleties. These are all qualities that are important to me and I hope some people find them present in my work.

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