Written by Carson James
Tony Cutino offers a different flavor to roots rock. Instead of merely displaying his country influences, both Cutino’s voice and sometimes his ’70s-leaning pop/rock is reminiscent of glam-era David Bowie. Considering the glut of underground Americana acts today, delivering a slight twist on the genre is always a plus.
Carson James: Every singer/songwriter has their own method of inspiration in crafting their music. What is yours? Does it begin with a specific line popping in your head or a riff?
Tony Cutino: When writing songs, sometimes it’s an experience or event that happens which spark a catchy phrase or an idea for a story line or a hook. Then again, there are times I can be playing my guitar and come up with a musical riff that strikes a nerve and gets things going. But its always those personal moments which happen in our lives that create the best songs.
James: When did you first pick up the guitar? What compelled you to play it? Was there anybody who encouraged you to do so or was it something you did on your own?
Cutino: The first time I picked up a guitar I was about five years old, a plastic guitar with a crank on it that played the Mickey Mouse song. I used to play for my family at holiday gatherings. But seriously, I was about 12 when I got my first electric guitar and amp. I happened to hear some older kids in a band practicing in their garage and I’ve been playing since.
James: Which of the tracks on your album are the most personal to you and in what way?
Cutino: The songs that are the most personal to me are the songs I wrote about experiences in my life. I wrote “Find Your Angel” after turning on the TV one morning and watching the World Trade Center towers fall. “Cowboy Now” is a song about my dad who was a real John Wayne kind of guy, a cowboy at heart. He told me once if he could ever come back as someone else he wanted to be a cowboy. “Big Joe’s Dad’s Guitar” is a song about a dear friend who gave me his dad’s guitar because he couldn’t play it and wanted me to have it. I took the guitar home and this song just poured out.
James: Growing up, what musicians had the biggest impact on you creativity?
Cutino: Musicians and groups that inspired me while I was developing my talent and playing in a band called Toby Redd, were The Who, Zeppelin, The Beatles, U2 and then early English groups like Elvis Costello, The Clash, and The Jam. More recently Keith Urban, Jeffrey Steele, and Dierks Bentley.
James: Do you “read” music? Or are you mostly a player by feel?
Cutino: I can read music but not fluently. In fact, it’s been a while since I’ve done that. It’s mostly what feels right and sounds good to me and how things flow. Sometimes too much correctness can cause distractions.