Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Sculptor, singer, strummer baker?

The many facets of Tony Furtado

Express Staff Writer

Tony Furtado makes his way through town on his Cascades to the Rockies tour this week. Courtesy photo

When Tony Furtado sees it in his head and passes the idea through his heart, the decision of how to interpret that thought runs the gamut from cupcakes to sculpted figurines, guitar slides to guitar styles.

He has trained himself to shift from finger picking a banjo to finger picking his favorite guitar, an old Martin acoustic that he found in Salt Lake City, and has developed a sound that is particular to that technique. His music is likened to that of Ry Cooder, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen and CCR.

Coming to the valley from Portland this week for two performances starting tonight, Feb. 8, Furtado chatted with the IME about his unique worldview and his love of cupcakes.

Idaho Mountain Express: You have an amazing amount of energy—is that all from the cupcakes?

Tony Furtado: One hundred percent Red Velvet power! Uh, no, just always been pretty driven.

IME: Before you began exerting your creativity in music and sculpting, who were you as little Tony Furtado?

TF: I actually started as a little Tony Furtado doing sculpting and music at about 11 years old! Before that, I was always fascinated by music and loved to make things with my hands. I messed around a bit with balsa wood and stretched paper airplanes and plinked around on a toy keyboard. I even remember writing a love song to (Charlie's Angel actress) Kate Jackson when I was 9 years old—something about a "one way relationship"! Ha! I can't believe I remember that!"

IME: You mention on the video how much you love a live crowd, the flirting, the screw-ups, etc. Ever banter something to the crowd that you meant for your band and flirt with the band by accident?

TF: I have some things I could tell you that I just don't think would be appropriate for print! So we will leave it there!

IME: How do I get the laughing, praying, crouching whatever-he's-doing rabbit sculpture?

TF: You email me at and tell me you want one, then send a check, and I send you one! Or, you buy one at a show when I actually have them on tour. They usually sell out pretty early in the tours!

IME: What inspires the sculpting?

TF: What doesn't? I try and let myself be inspired by everything I see. Any direction I want to take a sculpture, I try and let myself just go there. I only wish I had more time to play with clay!

IME: Do songs come from that process and vice versa?

TF: I'm sure music and sculpting feed off of each other in my brain somehow, I just can't say how!

IME: You're a juggler, verbal and otherwise. What's the only thing you slow down for?

TF: Typing! I'm terrible at typing! I cursed the day I realized I had to get a computer to keep up!

IME: It's all about the benes these days and being able to sell yourself in pieces to your fans. Is that ever uncomfortable or is it liberating?

TF: I really don't mind! It's all part of the process of making a living as an artist/musician, and loving what I do! Plus when it comes to selling myself, I want to be in control!

IME: What are you bringing to Idaho?

TF: A full band of some of Portland's finest! Luke Price, fiddle/electric guitar (two-time natal champ and Boise native); Keith Brush, acoustic bass (Stolen Sweets, Blue Cranes) and Russ Kleiner, drums (Curtis Salgado, Scott Pemberton). It's going to be a blast playing with these guys! The new DVD looks and sounds great and it's because of this band!

IME: Two shows, less than 20 miles apart, how do you keep it fresh?

TF: I love doing what I do, and every time I get on stage I get re-energized, refueled! I actually really do live to play live!

IME: How much would that secret cupcake recipe cost me?

TF: Hmmmm, still perfecting it so you might want to wait 'til it's ready!

Two shots at Tony Furtado

Tonight: Wednesday, Feb. 8, at Mahoney's Bar and Grill in Bellevue, 8 p.m. Limited admission, family friendly, $5 tickets by phone to 720-8227 or

Tomorrow: Thursday, Feb. 9, at Whiskey Jacques' in Ketchum, $8 at 10 p.m.

To hear him before: Visit

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