Five Questions With…Vermont sound engineer Dan Richardson, who combines what he loves with the work he does.
Take is always on the lookout for interesting New Englanders. Five Questions With… is a Q&A with the people we’ve found. First up? Brattleboro, Vermont resident Dan Richardson, a locally-renowned sound engineer with 35 years of experience.
We reached him on a private vintage train car somewhere in Texas, where he’s mixing sound for John Doe for Roots On The Rails. “When we get to Houston, he gets off, Jimmie Dale Gilmore gets on, and I’ll do sets with him and Dave Alvin,” Richardson says. “New musicians in New Orleans, and again in Chicago, Kansas City, and Albuquerque. It’s a nice way to spend a couple weeks.
“I’m fortunate to make absolutely no distinction between my work and my life,” Richardson says. “Somewhere along the way, I started collecting the really odd gigs. I like a challenge, and I always want to be doing something different than I did last week. I’ve done sound on boats, parade floats, and a series of moving trains. Northampton’s Young@Heart Chorus has taken me all over the world. My gigs have brought my wife Kate and our two boys to Cape Verde and Berlin. At the same time, I really cherish the local shows: Scud Mountain Boys and King Radio and The Maggies playing to 30 people in the Bay State Hotel, or the up-and-coming scenes at The Root Cellar in Greenfield, or The Stone Church in Brattleboro.”
Take: You’re originally from Milwaukee. When did you know you were a New Englander?
Dan Richardson: I’m under the impression you can’t be a New Englander if your grandparents weren’t from here. Visited 25 years ago, and it’s an obviously great place to live, so we moved.
T: Favorite New England-based artists?
DR: Gah. Kate (my wife) is an artist, as are most of my friends and my clients. I plead the 5th.
T: What’s your favorite bizarre, historical, or quirky piece of New England trivia?
DR: My trivia tends to be neither bizarre or quirky—more stuff people want forgotten. Lord Jeff’s blankets. Vermont’s Abenaki eugenics program.
T: What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen while driving in New England?
DR: Midwesterners trying to drive in Boston. Wait, that’s me!