Welcome to episode 14 of the podcast, where we welcome a Nashville veteran to the show. Fats Kaplin is his name, and when not performing slight of hand magic, Fats is one of the most in-demand sideguys around. He plays fiddle, mandolin, pedal steel, banjo, harmonica, dobro, guitar, oud, button accordion and I’m sure a bunch of other stuff. And he plays them really well. Fats has been in Music City for a long time, but he grew up in New York and got a gig as a youngster with Roy Bookbinder, a fantastic blues and ragtime player. Fats went on to play for years with Roy, and then the Tom Russel Band, touring the world. He moved to Nashville in the early 90’s and hooked up with Keiran Kane and Kevin Welch to form the Dead Reckoners, who were sort of a collective of great songwriters and instrumentalists.
He’s played with tons of artists, and in the last few years ended up getting a gig in Jack White’s band, with whom he now performs and records regularly. Fats is active around Nashville and plays with his wife Kristi Rose regularly. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Fats quite a bit oiver the last coupe of years and he’s a great improvisor and an incredibly receptive musician to play with. I feel like we’re sort of kindered spirits in our weird esoteric musical tastes and we always have a good time working on music together. Fats and I talked about his whole history with all of those artists, growing up in New York, recording and working in Europe with Tom Russell through to getting the gig in Jack White's band and tells some stories about going on the tour with the male and female versions of Jack's band. Then at the end, Fats brings out the violin and rips up the fiddle as only he can. Enjoy my conversation with Fats Kaplin!