It’s not unusual to see a star of Hugh Laurie’s caliber on the cover of entertainment magazines. But later this month Laurie's gruffly handsome features will grace a magazine cover of a different sort. To promote his forthcoming blues CD Let Them Talk, he will be the featured artist in the May/June issue of Guitar Aficionado. This is a musician's magazine, catering to those who probably know the difference between a Paul Reed Smith McCarty and a Martin 0-17 (two models of guitars Laurie owns, according to the article).
Immersed in his musical project, Laurie is many miles removed from his Dr. House persona. The most striking evidence of this is a series of photos in which Laurie is decked out in what can only be described as “blues chic.” Clad in a dark blue suit, pork-pie hat, and black leather boots, he holds his Fender FR-50 resonator on his lap like a cherished child. In the three-page interview, Laurie talks about how he came to sign with Warner Brothers Records in the U.K. When he was offered the chance to make this album, he thought it was “now or never,” but made it clear he had no intention of becoming a rock star. The label was receptive to his request and agreed to have him make a jazz and blues record. With Joe Henry, who Laurie calls his “guidance counselor,” doing the production work, Laurie knew he was in good hands.
The article covers a good deal of ground, breezing through Laurie’s comedic and dramatic work. But mainly it is about the making of Let Them Talk and includes Laurie’s priceless anecdotes about working with guest artists Irma Thomas, Sir Tom Jones, and Laurie’s hero, Dr. John. The Dr. John story is especially poignant. If you think big-time celebrities don’t fall prey to idol worship, Laurie’s account of what happened when he met and worked with the New Orleans legend in the studio is a must-read.
Among the other musicians featured in this issue are Keith Richards, Brian Setzer, and Al DiMeola. No lightweights here. Hugh Laurie is certainly in good company.
The May/June issue of Guitar Aficionado will be available on newsstands on April 19th. It is also available to order from the magazine's website. Expect your order to arrive in three weeks. You may also call your order in to 800-825-2234.