Gibson Online, Rick Vito and His Epiphones Grace Bonnie Raitt at Lillith Fair

Gibson Online, August 4, 1998

Rick Vito and his Epiphones grace Bonnie Raitt at Lillith Fair

Rick Vito's bluesy, "American music" guitar style has graced the recorded work of Bob Seger, Roy Orbison, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, John Prine, and Fleetwood Mac. Vito and his silverflake Epiphone Riviera, assorted Epiphones, and arsenal of Gibsons are now on tour with an American music treasure--Bonnie Raitt, on the current leg of the Lillith Fair festival.

"American music means a return to roots consciousness," Vito said. "The kind of music that we created here that influenced the world and influenced all the different trends in music. The trends come and go, but the blues and rockabilly and country remain. People recognize that. People listen to popular music from several years back and say 'that stuff sucks' and 'why did I ever listen to that?' but the roots American music doesn't seem like it's going to go away. It's like a movie holding up after 50 years. It was done right the first time."

Rick Vito has a developed a self-described "original traditional" style simply by staying faithful to his musical roots. "I haven't tried to be a part of any trend," Vito said. "I've always just tried to play with feeling. That feeling, maybe that has personality to it."

"I think these people heard something in my playing that they could lend to their own music," Vito said. "In all of those situations, I was never asked to come in and play a certain way. I just did my thing and it worked within the context of the music that they were writing at that time. But people move on, they want to try different things. That's why I'm not a lifelong member of Bob Seger's band or Bonnie Raitt's band or any of these other people. It's a flavoring."

Vito's "flavors" include his Epiphones: (a Buscuit, Sorrento, an S310), a mid '50s Gibson Les Paul Junior, and a '59 flametop Les Paul. "The Junior is my main slide guitar. It's got P-90 pickups in it which I really like for slide," Vito said, noting that was the guitar used to cut the solo in Bob Seger's "Like A Rock." "On the sunburst Les Paul, the middle pickup position is wired out of phase. It's got that [original Fleetwood Mac guitarist] Peter Green sound.

Look for Vito and Bonnie Raitt later this year opening for Eric Clapton.

Thanks to Ali for posting this to the Ledge and to Anusha for formatting and sending it to us.