No matter how far technology advances, there will never be a knob on the sound board for feelings.
That’s how former Jefferson Starship guitarist Craig Chaquico approached his third High Octave album, “A Thousand Pictures,” out Feb. 20.
“The criteria I have, beginning with ‘Acoustic Highway’ (in 1993), is ‘Does it give me goosebumps? Does it make me smile or make me cry?’ I want all those emotions on a record,” Chaquico said recently from his Northern California home.
His first albums – “Acoustic Highway” and the Grammy-nominated “Acoustic Planet” (1994) – are musical postcards, each stamped with intimate melodies. They also solidified Chaquico’s status within the industry: His albums have sold more than 350,000 copies, and he recently tied for second place behind Neil Young as best acoustic pickstyle guitarist in Guitar Player’s 1995 readers’ poll.
For “A Thousand Pictures,” Chaquico wanted to explore human emotions even further. One cut in particular, “Autumn Blue,” hits close to home.
“My dad died last Valentine’s Day,” Chaquico said, “and he and my mom had and still have this timeless love. Anyone who has ever experienced a big loss can relate to this song.
“I played it for my mom and didn’t tell her what it was about and she knew right away. She said, ‘That’s your father.’ ”
Elsewhere, Chaquico focuses on the present and future, namely his wife, Kimberly, and their son, Kyle. On “Kyle’s World,” Chaquico dabbles in the blues.
“It was scary to leave a major band with no job security or something rewarding. It was my day job for 20 years,” he said of his time with Jefferson Starship and Starship. “I could have played it safe and joined another rock band. But I went acoustic … so much of my success is due to my wife. When she got pregnant, the electric guitar wasn’t as welcome in the house with a new child around, so I had to find something quieter.
“When I look back on it, that was a gift. A beautiful gift.”
BWF (before we forget): Saxophonist Richard Elliot performs on the cut “Sweet Talk.” … “Acoustic Highway” was the No. 1 independent/new age album of 1993, according to Billboard. … Check out Chaquico on the Web @ www.higheroctave.com. … The Chaquico album discography – “Acoustic Highway” (1993, Higher Octave); “Acoustic Planet” (1994); “A Thousand Pictures” (1996); “Once In a Blue Universe” (August 1997).