Having a dream is like running with scissors. A young musician is about to let go of his life’s goal so
that he can work a steady job to support his wife and their soon-to-be-born child. It’s a story of
ambition, disappointment, and ultimately a story of hope. One that musician Colin Linden knows
At age 11, Colin was inspired by Bluesman Howlin’ Wolf when he came to play in Toronto, where
Colin grew up. Since that time, it’s been his dream to be a musician. He was lucky enough to get the
emotional support he needed to succeed, first from his mom and later from his wife Janice. In
Salvage, it’s kind of like Destiny’s belief in Harley. As a guitarist, songwriter, record producer, and
music director, Colin has managed to achieve a successful career in the music business and has
realized his dream. He’s worked with T-Bone Burnett, Lucinda Williams, Leon Redbone, The Band,
Bob Dylan and more. He now lives in Nashville but is very much looking forward to the opening of
“Salvage” in Los Angeles on October 9 th . He talked about this local project with Splash:
Ester: How did you become involved with this production of Salvage in Los Angeles?
Colin: Tim Alderson, the writer, had approached my friend Buddy Miller who is a wonderful artist that
Tim has known for a long time. “Salvage” features the music of a great songwriter named Mark Heard
who was a good friend of both Buddy’s and Tim’s. But he wasn’t able to take it on as music director.
I’ve worked very closely with Buddy on a number of things, most extensively on the TV show
“Nashville,” so he asked me if it sounded like something that I’d be interested in doing. I had known
Mark Heard a little bit and loved his music, and I was really delighted to get the call to do it.
Ester: Have you worked with actors in live theater before, and what do you like most about the
Colin: It’s been a long time since I’ve worked with actors in live theater. I’ve worked with actors a lot
in other capacities, like television on the series “Nashville,” and then continued to work with many of
these actors in their careers as musicians. It’s a world that I’m quite familiar with and I’ve been
involved with a number of projects for Film. When I was in my 20s and living in Toronto I had written
some music for theater, but this is kind of a new thing for me.
Ester: Were you able to rehearse in the theater, or did you adjust to working with the cast
through Zoom? What are some advantages and disadvantages of working that way?
Colin: It was great to have a little time to rehearse in person, I was here in Los Angeles with the
actors early on in September. Then, when I see the actors on Zoom we at least keep a little bit of the
chemistry that we had in person. You get used to working remotely just because you’re focused so
hard on the work, and then at some point it’s like it really doesn’t matter what medium you’re working
in because you’re all on the same page. As for advantages vs. disadvantages, I like FaceTime better
than Zoom for audio fidelity, but there are certain subtleties that you can only get when you’re sitting
in a room with someone. I can kind of understand the physical nature of how somebody sings and
plays and I can kind of say hey, you know what, maybe if you played the guitar 20% lighter we’d get a
different tone and your groove would be a little bit different. So, those are the kind of things that are
easier to identify when you’re one on one. But actually, it’s all been pretty seamless.
Ester: As a guitarist, songwriter, music director, and record producer, have you found any one
of those areas to be how you most enjoy expressing yourself? How do you spend most of
your working time in the music business?
Colin: Well, I love it all and I love being able to combine all those things together in any circumstance.
You know for me I love playing the guitar so much, it sort of drives everything for me. That’s ground
zero for me in terms of creativity and joy. Everything else for me started as a function of being able to
do that. I’ve been a full-time professional musician for 45 years and it’s a wonderful journey. Although
I love them all, when I get those projects where I can combine all of those things, that’s the most fun
for me. I’ve been missing being a performer lately but I’ll be starting to do a bit more of that now. My
wife designed my studio on our property in Nashville and it’s enabled me to stay pretty busy during
the pandemic. It’s allowed me to develop a lot of different things. Luckily, there have been a number
of album projects that have come through in the past years where I’m one of the players and primary
writers too. I’ve never been one of those guys who would go on the road for a long time so in the past
few years I’ve been producing albums, including my own and my side project for Blackie and the
Rodeo Kings. That has kept me the busiest lately.
Ester: You just released your new album bLOW. Is it b-low or Blow?
Colin: It’s blow, but this spelling comes from a drawing that that my nephew did when he was a little
kid. He drew an album cover for me even though the song didn’t exist at that time. I’m really delighted
with the way the album has turned out. This is the first album I’ve made which has come out on an
American-based label first, Highway 20 Records. It was released through Thirty Tigers, and that has
been a fantastic experience. Highway 20 is Lucinda Williams’ and Tom Overbys’ record label.
Ester: Do you see Salvage being made into a film? Would that be a project that you would
enjoy working on?
Colin: Oh, yeah. I don’t know what would have to be in place for that to happen, but if it did happen I
would be thrilled. Of course, I’d be honored to work on it.
Ester: Is there anything you’d like to say to the cast and Salvage team for their opening this week?
Colin: Yes. Just put everything you have into this music and remember that the music tells the story.
All you have to do is be honest with that story and you’ll deliver it beautifully.
SALVAGE opens at 8pm on Saturday, October 9th and runs 8pm on Friday and Saturdays, 3pm on Sundays
through November 14, 2021. The Hudson Theatre is located at 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood, 90038,
with ample street parking. No late seating. Everyone must present proof of FULL VACCINATION against
COVID-19 along with a government-issued photo ID in order to attend (this info is not collected). Face masks
are required to be worn indoors at all times. Tickets are $35. Reservations and information
Photos are by Jenny Graham unless otherwise noted.