no question that singer/songwriter Tret Fure is a musical legend.
Fure began her musical career when she was 19 and worked for a time as
a vocalist and guitarist for Spencer Davis. Her first (self-titled) solo
album was released in 1973 on MCA Records and shortly thereafter she toured
extensively, opening for such groups as The J. Geils Band, Yes, and Poco
before leaving the mainstram music industry to work as a successful engineer
and producer for Olivia Records. It was there that she engineered, co-produced
and performed on albums for Cris Williamson, Meg Christian and June Millington,
as well as Olivia’s landmark double album, “Meg/Cris at Carnegie
Hall.” Following the release of her second album, “Terminal
Hold” (Olivia), Fure focused on her solo career. With the appearance
of her third album, “Edges of the Heart,” she became firmly
established as a leading pop-rock performer with unusual depth and diversity.
She has recently released her new album, “Anytime, Anywhere.”
Fure took the time to speak with Q-Notes by phone from her home in Madison,
Q-Notes: Tell me about your latest CD, “Anytime, Anywhere.”
Tret Fure: I feel — and many of my listeners feel — it’s
my best CD yet. I always hope to get better with each new work. I think
there’s a more joyful experience evoked in the CD. In my last three
CDs there were darker issues and political issues, but I think this one
is a lot more about joy and positivism.
QN: What’s life for you like in Madison, Wis.?
TF: It’s a great city — the best move I’ve ever made.
Its a lot like coming home — you know — because I was born
in the midwest. Of course by the time I grew up I fled as quickly as I
could to L.A. and then Oregon. I needed a change and I needed to come back
home. When my mother died I felt a tremendous since of loss. I also went
through a relationship and a career change. I think I chose Madison because
it’s the most progressive city in the midwest and it’s right
between where I was living and where my partner lived. We promote concerts
every year and I have a retail store that is on the east side where they
call it “dyke heights.” I love it here.
QN. You were with Cris Williamson, as a musical and life partner, for so
many years. I know the split wasn’t very good. Have the two of you
spoken since then?
TF: Unfortunately, we barely speak. We saw each other for the first time
at the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival and I saw her this past week
in Montreal. I think there is a great sense of loss — not just for
us, but for the fans of our music together. They can’t see the “Cris
and Tret” show again. Hopefully we’ll be able to do something
together again in the future — our voices meshed together beautifully — but
I don’t think the time is quite yet. For all of the sadness that
surrounded our break-up, I think there was a positive side to it, too.
It gave a lot of people hope that you can find happiness no matter where
you are or what age you’re at. We tend to get stuck in our lives.
Women especially. They forget about change and passion and they just stay
because that’s easier than leaving.
QN: Tell me about your partner Jane.
TF: She’s a wondeful human being. She’s been really helpful
in managing my career. When I moved away from Cris I lost my agent that
I’d had for over 20 years — so she stepped in. She’s
wonderful with people. She toured with me for the past four or five years.
Last fall she realized it was time to go back to her career. She was in
hospital administration before and now she’s the director of practice
management at a facility just south of town.
QN: Tell me about your dog, Dulcie.
TF: She fills the role of a young thing to take care of, but having children
is still something very much Jane thinks about. Just having a newborn puppy,
you’re up three or four times a night, so I’m not sure I’m
ready for children. Jane always had dogs around, so when she finally got
off the road with me she had this dog in mind. It’s called a pocket
beagle and they’re very small. Only a couple of breeders in the country.
Much smaller than the American beagle which is actually a cross between
a basset hound and a beagle.
QN: What are your feelings about current world politics?
TF: It scares me to death. Everything that’s happening. The scariest
thing is that people are buying into it. The way [Bush] talks about saving
democracy is absurd. I am really afraid of this sick and imperialistic
trend that’s been developing. People are not fond of Americans right
now because we’re seen as so agressive. I don’t know what’s
gonna happen. Rights are being taken away from us right and left — women,s
rights and gay rights are being threatened. How far can it go?
QN: What will you be performing while you’re in Fayetteville and
TF: My show is a mix of the last three CDs, drawing more heavily on the
new one, with pieces from “My Shoes” and “Back Home.” I’m
a storyteller as well, so I think it’s a good mix of words and music.
I don’t think anyone would be disappointed.
QN: Do many gay men come to your
TF: I do wish I had more of a gay male audience. In addition to the women,
I have a straight following because I’m part of the folk music world.
But I really would encourage the men to come see my shows because I think
they would enjoy the message — it’s pretty universal and one
I think they can appreciate. Gay men have always been an important part
of my life.
QN: What have you not done — that you’d still like to do?
TF: Complete a novel I’m trying to write. I started a few years ago
and I would really like to get it finished. I’d like to have more
time to paint, as well.
Cath Tret Fure live in Fayetteville, Sept. 24 and Asheville, Sept. 25
See the Out & About calendar for more details.