Five Firsts: Steve Gillette of Steve Gillette & Cindy Mangsen

NAME: Steve Gillette
BAND AFFILIATION: Steve Gillette and Cindy Mangsen
INSTRUMENT: Guitar, concertina, banjo, some fiddle on occasion and vocal harmonies

1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … I think for me it might have been the Kingston Trio’s second album, “Live at the Hungry I.”

2. THE FIRST CONCERT THAT I EVER SAW WAS … This is really the dark ages, but Mississippi John Hurt came to my college, Bud & Travis did, too, but I had been to the Ash Grove in Los Angeles to see Flatt & Scruggs before that.

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3. THE FIRST MUSICAL INSTRUMENT I EVER OWNED OR PLAYED WAS … I had some plywood tenor (four string) guitars and a ukulele, but the first GOOD guitar was a 1947 Martin D-18 that my dad bought at a local music store for $50.

4. THE FIRST SONG THAT I EVER PERFORMED IN PUBLIC WAS … I sang for my fourth grade class and played the ukulele that my uncle had given me. The song was “The Peanut Song” – “Peanut sitting on a railroad track, his heart was all a-flutter. Around the bend came the 5:14, toot, toot, peanut butter.”

5. THE FIRST BAND I WAS EVER IN WAS … At UCLA, we had a bluegrass group called the Valley Boys (this was long before we had ever heard about Valley girls). Our material was Greenbriar Boys, Gibson & Camp and the Carter Family. We had a reunion last spring, and we weren’t half bad. We played the UCLA Spring Sing on the stage of the Hollywood Bowl in 1961, and Spike Jones was the emcee.

The folk duo of Steve Gillette and Cindy Mangsen (his wife, as well as his musical partner) help usher in the new year with a concert at Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs on Saturday (January 2).

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