Jorma Kaukonen Revisits His Folk Roots

Kaukonen performs an acoustic version of "Embryonic Journey," from Jefferson Airplane's Surrealistic Pillow, live from the studios of KZYR in Edwards, Colo.

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Jorma Kaukonen's distinctive guitar playing with Jefferson Airplane personified the psychedelic music of the '60s. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Singer and guitarist Jorma Kaukonen first found fame with a band that exemplified the psychedelic '60s: Jefferson Airplane. His hypnotic guitar licks — which can be heard in the opening strains of Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit" — earned him a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as one of the most distinctive soloists and acoustic players in rock history. Years after living the life of a rock star, Kaukonen is returning to his blues and folk roots on his new album, River of Time.

While Kaukonen became known for his work with Jefferson Airplane, and later with Hot Tuna, he maintains that he's really a folk musician at heart.

"I guess I got seduced by rock 'n' roll for a while," Kaukonen says, "although John Hartford, before he passed away, claimed that the stuff that the Airplane did back then is genuine old-timey music, and he may be right. Maybe it's all folk music.

"I think my first love these days, as it has been most of my life, is wooden music, acoustic guitars," he adds. "If you look at music historically, a lot of things [were] absolutely pop music at the time."

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