"When I started out at 18 or 19, the recording process was fascinating to me. But because of the way things were then, a shy girl could never get access to the actual production method."
Today, Bunyan's using her home computer to perform mirror-perfect duets across the ocean with Banhart and to make her own music without interference. The descendant of John Bunyan ("I was never made to read Pilgrim's Progress when I was young — thank goodness, because I would have rebelled") has even discovered a certain rhythmic and lyrical connection within the writing of her famed family member. She's also made peace with her traveling past: "Back in the time [Loog Oldham and I] were working together, I think we hardly exchanged two words. But now there's so much to talk about, and he's so helpful and wise and just brilliant to remember things with."
The shy country girl of musical myth is a city woman with grown kids now — and all the wiser for it. "I was talking with Jenny Wright about that just today," Bunyan says. "In a small community you can go a certain kind of mad, really — I think human beings need lots and lots of different kinds of people to relate to and communicate with, and they finally find their own way.”
"I did desperately turn my back on the world and go off with a horse and wagon," she says. "But I didn't stay there!" SFBG
Thurs/7, 9 p.m.
Great American Music Hall
859 O'Farrell, SF
$20–$24 ($39.95 with dinner)
For the complete interview with Vashti Bunyan, visit Noise at www.sfbg.com/blogs/music.