Tal Wilkenfeld On Her New Album And How The Allman Brothers Have Influenced Her

Tal Wilkenfeld’s 10-song vocal album, “Love Remains,” (BMG) which was released just a few weeks ago, has already debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart. Jackson Browne, who contributed as executive producer of the album, said, “I can’t think of another instrumentalist that has ventured into the area that Tal now has, when it comes to writing and singing songs from her own experience.”

The Australian-born, Los Angeles-based musician has an impressive history recording and touring with musical legends like Jeff Beck, Prince, The Allman Bros, Mick Jagger, and Herbie Hancock. Joined by her three-piece band (drummer Tamir Barzilay, guitarist Owen Barry and keyboardist Chris Price), Wilkenfeld will be hitting the road and heading to Boston in June. We caught up recently with Wilkenfeld to discuss her solo project, the Allman Brothers’ influence on the ways she plays music, and her upcoming visit to Boston.

Photo Credit: Travis Shinn

When you came to the United States from Australia at just 16 years of age, you decided to make the switch from playing guitar to bass. Was there a pivotal moment that made you decide to make the switch?

I had been wanting to make a vocal solo album for some time. I was a singer/songwriter when I first picked up the guitar and then became more focused on bass. I got swept into playing high profile gigs and learned so much playing with the legendary people I did, but recognized I had abandoned what I wanted to do. When I was in Australia, I was only allowed to practice guitar for a half hour a day. When I moved to the US, I played six hours a day then I gave myself tendonitis. I had to stop altogether. That’s when I started playing bass with just one hand.

You have already played with an impressive list of musicians from different genres from The Allman Brothers and Prince to Mick Jagger and Herbie Hancock. Who is up next for you?

I am very focused on my solo project right now. I hope to be a longtime recording artist and play with different musicians. I look to someone like Paul Simon as an inspiration. His albums have different themes and different musicians. He’s not afraid to explore different areas.

How were the Allman Brothers able to help influence the way you play music?

They gave me the first stage to stand on. It gave me confidence and reassured what I was doing. They have their own sound and a beautiful way of improvising that doesn’t sound egoic. They don’t have to prove themselves. All of my favorite musicians have let that go from Jerry Garcia to Herbie Hancock. They just let the music flow through them and the result is outstanding.

You’re coming to Boston this summer to play at City Winery. What can fans expect?

I have a really great band and have been playing with some of the musicians for a few years now when I opened for The Who. They are outstanding musicians. We will play songs from the record and will be improvising onstage. It’s really fun. I get to experience delivering a song to people and through our improvisations as musicians, we can let the songs breathe.