Hector Qirko is an anthropology professor at the College of Charleston by day and a skilled guitarist by night. He’s well-versed in the blues, Americana, folk and country rock after many years playing with heavyweights such as Blues Hall of Famer Lonnie Brooks and Americana singer-songwriter R.B. Morris.
Recently, he released a solo album, “Field Notes,” with some of Charleston’s top players, including drummers Jack Burg and Ron Wiltrout, as well as lap steel player Johnny Spell.
Q: Where did you record the latest album?
A: In several different studios, but mostly in Knoxville (Tennessee), where I lived for many years, and here.
I recorded basic vocal/guitar tracks at Hello Telescope downtown and did a lot more recording and editing with Andy Dixon at Ramshackle in West Ashley. ... All told, it took almost two years, and was finished in June. Recording in so many different places slowed things down but made it possible to use all the musicians I wanted.
Q: Do you feel like your sound has evolved since your record “Wherever You Go” was released in 2007?
A: Well, I’ve made a few records, but “Wherever You Go” was my first solo acoustic project. It was just me with Mark Fain on bass — he’s played with everybody, most recently with Ry Cooder and Ricky Skaggs — and David Johnson, a wonderful acoustic multi-instrumentalist. ...
They played quite a bit on this record too, but this time I also played electric guitar and used more and different kinds of players. So although this one is still quite rootsy, that helped me widen the range of styles I explored a bit more, and I think the songwriting reflects that as well.
Q: Is there a recurring theme or style you hope audiences pick up on with “Field Notes?”
A: One thing I wanted was to try to get a good band feel even though the record was made by players and singers coming together in different combinations on different songs — sometimes never even seeing each other. ... I wanted to try to get that creative-band feel by how we recorded, what I chose in editing, etc. The harmonies helped too: Sarah Pirkle and my Lonesome Coyote bandmate Steve Horton, both out of East Tennessee, sang great parts.
Q: What’s your favorite song or moment on the album?
A: I really like the fiddle Roger Bellow plays in a song called “One Cup.” It’s totally deranged and brilliant. I think the song is a bit funny on top but a blues underneath — all my stuff is blues in a way, I guess — and he somehow delivered both things at once. And the ending still makes me laugh.
Q: So what’s next for your music career?
A: I’d like to play around town a bit more. Up to now, it’s mostly been occasional festivals. But I’m also working on the next project, which will be a little different.