Pittsburgh Artist of the Week: Alan Getto
Alan Getto is a crafty and creative Pittsburgh songwriter who captures the best of indie folk and Americana in his music. The creative part is obvious when you hear Alan sing and play, but the craftiness may not be immediately apparent until you consider the fact that he built his own guitar! Alan’s new song “Baby, Be My Baby” is carefree and happy-go-lucky because we don’t have to think hard all the time, ya know?
Alan Getto recently spoke with WYEP’s Joey Spehar.
This conversation may be lightly edited for content, clarity, or length.
What’s your musical history up to this point?
I’ve released 3 EPs and 1 LP. I’ve been writing songs since I was 15 but didn’t start pursuing it in any professional capacity until I was 24 when I released an acoustic demo.
I was living in NYC at the time and was gigging a lot all around the city. I moved to Ligonier three years later (when I was 27) and released my LP Versus. I went on two small tours around the East Coast and have been living in Pittsburgh since 2021
How do you describe your sound?
Indie/folk or Americana describe it best, I think.
Tell us more about the song “Baby, Be My Baby.” What inspired you to write it and what does it mean to you?
I wrote the guitar part first. It isn’t that different from a lot of songs in the early Americana/folk canon, like “Freight Train” by Elizabeth Cotten. That chord pattern is used a lot as well as picking the melody on top. But it felt different, and it stuck. I just wanted a carefree, happy-go-lucky song. Don’t have to think all the time, ya know?
You built a guitar from scratch?? That’s an incredible accomplishment and we’d love to hear some more about the process and why you chose to do it?
I did indeed. I started woodworking some in 2020—I had a lot of time on my hands. I chose to do it because I had a great Squier strat from the 90s which had a nice neck but a composite body. I knew that I could get poplar from a local sawmill that would be big enough for a one-piece body.
Once I finished my strat, I made a telecaster (with a “snake head”)—a much, much bigger challenge, making the neck from scratch.
I wanted to do it because I wanted a guitar for me to play as good or as bad as I want! No one can tell me I can’t, because I made it.
What was the first album that really changed your life?
Bob Dylan, Live at the Gaslight, 1962 I highly encourage you all to look it up.
Who are some other Pittsburgh artists you think more people should listen to?
I cannot name one or I’d have to name them all lol. Please, please support local music. Look up venues, look up bands (hey, friends, use hashtags like “pghmusic” or something?). It’s usually like $10 tickets and it’s good for you.
I’ve got friends in all genres and they all rule.
Any other super interesting things we should know about you?
I’m pretty proud of the fact that I work in book publishing. Hit me up on LinkedIn lol.