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Personal Playlist: Nick Offerman, a.k.a. Ron Swanson of 'Parks & Recreation'

June 28, 2011 |  7:00 am

Nick Offerman 1

Anyone familiar with actor Nick Offerman outside of his role as Ron Swanson on NBC's "Parks and Recreation' knows there's a thin line separating him from his mustachioed, dry-wit TV persona.The farm-raised, straight-talking Illinois native is always up for a fishing trip, a steak dinner or some sort of harrowing wilderness expedition. So it's no surprise to learn that Offerman spends most of his time listening to music while participating in one of his favorite past times: canoe building.

"When I’m building canoes, I often listen to this Petra Haden record, she’s one of [jazz bassist] Charlie Haden’s daughters," Offerman said. "She’s got a crazy instrument, vocally. She’s got an eight octave range."

He's particularly addicted to Haden's rendition of the Who's entire third album, "The Who Sellout," captured with an eight-track recorder. She uses her voice to imitate all of the instruments and vocals from the original album. "It became sort of a meditation for me," Offerman said. "During these long hours of shaving wood, I would listen to it over and over again."

Of course, there's plenty of room in Offerman's playlist for the salt-of-the-earth rock-n-roll. At given time, he's known to cycle through a melange of Band of Horses, Avett Brothers, Iron and Wine, Bon Iver Sufjan Stevens, Willie Nelson and Neil Young. At the top of his list, the experienced carpenter has carved a thrown for a legendary singer-songwriter as rough and rugged as Ron Swanson himself.

"My number one musician and artistic hero is Tom Waits. His music informs so much of my theatre company’s work in Chicago."

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--Nate Jackson

Photo: Nick Offerman      Credit:  Frederic Offerman

 

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