Showing posts with label Interviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Interviews. Show all posts

Mar 22, 2019

Listen and Learn: Grand Canyon

Photo by Amanda Rowan

Here’s a video from and an interview with a band I think you’ll really dig. Meet Grand Canyon. You’ll hear a lot of familiar influences in this group (Petty, Laurel Canyon, Fleetwood Mac, maybe some Eagles…), but they do it damn well and bring their own energy to the music. It’s slick stuff, but there’s a lived-in beauty to it. The interview is below the video.



What's the story behind your album's title?

“Le Grand Cañon” came from a text conversation I had with Brendan Benson while he was in the final throes of mixing the album. He was asking if we had a name for it, and I threw out some ideas we had been tossing around. He didn’t really react to anything I said, but he said “I think it would be hilarious if you called the record something that’s almost self titled, but not. Like ‘The Grand Canyon’ by Grand Cañon. And spell your name like that. So people always have to write the n like that.” He then followed with “I’m not even high yet”. Ha! About 10 minutes went by and he sent me a mix of what he was working on, followed by a picture. It was a white dry erase board, and written in black marker was:

Grand Canyon 
“Le Grand Cañon”

It just seemed so wrong and so right, so we went with it.

What's the best advice you have ever gotten from another musician?

When I was just starting out, I had the incredible luck of meeting and getting to hang with THE Donald “Duck” Dunn a number of times. If you don’t know him by the name…trust me, you’ve danced to his bass lines. I was in college and had a (terrible) band and we were playing him some of our demos. To play these recordings for a legend like Duck either meant that we had really big balls or were some sort of combination of delusional and was definitely the latter. He couldn’t have been more kind or supportive.  

As we were about to leave his home in South Florida, I asked him if he had any one piece of advice for a young musician or band. He looked me in the eye without skipping a beat and said, “Casey, if it don’t make you wanna dance or don’t make you wanna screw, it ain’t worth a damn.” I thought it was funny at the time, but it’s probably the single greatest truth about music ever.

What's the best advice to give to a musician just starting out?

In this day and age?? Quit.

Favorite (or first) concert you have ever attended?

The first really big concert I ever went to was The Rolling Stones at The Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, FL. This was 1989 on the Steel Wheels tour. I remember my parents joking with their friends about how old the Stones were, and how this could be the last time…LITERALLY!! Mick was a spry 46 years old! 30 years on, and they’re still going. The thing I remember most was Honky Tonk Women and watching this “old” dude sprint around the stage that had these 50 foot tall blow up dolls. Like some sort of rock and roll superhero he's hanging and pulling on the retaining wire to make the girls dance. Incredible.

Another interesting note about this show. Last year, I was doing a search about that tour, and it turns out they released a live album from that tour called Flashpoint. Out of the 14 live songs…3 of them came from November 25th, 1989. Jacksonville!


Did you have a musical mentor? If so, who was it and how did they influence you?

My musical mentor is a producer named Mike Denneen. Mike, who recently passed away, produced three records for my old band The Click Five. Mike was the most important figure in my musical development. I learned more from Mike about songwriting, production, and guitar playing than I did in my years at Berklee. He had a way of getting the most out of a song and keeping things simple. I think the most important thing that he taught me was that putting in the work before the studio was the most important part. Getting the arrangement, tempo, key, and parts down leads to better recording in the studio. Mike, we all miss you buddy.

Where do you draw inspiration from when writing? 

Inspiration for the album "Le Grand Cañon" came from the city that Casey and I call home, Los Angeles. Both of us had recently relocated from the east coast and formed the band shortly after moving to Los Angeles. The city was quite inspiring after spending so much time and one too many winters back east. The iconic fan palms, the Pacific Ocean, the canyons, the seedy nature of Hollywood, and L.A.'s rich musical history were all very moving. 

What's your favorite food on the road?

I'm not sure I have a favorite food on the road. I will say that touring is really just an excuse to eat at great restaurants and sample cuisines from this country and around the world. Whether it's pizza in New York City, BBQ in Texas, ramen in Osaka, or the double cheeseburger at Bud's Cafe and Bar in Sedalia, Colorado, food is the real and arguably best reason to go on tour.

Which song of yours gets the best crowd response?

"Shangri-La La land" is the song that probably gets the best crowd response live. You never know what's going to happen on any given night. Some strange Cajun voodoo spirit seems to invade the body and soul of Casey and he turns into Andy Kaufman's Tony Clifton. He's been known to dance across bar tops, slink across the floor like a snake, maybe break a chair or two, steal margaritas from nice young women and, my personal favorite, be banned permanently from fine establishments. All I'll say is hold on to your drink and enjoy the performance art that's about to ensue. You have been warned.


Grand Canyon - Le Grand Cañon

Los Angeles’ Grand Canyon are one of those rare musical phenoms. Fronted by singer/songwriter/guitarist Casey Shea and vocalist Amy Wilcox, the six-piece seamlessly draw from classic influences like The Byrds, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Warren Zevon, Fleetwood Mac, and catalyze progression as if ‘now’ and ‘then’ exist on parallel planes. The bridge between the two is quality. The songwriting of Shea and guitarist Joe Guese, offered en masse on Grand Canyon semi-self-titled debut (out now on Bodan Kuma Recordings), is timeless and resonant.

The members of Grand Canyon have sold millions of records, toured the world in their own bands and as sidemen, appeared on countless daytime and late night shows, and had songs that set the scene in numerous television shows and movies. They have graced the stage with everyone from indie folk hero Daniel Johnston to Thai pop sensation Palmy to Celine Dion, played in the SNL house band, and recorded with everyone from Rod Stewart to Linda Perry. They have worked in the studio with Mike Deneen, Brendan Benson, Jamie Candiloro, Dave Schiffman, Steve Albini and more.

In an era of computer-made, beat-driven music, Grand Canyon is the antithesis of modern pop music. However, by focusing on musicianship and timeless songwriting, and drawing on the inspiration of the classic sounds and arrangements of the 70s, it is the kind of pop music that will be wafting through the canyons for a long time.

Opener “Lucinda” starts as a bare-bones tune with muffled percussion behind Shea’s vocal. The rest of the band quickly jumps into gear and gives the listener an instant trip back in time to a place where Rickenbacker 12 strings ruled the radio and melody and great songwriting overruled fancy foot pedals and black box keyboards.

“Heaven” is the kind of tune that made those of us who were functioning members of society in the 70’s wantonly spend too much of our income on really good stereos and lots of vinyl. A dark electric piano riff melts into the guitar/bass/drum ingredients to create a beautiful example of song creation. Wilcox’s voice really shines on this one as she mournfully sings of a heaven somewhat lacking while the lead guitar tears up the ambiance behind her. 

Heavier guitar riffs introduce “Made in LA” which is a descriptive travelogue of life and places in the epicenter of all things southern Californian. Both lead vocalists mold a strong chorus which gives us a minds-eye view of the grittier side of paradise.

“Hanger On” kicks back to the keyboard/guitar mix and allows Wilcox to echo the best of Sheryl Crow. Shea also contributes to give later verses a he-said, she-said vocal which adds a bit of drama to a skillfully constructed gem.

Shea has a bit of Tom Petty’s vocal intonation, but “I Don’t Wanna Wait” adds a melodic structure that doubles down on that iconic sound. The male/female vocal is used uniquely here to give a double plot to the lyric. What Shea is singing about and what Wilcox adds sound like the same story told from two very different points of view. 

The group goes off in a completely different direction for “Shangri La-La Land”. This cut sounds like it was recorded by a mariachi band playing a dark and dank joint in El Paso. It sent me way back in time to the years when Gene Pitney was using his unique voice to sing of blasting Liberty Valance and coming a little bit closer. The unexpected addition of a horn solo further enhances the atmosphere.  This one is pure fun and really shines a bright light on the instrumental capabilities present here. 

Darice Bailey’s piano shines on “Theory of Everything” while the twin vocalists exchange verses dealing with characters living in less than great conditions. “I was there when it all began/ Had a beer while I drew up the plans / So you may not be here at all / You may never be here again.” forms the chorus to close out the record on a sorrowful note.

With Le Grand Cañon, Grand Canyon offer an admirable opus chock full of sweaty, romantic epics, complete with visions of late night rendezvous and unbearable yearnings fueled by emphatic chord patterns that drive ‘em like El Caminos down Ventura Boulevard.

Connect with Grand Canyon:

Mar 8, 2019

A Conversation With Andrew Leahey

Photo by Chad Cochran

by Kasey Anderson

“It seemed odd to lose my relationship with a manager and label because I made a rock ‘n’ roll record, but that’s what happened.” Andrew Leahey is stuck in Nashville traffic, talking to me about his new album, Airwaves, the making and release of which brought Leahey to yet another unexpected career crossroads. The good news this time around was, after undergoing a life-threatening brain operation and rebounding to play 180 shows in 2016 in support of his debut album, parting ways with a manager and label was, if not small potatoes, certainly a less dire set of circumstances.

“In Nashville it’s easy to lose perspective. Nashville is the center of the Americana world so when I took this album to my label and my manager, the immediate response was, ‘Well we don’t really know what to do with this,’ which is like, really? It’s not a hard-to-understand kind of music.” In fact, for anyone who grew up during the era when Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers or Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band dominated the charts, Airwaves is a very-easy-to-understand and equally-easy-to-embrace album, full of bright, chiming guitars, swagger, and anthemic choruses. According to Leahey, this was very much by design.

“We started playing ‘Make it Last’ at shows before we had even begun working on the record and it caught on immediately,” Leahey says. “For me - for us - we play a lot so it was important to make a record where any song could kick off a show, or could close a show. Songs that were maybe bigger in scope than the songs on my last record. And as we saw people at shows responding to those songs, it was an indication to me that we were on the right path. I wanted to make a Heartland Rock ‘n’ Roll Thriller,” Leahey’s thought is interrupted by his own laughter, “on a much, much smaller scale, obviously.”

Leahey and his band, The Homestead (and friends, including the 400 Unit’s Sadler Vaden), succeeded there, and Airwaves is indeed loaded front-to-back with songs that recall Petty, Springsteen and T. Rex. “Flyover Country” edges closer to what Americana purists - if there is such a thing - may have expected from Leahey while “Working Ain’t Working” recalls some of David Lowery’s twangier leanings but, by and large, Airwaves is kindred in spirit to the bands now relegated to Classic Rock Radio.

This is not to say Leahey and his band are unwelcome in Americana circles by any stretch of the imagination. Long a fixture at Nashville venues like the Basement and the 5 Spot, and with an ongoing gig in Elizabeth Cook’s band, Leahey continues to run in the same circles he always has, maybe just a little further out towards the fringes. “It’s all the same small pond,” he says, “I guess I’m just one of the weirder-looking fish right now.”

“When I came back from the operation, I really had to start over -- to repay all my dues, with my own songs, working on other people’s records, all of it. I struggled with it but ultimately, I had to rediscover what it all meant because I’d had it taken away from me so -- not that I didn’t appreciate it before the operation -- every opportunity is meaningful to me in a very different way now.”

Perhaps because of that, and likely also because Cook is one of the most dynamic and talented artists to come out of Nashville in the last several years, Leahey isn’t looking to relinquish his role in her band any time soon. “I love playing with Elizabeth, and my hope is I’m able to continue to balance both jobs because that’s a really important gig to me. I guess if there comes a time when I’m unable to carry both workloads, that would be a pretty good problem.”

Beyond Cook’s band, Leahey mentions that in Nashville especially, he’s happy to be known as more than just a singer, songwriter or bandleader. “It’s important to me that people remember I’m a player, too,” he says, “it’s really important to have those two halves come together and make a whole.”

With Airwaves, Leahey has achieved that symmetry. There’s no filler here. Just unabashed, infectious rock ‘n’ roll from an unapologetic Disciple of Petty. But make no mistake, this is not imitation. Following in the footsteps of others without tracing those footsteps is a delicate balance but Leahey and his band pull it off admirably.

Having survived the Nashville traffic snarl, Leahey has arrived home to meet the demands of his cat, and my own dog has grown restless so we agree that this is as good a time as any to cut things off, but before we go I tell him that to my ears, this album is as much a testament to Leahey’s own survival as it is to Petty or Springsteen or Stevie Nicks or anyone else.

“Yeah,” he says. “It took everything I went through to get to this point, to get to this record. Sometimes I wish I’d had some of these realizations when I was 22 but you really don’t know anything at that age beyond hormones and being pissed off at your hometown. I’m glad I’m here. I’m glad I’m here now.”

I tell Leahey he’s not alone. A lot of folks are glad he’s here now, too.


Airwaves is available on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, etc.

Feb 15, 2019

Charles Wesley Godwin: The Farce the Music Interview

By Kevin Broughton

There’s a quiet, humble confidence to Charles Wesley Godwin. It’s like he almost knows he’s made a special record but can’t quite believe it. Maybe it’s because the 26-year-old West Virginian is relatively new to the guitar, let alone using it and his voice to make a living. There’s a determination in him, not just to succeed, but to prove to himself and his state and region that anything is possible. 

Godwin paints a rich and honest portrayal of his homeland and its people with his debut album. Seneca is a moving snapshot of life and well-soiled roots in the Appalachian hills, a backdrop that has given birth to some of the most intelligent and hard-working people in the country.

Godwin’s voice is weighed down by the current condition of the world, but he doesn’t allow the tragedy, pain, or regret sour his view of life. That’s what makes him an exceptional storyteller; he employs his experiences into melodically profound and timeless compositions. “Seneca Creek,” a stunning ballad laced with both melancholy and hope, tells the tale of his grandparents and their courtship in the spring of 1949.

Another essential piece of his story, “Shrinks and Pills” exhibits a dry, sly humor and sees Godwin lament the roar of the open road in his ears and an unquenchable homesickness wedged deep in his bones. He misses the comfort of his homestead, but he wouldn’t have it any other way--heartache be damned. “Hardwood Floors” dazzles in the dim light of a local pub as he shares a tender embrace with his wife amidst the ho-hum of the crowd.

Godwin is quick to credit producer Al Torrence for the album’s balance, flow and continuity. And we’ll step way out on a limb here and suggest there’s collaborative potential that could reach the lofty heights of Jason Isbell and Dave Cobb. This record is that good. 

The artist counts every day as a both a blessing and an opportunity, taking nothing for granted. This is a guy who would succeed in just about anything he attempted, and sees no reason why anybody else wouldn’t. 

Grounded. Humble. Nice. Hopeful. Who wouldn’t want to spend time with Charles Godwin and talk about Big-12 football, Estonia, and Waylon’s drummer? 

How did you and producer/engineer Al Torrence connect? 

When I was playing with my old band, Union Sound Treaty, we made one album and that was comprised of my first batch of songs. Al worked those sessions as an engineer, and we were just really comfortable together. He’s a Berkley School of Music grad, and his knowledge of music is really impressive. We just worked well together. He’s put it all on the line the way I have, and I really like him. 

A lot of these songs are easy to picture in an intimate setting, just you and a guitar, and I imagine that’s how you worked out a lot of them before recording. Some of them, though, like “The Last Bite” and “Sorry For The Wait,” have a really sweeping, big sound. Had you done those with a full band on the road, or were those arrangements put together in the studio?

It was done in the studio. It’s a setup I would love to take on the road, but I wouldn’t be able to do that unless I could pay everybody a living, know what I mean? But if the opportunity ever arises, everything on the album I’ll bring out on the road with me, without a doubt.

“Pour it On” is another one with a big, full feel to it, and “Windmill” of course. You have a pretty good balance of songs here of different arrangements. Was that a purposeful thing when you were picking which 13 songs would go on the album?

Neither he nor I were too concerned about the tempo; we just wanted to pick the songs that were related, sorta, to the theme of the album, which is my home. We wanted to stick to that, but I do think it is pretty well balanced. 

There are a couple things in your bio one doesn’t see every day from a singer-songwriter. You hail from Morgantown, and actually tried to walk on the football team at WVU. What was that like? 

Yeah, I love football and really love playing it, and I had always dreamed about playing football for West Virginia; I wanted just to go out and make a few plays for ‘em, if I could. And it’s something I tried really, really hard to do my first couple years of college. But, you know, I just wasn’t good enough. I didn’t have any delusions going into it and knew I probably wasn’t physically gifted enough to do it…

Were you a defensive back in high school? You look kinda like a safety. 

I was an outside linebacker. I used to work out really hard. It was something that I didn’t have the natural ability for. I hadn’t started playing music yet, but up to that point nothing had come easily for me and I really wanted to try it. 

From Charles Wesley Godwin's Instagram
Well, that’s just kind of a rarity, you know? “Aspiring Big-12 athlete” and “singer songwriter” aren’t terms usually heard in the same sentence; I’m trying to think…I think Ryan Bingham was a rodeo cowboy for a while…

(Laughs) Well, having the phrase “Big 12 athlete” anywhere near my name is probably not correct. I didn’t make the team, but I wanted to try it, and it was the first big dream in my life that didn’t come true. 

And you picked up the guitar in earnest while studying abroad in Estonia of all places. What was your course of study that would send you to the Baltic region? 

Yeah. That was interesting there, because WVU has a really good “study abroad” program, and I got the “Promise” scholarship because I was an in-state kid who had good grades in high school, and it covers your study overseas as well if you’re able to get a plane ticket. I was in the finance program, and there were only a few options where you could get your credits for study abroad. They partner with hundreds of universities, but only four of them had classes that I hadn’t taken yet that would go towards my degree: Hartfordshire, England; Hamburg, Germany; Hong Kong; and Tartu, Estonia. The last one sounded cool to me. 

How long were you there, and it that where you really decided to dive into the music thing? 

I was there six months, and by happenstance I started playing in front of people for the first time there. I played my first gigs there, and yeah, I kinda got spoiled there thinking, “Aw, this will be easy.” But that’s where I really got started, for sure, thinking I could be a musician. And when I graduated college I had it set in my mind that I was gonna keep going with it. 

Charles Wesley (Wikipedia)
There was a pretty famous Methodist composer of hymns named Charles Wesley. Were you named for him? 

Sort of.  My grandfather was a Methodist preacher, Charles Godwin. So, I would say it’s 1A I was named after my granddad and 1B Charles Wesley. But yeah, I come from…well, on the Godwin side of the family we’re all Methodists. My granddad was a preacher, and then I also have an uncle and an aunt who are Methodist ministers. 

I suppose the comparisons you’ve received to Tyler Childers and to a lesser extent Colter Wall are inevitable. Those guys came on the scene over the last couple years with a certain level of instant credibility. What do you think about the comparisons? Do you feel any kind of pressure there, or do you put any on yourself as a result of them? 

I’ve heard some of those same things from people. I don’t put any pressure on myself; it’s certainly a hell of a compliment, to hear anybody say that I would remind them of either of those two. They’re both really good at what they do,  really good songwriters. But yeah, I’ll take that compliment any day of the week. I believe in my work and I’m really proud of this album. If certain people want to categorize it along with those guys, I’m more than okay with that. 

Your portrayal of coal country is certainly authentic and real, but not necessarily as dark as one might expect it to be. Appalachia has gotten its share of rough cultural PR over the years, but there’s an optimistic feel to this record. Were you pushing back a little bit? 

Yeah. Yeah. I always have a tough time articulating this in conversation and I think it always comes out better in song. Home is what we make it, and there are a lot of smart, talented people in West Virginia. With the Internet, anybody can do anything, anywhere. There are a lot of opportunities. 

I remember I was playing a show in Pineville, West Virginia in February of last year. I was sitting at the bar after the show, and this guy came up to me and said, “Man thanks for coming here and playing for us. Not many people come here, and people overlook us.” And I’m thinking Man, I’m not too good to play anywhere. And he was telling me that he works at the pizza shop up the road and that he just drinks after work and there’s nothing to do. All there is to do is drink and get into drugs. And I’m nodding my head, like, yeah, I know it’s rough. And I was staying in Bedford that night, and driving back to the hotel I kinda got mad. 

It was one of those things where after the fact you think about what you should have said. And I got mad, and thought, you know what? That’s bullsh*t. I live out in the middle of nowhere, and I’m just trying to do the best I can. There are all kinds of people around the state, carpenters, whatever, who are just making it happen. And that guy could’ve done it, too. There’s plenty to do around there, if he’d just try. That’s where “Here In Eden” comes from. 

It’s about making the best of where you are. And that’s the way I feel about West Virginia. There’s no reason nowadays that people can’t succeed if they’re willing to work at it. So yeah, I take the optimistic view. It’s not all doom and gloom. It’s not just drugs and opiates. 

The record has already received wide critical acclaim. Do you get the sense that things will change in an appreciable way for you once it’s released? Or that maybe you’re about to become a much more widely known individual? 

I really hope so. I can already tell there’s been a noticeable uptick in the attendance at shows. People can review it all they want, but unless it translates to people buying the music and coming to see me play, it doesn’t mean a whole lot. But it would give me a lot of relief if it were to work out and allow me to do this in a greater capacity, because what I’ve been doing the last couple years has been the definition of “the bottom,” and it’s been a hell of a grind. 

You got a day job?

No. I’m all in on this. 

You’ve already shared bills with some pretty impressive names: Childers, Shooter, Colter Wall, David Allen Coe. Was there a moment as you started doing that more and more that it sort of dawned on you that, “Yeah, this is something I’m really gonna do for a career?”

Um, I don’t think there’s been any show where I’ve opened for anybody that made me more confident that “this is gonna work out.” Every day it’s like a seesaw for me, where I question what it is I’m trying to do for a living. Some parts of the day it’s I got this, and other times it’s WHAT am I doing? I ask myself, “What are the chances you’ll be able to make a middle-class living playing music?” So I wouldn’t say that opening for any of those folks made me think this is gonna work out. I still don’t know if it’s gonna work out. 

I will say that the coolest thing – of all the times I’ve opened for anybody – was after the Shooter Jennings show. He had Waymore’s Outlaws with him that night – some of the tour he takes his dad’s old band out with him. I got to talk to Richie Albright, who was Waylon’s drummer from WAY back in the beginning, when he was in Phoenix. Before he ever went to Nashville. I got to talk to Richie for about 30 minutes. And I was so happy about that. I’ll always have that. If this all goes away and music is something I only do for fun -- and like I said, I think about that every day – if it all goes to hell, I’ll always have the fact that I got to hang out and talk with Richie Albright. I wouldn’t want to offend him by saying “I touched a piece of history,” (laughs) but to get to interact with such an important figure in music history was really special. 


Seneca is available now on Amazon, iTunes, etc.

Jan 15, 2019

"Good Music," McCartney, & Memphis: A Conversation With Liz Brasher

©Rich Good
by Kasey Anderson

We’re just at the beginning of 2019 but Liz Brasher’s debut album, Painted Image (January 18, Fat Possum), is likely to end up on plenty of year-end lists. I’ve known Brasher a while now and so, rather than firing off a bunch of prepared questions, I thought I’d just continue a few of the conversations Liz and I have been having over the course of the last year or so. I’m no stranger to being interviewed myself and as grateful as I know we all are for any attention that comes our way, there are only so many times you can do the Debut Record, This Is Me! Interview before it starts to feel robotic. I wanted to give Liz a break from that and delve into the things that really inform her work, and helped shape Painted Image.

What strikes me immediately about this record is how well it works as a piece, rather than a collection of songs. For some folks, their debut LP is just, “Well, these are the 12 songs I have, let’s make a record!” but - and please correct me if I’m wrong - you seem to be in a constant state of writing so I have to imagine a fair amount of material got left off this record because it didn’t necessarily fit with the way you wanted to introduce yourself as an artist. At what point in the process do you feel like you hit on, “Okay, THIS is what the record is and THESE are the songs that work”?

You're absolutely right. I am in a constant state of writing! I write a song and then move off it so quickly it almost became overwhelming trying to narrow that down to one album, much less my debut! So something close to 100 songs were left off of the record. It was basically a process of listening back and thinking through, "What right now is the best representation of who I am and what in turn make up the strongest songs that I can have on my debut?" I had criteria to meet -- what I wanted my introduction to the world to sound like. I wanted it to have a timeless sound, to be mysterious, powerful, evocative, soulful. So there wasn't a definitive moment but between myself and Scott Bomar (producer), we narrowed them down to what we felt was the best representation of me and my music. 

A hundred songs! Damn. I just started work on my seventh record and I’ve written maybe a hundred usable songs in my entire life. 

Yeah and that number has only doubled since the album was recorded last year! It's both a blessing & a curse, this constant stream.

There is a timelessness to the record, and there’s a purposefulness to the arrangements that really struck me. By that I mean: everything has its place and everything is working in concert to provide a comfortable place for your voice to sit. I think a lot of times, artists can end up treating certain instruments or arrangements like a novelty -- “We’re a rock band but here’s our song WITH A HORN SECTION!” -- and the finished production ends up not being of much service to the song itself. That’s not the case with your record. Because you’re in Memphis, and there are elements of what people associate with Soul Music on this record, I think those comparisons are going to be easy for people to reach for but what I heard almost immediately was a Dap Kings dynamic, where everything has its place and it’s all textural — there aren’t always these dramatic horn lines. Were there reference points you brought into the studio, like, “Okay *this* is what this song needs” or was it more generalized than that? Once you knew what the pieces were, how did you go about fitting them together within the context of an album?

I definitely had reference points I used. The Dap Kings dynamic being a huge one since I'm such a big fan of Amy Winehouse, of course so many tracks from Stax, specifically Otis Redding songs, Etta James's entire Muscle Shoals record Tell Mama.. etc., etc. but I think this is where Memphis comes into play more than anything. Memphis has a history of good horns parts in songs, especially in complementing vocalists, and this is still true today. Scott knew to go to Marc Franklin (trumpet, arranger) for the arrangement of both the strings and the horns. He has a phenomenal ear and added the exact parts that had been missing all along. They really did fall perfectly into place.

Yeah, it’s a really beautifully arranged record and there’s enough space for your voice to really come through. I read an interview with Donald Glover recently where he talked about wanting to make what he called “Everyday Music,” and he cited artists like Stevie Wonder, Badu, Lauryn Hill’s Miseducation record as sort of touchstones for the kind of music that doesn’t require a certain set of circumstances for listening. Like, I love the Pusha T record but it’s not what I’m reaching for on Sunday at 11:30am when I’m doing a crossword. You seem to have a goal similar to Glover’s — songs that fit seamlessly into the listener’s life. Is that fair to say and, if so, do you feel like you got there with this record? What would the next step be from here?

That is fair to say. Man, I love his references for everyday music. I could listen to all 3 of those artists at any given time. I always think of music in terms of either good or bad, but then I sub-categorize that to music for musicians vs. music for everyone. I'm much more interested in making music for everyone and the everyday because I know what that's meant for me. That's why I mentioned the idea of timeless music. It's music that transcends a situation or an era or a theme. It's music for humanity, to be played anytime or anywhere and to always get something new out of it. I hope this record gets there, but I think only time can judge that. 

The next step from here is to keep writing. To collaborate with artists who inspire me, to constantly challenge myself, and to keep making good records that I want to hear, and hopefully the rest of the world will too. 

It seems like people get caught up in the idea that there can’t be harmony between making records that are creatively satisfying and challenging and making records that are accessible when, to me, if you’re doing the former well and you have any regard at all for your audience, you’re going to end up accomplishing the latter. 

At the end of the day we're all human and most likely what's satisfying to me (the artist) is gonna be satisfying to the other humans (the listener).

You spent most of 2018 on tour and played with a pretty eclectic cross-section of artists, from the Zombies to the Psychedelic Furs to Emmylou Harris and your songs never seemed out of place to me, which reinforces my belief that genres in general are an absurd construct. Is that something you give much thought to? 

I give a lot of thought to genres, not because I want to but mainly because the world makes me. By nature it's easier to understand something when you can classify it. This type of plant, that type of animal, this type of wall paint. But what we try to classify by genre is the most intangible 3+ minutes that exist. It's futile to box in something that by definition can't remain in a box. And even if you do place a song or band in a genre, in a few years that genres name will change and evolve. We create songs that obviously have their roots in music we have listened to or the world we've observed, but the act of actually forming the songs comes out of nowhere... like pulling it out of the air. To me it's so belittling to then put them into man made subcategories, which we most of the time don't even agree with! My approach to all of that is to just listen to as much good music as I can. I'm a record collector & when I can't spin records I'm listening to the radio or my phone or i'm at a live show. Good is literally the only boundary I put on what I listen to, which becomes my personal opinion. I'm super studious & sponge-like, so usually once I delve into an artist or album I start to spit out songs that are influenced by them. It's really bizarre & also impossible for me to ever say i'm this or that genre. In short (ha!), YOU'RE RIGHT. GENRES ARE ABSURD

This brings me to something else I’ve noticed about you: there does not seem to be much time during any given day when you’re not listening to, playing, or discussing music. This is not just a “branding” thing or the front-facing stuff we all do to some extent for whatever our “social media audience” might be; that is genuinely who you are. Has it always been that way? Was there a record or were there a few records that moved you from casual or even avid listener to someone who more or less lives and breathes music?

Yeah you just described my day. I was raised around music, so in my home as a child my mom was constantly singing, I was always rehearsing for church solos, and my dad was giving me the good secular jolt of playing the oldies station in the car. He had Elton John and Michael Jackson on the turntable at home. I played and replayed The Beatles night and day. When I discovered them, I couldn't stop. I became the weirdest kid in the neighborhood because my crush was Paul McCartney; pictures of him and the Beatles plastered all over my walls, like a serious first crush! I understood fandom but I didn't want to be a fan I wanted to be up on stage singing WITH him. I had a radio hidden in my closet where I could secretly listen to the top pop songs of the week (secretly because I wasn't allowed to listen to secular music). Once the internet got to my house and I got older I was illegally downloading every song I thought I needed to hear. Boyfriends would make me burned CDs because they knew how much more I'd appreciate that than anything they could buy me. I snuck out of the house to go see live shows many many times. There's never been a barrier to me and music. I think I'm just wired that way, to be constantly searching out and in love with this crazy thing. 

Whenever I talk to you I’m like, “Man, I thought I liked music, maybe I don’t like it at all?” Because it so clearly just consumes you, whereas for me it’s *one thing* I love. We’ve talked a little bit, outside of this interview, about hip-hop and how that has influenced each of us — as you feel and hear yourself growing as a writer or an artist, do you come across things that are outside of whatever genre you know will be ascribed to you and think, “I can use that”? I know this is probably a difficult thing to answer as you’re just releasing your debut record but how would you like to see your work evolve or progress from here?

I've moved through that thought a lot. I've been using drum break samples to write entire songs to, specifically with the thought of wanting to collaborate with the hip-hop world. I write good hooks and I think they could sit well there too. I take everything in to use it eventually. I think i'd like to just see my songs evolve with me, which they're already doing.

I want to go back for a second to the idea of “good music” and what that means to you, both as a listener and as an artist. What’s the litmus test for you? How do you identify a song or a record as “good” or “not good” the first time you hear it and, conversely, when you’re writing, what’s your measure for when a song is “done” and you know it’s as good as, or better than, the songs it’s going to live alongside?

The litmus test is so fluid! I'm obviously not consciously thinking about whether it's a good or bad song when I'm listening to it for the first time so initially it's about a primal feeling of resonating with me. At the core, a good song will inspire. This could be lyrically, rhythmically, in form, instrumentation, ambient sounds, life... it's endless. A bad song usually just pisses me off when I hear it. 

When I'm writing I try to be as decisive & limited as possible. Because options are endless, it's easy to get so hung up over little things. The more natural & without self-editing that my song can flow out of me, the better it will be. I leave overthinking to others because I don't like to do it! But I will spend hours limiting myself to 3 chords on a guitar, or seeing how many times I can phrase lyrics differently within one vocal melody, or playing a bass line over a repetitive groove all day until something clicks and everything starts to line up in my head. I can only do so much fixing - I'm mainly concerned with finishing. You can layer as many parts as you want, bring in as many top notch players, but if it's not a good song at the core it's always just gonna be a mediocre song with good shit on it. The songs will always evolve by the time I'm in the studio, or when other musicians enter the song. Andy Warhol said "Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art." That quote is so great because it's true. Sometimes I just need to get bad songs I'm writing out of the way for the good ones to come. It happens in a pattern of 3 for me.. I write 2 bad ones and then a good one suddenly appears. Although I think it's important to value quality of song over quantity written, it seems logical that the more I write the higher my chance for getting a good song will be.

It also seems like the more you write, that ratio of not-usable-to-usable will shrink. But I absolutely think there’s something to be said for just writing in the moment and going back to edit later instead of trying to dissect every song while you’re in the middle of writing it. I do a lot of editing but I try to make sure the editing process is separate from the initial writing process because they’re two very different things.

You mentioned Memphis and its history and I want to get into that a little bit if we can. Memphis is one of my favorite places to play and one of my favorite places to spend time and while it’s incredibly rich in history and people have an understanding of and respect for that, I think to some degree, especially in the last decade or so, Memphis has lived in the shadow of Nashville. Is that an accurate characterization and are there ways in which that’s beneficial to the music community in Memphis? The talent pool there is still incredible and it seems like the community there is incredibly close-knit (which is not to say that Nashville folks aren’t supportive of each other). Is it a positive thing that Memphis is discussed often as kind of peripheral to Nashville or do you feel like people are missing out because they’re not paying enough attention?

That’s accurate. Memphis has been in the shadow of Nashville. It’s beneficial in that we can keep creating what we want to and not worry about whether it’s mainstream. It makes for a more authentic and less sterile sounding creative breeding ground. It’s also the last real affordable music city in the nation, which is always a plus for artists. Historically people in Memphis have always done whatever they want to & that’s still the case. I think people are missing out on the coolest music scene in the nation, a city of super talented outcasts. 

The Nashville-Memphis dynamic reminds me a bit of Seattle and Portland in the early-to-mid ‘90s. A great thing about those little communities is there’s a lot of support and I think a healthy level of creative competitiveness. 

Who are some folks, in Memphis or otherwise, who are doing work that you’re inspired by? Musicians, writers, anyone whose work you’ve been moved by.

Don Bryant & the Bo Keys, Impala, Jack Oblivian, Jimbo Mathus, Mark Edgar Stuart, Steve Selvidge, Amy Lavere & Will Sexton, The Dirty Streets, Matt Ross-Spang (producer), Jeff Powell (vinyl mastering engineer/cutter), Bruce Watson at Delta Sonic Sound, the Young Avenue Sound guys, in the film world Waheed AlQawasmi & Christian Walker are representing Memphis nationally. So many many more! 

Love Jimbo Mathus! The Jimbo/Eric Ambel team has produced a couple of really excellent records between them. 

So when the record’s out will you do anything to mark the occasion, step back and appreciate what’s happened and what’s coming? I know as well as you that “What comes next?” Is such a strange question to get asked in these situations because the answer is, “Work.” It’s like anything else, you just go back to work but that first full-length is really a big moment and I hope you’re able to appreciate it, even if just for a second.
We're going to do a live taping of the album over at the Ditty TV studios next month. It'll be a lot of fun to play with a big band for that. You got it right, work is next! 


Painted Image is available for pre-order, and out this Friday.

Oct 23, 2018

The Bottle Rockets, Doing Their Steady, Solid Thing with Bit Logic

By Kasey Anderson &
Kevin Broughton

“Under-appreciated” is a tricky label, especially when applied within the context of a discussion about art. If one were to say the Bottle Rockets are an under-appreciated band, the claim would imply the existence of some sort of rock ‘n’ roll meritocracy, and no such thing exists (as evidenced by the popularity of Greta Van Fleet). To label a band as under-appreciated also carries with it the implication that said band is somehow less critically and/or commercially successful than is deserved, and there’s no objective way to measure that; there is no metric for what any given band “deserves” to sell or draw. 

We cannot say, then, that the Bottle Rockets are an under-appreciated band. We can, however, acknowledge that over the course of their 25+ year career, the Bottle Rockets have come to be taken for granted -- a band without which the genre of Americana may not exist, though front man and chief songwriter Brian Henneman would insist (rightfully) the genre has always existed. Henneman was the primary guitarist on Wilco’s AM, an album often cited as essential within the Americana (née Alt.Country, née Country Rock, etc.) canon. Shortly after the release of AM, Henneman and Co. made their own contributions to the canon with the Eric Ambel-produced album The Brooklyn Side and its follow-up, 24 Hours a Day

Every few years, the Bottle Rockets crank out another reminder that they’re one of the most dependably great Americanalt.countryrock outfits of the last three decades and often, Ambel has been on board as producer and auxiliary Rocket. Their new album, Bit Logic, is just such a reminder — by turns acerbic, swaggering, and tender. 

It’s a Bottle Rockets record, after all. Maybe Bit Logic is the record that will find the Bottle Rockets on the podium for next year’s Americana Awards, accepting a trophy they would very richly deserve, if there were such a thing as merit in art. If the AMAs don’t take note, Bottle Rockets fans can take solace in the quality of the work, and in the knowledge that the next album will likely be just as good as Bit Logic; just as good as The Brooklyn Side or 24 Hours a Day. It will be a Bottle Rockets record, after all.

We cornered the laconic Henneman for a few questions about the new record.

How long did you work on this batch of a dozen songs?

Not that long really. They were all written pretty fast, and pretty last minute. It was our most immediate album. We didn't even rehearse them. They were born in the studio, everybody just going off of acoustic demos I made. Just me and a guitar.

I notice Roscoe Ambel, who produced this record, will actually be opening for y'all on some of your upcoming tour dates. How far back does your collaborative history go with him?

We met Eric right after our first album came out in 1993. He first started working with us in 1994. We've worked together off and on ever since. He's good for us. He's "The George Martin Of The Bottle Rockets."

The Bottle Rockets are regularly mentioned in the same breath with the other pioneers -- for lack of a better word -- of alt country, having come of age in the mid 1990s. You yourself were part of the Uncle Tupelo crew, and I think you might have played on an early Wilco album. Do you ever reflect on being part of the foundation of a musical scene? What if anything does it mean to you personally? 

I was the guitarist on Wilco’s A.M. I don't think about this at all, 'cause I'm old enough to know this was not the birth of this kind of scene. It's existed for years. It just gets unearthed with every new batch of writers. Right before this wave we're associated with, there were bands like Rank & File, The Long Ryders, Jason & The Scorchers, etc. You can take it back to CCR if you wanna. Hell, Elvis mighta started it. It's all the same deal: Country/Blues with electric guitars adding up to rock and roll. They didn't really give it its own category name 'til our wave though. But it's been around a long time.

You once described The Bottle Rockets as "reporters from the heartland," and there's a blue-collar, everyman ethos is a trademark of your music. You're kind of a contrarian -- some might say ornery. Then you drop a poignant, tender ballad like "Silver Ring." Tell me about that song's inspiration. 

Our drummer Mark wrote that one. We liked it, so we did it. It's a sentiment I can get behind...

Y'all recorded a live album in Germany several years ago. I've asked other artists about this phenomenon: A lot of roots-type acts from the U.S. find really strong support in Europe. Why do you think that is?

I don't know why, but they have more interest and respect for American roots music. That fact is pretty much what brought us the Stones, and Clapton and whatnot. They seem to have more interest in our musical roots than we have in theirs. Maybe even more than we have in our own. Don't know why. They're just cool like that.

The title cut of the album has an old-man-shaking-fist quality to it; how annoyed are you, really, with modern technology? Show your work.

The album is really more about coming to terms with it, than shaking a fist at it. But if you are old enough, a distaste for it will come through. I'm old enough. I vividly remember when people were smart enough to know how idiotic and dangerous it would be to read and type while driving a car.

Finally, I have to ask about a song from the first BR album I ever bought, "Waitin' on a Train." So gut-wrenching, and it literally has a train wreck quality to it -- I can't not listen all the way through. Where did that song come from?

Bob Parr, the bass player in my old band Chicken Truck wrote that one. You'd have to ask him. Another one we liked, so we did it.


Bit Logic is available on Amazon, Bandcamp, Spotify, etc. 

Aug 10, 2018

Traveling On: A Conversation With Jason Eady

By Kevin Broughton

Jason Eady is a country artist with a bluegrass soul. He cut his teeth with his stepfather in central Mississippi, going to picking parties and bluegrass jams, but his six solo albums to date have all been in a traditional country vein. But on the heels of his critically acclaimed self-titled 2017 record, Eady has gone fully unplugged and put his own unique, rocking stamp on the bluegrass ethos. With help from an A-list duo from the genre, he’s made his best album to date, I Travel On, released today on Old Guitar Records.

It’s a good-time record made by a man at peace with himself and the world. We chatted about being positive while staying authentic, clearing out a Croatian bar in Paris, and jumping out of a perfectly good airplane. And other stuff.

I Travel On is a distinct departure – in several ways -- from your self-titled 2017 album. That one made our top 10, but it was pretty understated and a little somber in places. Musically and thematically this record may be its polar opposite. What were your mindset and/or goals with regard to the musical approach this time?

Well, this record and the last one seem pretty different, but I think of the last record as a bridge to this one. Before the self-titled album, I’d been very electric, with lots of steel guitar – country music. Sonically, they were bigger productions – not huge, though – than the last album. On the last one we kind of pulled it back; it was more of an acoustic album. I Travel On is fully acoustic. So I think there’s a sonic thread running through to it.  And I had been wanting to move that direction.

About three years ago we played a show in Bozeman, Montana. And this room is fantastic; it’s one of those places everyone plays when they go to Montana. But it is small. I don’t know the actual capacity, but I would guess 30-40 people, and it’s wider than it is deep, so there are only about four rows of chairs. And we started bringing in all our gear, but the thought of cramming all those amps in just seemed weird to me. So we grabbed all our acoustic guitars, stripped down the drum kit and played the whole set that way. And it just sounded great. So I went into the last album with that idea, and toured that way as well.

The first thing I noticed on the opening cut, “I Lost My Mind in Carolina,” was that you brought in a stud on acoustic guitar. Got a ringer on Dobro, too. Who are these guys, and what was the recording process like?

Rob Ickes (dobro) and Trey Hensley (guitar) are the two guys. And my favorite thing about this record is that it’s real and organic. Our developed the sound by touring around and playing that way, where everybody did their own natural thing. And we came up with a sound that’s sort of bluegrass on the top end and a real groove on the bottom. While we were driving around the country we listened to these guys – they’re a duo, and they are absolute studs in the bluegrass world; their very first album got nominated for a Grammy in the bluegrass category. They’re just phenomenal.

So as it came time to make this record, I wanted it to be our live band, but I didn’t want there to be overdubs. I wanted the record to sound like we’re all sitting in a room. Our lead player can do all those things, but I didn’t want overdubs. So since we had been listening to them, and I just called Trey and said, “Would you guys want to do this?” He said yes. It came from a very real place; we didn’t just say, “Who are some studio badasses we can call?” We tracked 100 percent live from top to bottom, no overdubs. Our band would work them up the night before, but we had never played them with Rob and Trey before we recorded. Everything you hear on this record is what you would have heard if you had been standing in the room while we recorded.


Yeah, I know!

There’s a real blues/bluegrass feel to the whole thing.

I would never in the world set out and try to make a pure bluegrass record, because I have way too much respect for the genre. To be in that world, you really have to live it your whole life. You can’t dabble in bluegrass. But yeah, it was a conscious thing we were going for; we’re calling it “groove grass.” We wanted to hint at bluegrass, and people will definitely hear that aspect of it, but with pure bluegrass you don’t have drums or a bass guitar. “Groove grass” sums it up, really.

I want to get into several specific songs in a minute, but something stands out on the album as a whole and I’d like to get your take on it. Brent Cobb told me a couple of years ago that it’s possible to write country or roots songs with authenticity and depth without their all being sad and depressing. I think that’s rare, but it certainly holds true for this album of yours – and to a large degree the last one. What do you think of that premise?  You seem to be a pretty happy guy.

I am. And I love Brent, by the way, I think he’s one of the best artists around today. Just incredible. But he’s right. And there’s that temptation when you’re writing songs that you want to be authentic or real; they can turn out depressing. But I wanted this album to feel good. There are some points on the record where if you want to listen to words and dig into meanings – and I worked hard on the words – there’s some depth to latch onto if you want to listen to it that way. But I also wanted this to be a record that you could just put on and play and enjoy.  I get that there’s a need for feel-good music, where you don’t have to just think all the time. There are plenty of examples of people – like John Prine and Paul Simon – who write great songs, but I don’t know what they mean half the time. They just feel really good. Just put it on. Move your feet. Move your head.

But Brent’s right; you have to pull yourself out of that box, because it seems like there are two extremes in country music right now. It’s either said and depressing, or it’s so fluffy, about drinking beer on the river on the weekend.

Speaking of being a “Happy Man,” there’s a song with that very title. Were you making a statement for the record with that one?

I definitely was. I just wanted to get that out there. God forbid if anything happened to me, anyone could listen to that song and know that I’m a happy person and have lived a good life, and these are the reasons why. Because when you boil it down, there’s really only a few things that make you happy: There’s friends, there’s family, there’s doing what you love and the experiences you have. Here, there are two verses with three things each that make me happy. And at the end of it, I couldn’t think of anything else. The simplicity of it was very intentional.

And the origin of it – I don’t want to drag this out but this is a funny story – was overseas last year. We went to Paris, France to play a festival and wound up in a Croatian bar right across from the Notre Dame Cathedral. We could hear music playing inside that was lively, so we went in. This was like a Tuesday night but there was a party going on, so we wandered in. The bartender asks Courtney and me what we were doing there and we told him we were musicians. He asks my name, and dials me up on Spotify, and just started playing my music randomly, however that works.  And it was just like three of my most depressing songs, one after another.


Yeah, man. Cleared out the bar. Everyone went outside to smoke all at once. Killed the whole vibe of the room. I started getting depressed! And I thought, “Good gosh, if I heard this for the first time I’d think this fellow is depressed, too. This guy’s got problems.” So I wanted to get it out there, that it’s not the case. I’ve written plenty of sad songs, but that’s just something I like to do sometimes. And ironically, “Happy Man” is one of the slowest songs on the record.

About the only thing that comes close to a downer on this album is “She Had to Run,” about a woman getting out of a dangerous domestic situation. Is there a story behind that song?

Yeah, I won’t go into the details of it because it’s a very personal song, but one I needed to write. And I knew when I got ready to make this album that this song would be the outlier, but it was too important to me. I had to get that one on there. I just hope that maybe there’s one person who hears it and thinks about getting out of a situation like that.

I won’t pry into specifics, but let me ask: Does the person who inspired it know about the song?

She does. We haven’t talked about it a lot because it’s still too close, too fresh. She got out, but it was frighteningly close. It was so close that the next person who was with that guy didn’t get out.  

“Always a Woman” is intriguing. Tonally, it’s dark and in a minor key – by the way, is there another chord, or just C minor?

That’s it, the whole way through.

Lyrically, it’s kind of an ironic Valentine. “There’s only one thing between the devil and a good man” is really clever, because it can mean two very different things.

Yeah, exactly.

Unpack that song for me.

That’s the first song I wrote for this album, and the only one where I had a title set beforehand. Courtney and I were hanging out with a friend who was having a bad time and she asked what was the matter. He kind of shrugged it off and she said, “Is it a woman?” He said, “It’s always a woman.” I wrote that down, and I sat down with my guitar and just started droning on that C minor chord. And it’s a very specific fingerpicking pattern that never stops for four minutes; if you watch me play it my fingers [on the neck] never move.

And like we were just talking about, I didn’t want to write another sad song. So I had the first verse and thought, “This song has to turn. ‘Always a woman’ doesn’t have to mean good or bad.” So musically we used some dynamics to change things up, and I tried to change that phrase from a positive to a negative as well. And I think the whole theme of the record is finding the positive in things and moving forward. And that’s why we called the album “I Travel On.” It’s about moving forward. A lot of the songs are about physically traveling; this one does it in a mental space.

And the feedback/distortion thing is a nice backbone. Nothing electric there?

No! That’s the dobro player raking across the strings, and the fiddle player doing it in some spots, muting his strings. Everybody thinks there are electric instruments on that song and there aren’t. We had a videographer come in and shoot while we were recording that song; you’ll see it when it comes out.

And I guess you had to include at least a couple waltzes to preserve domestic bliss. I take it that’s your bride singing harmony on “Below The Waterline?”

Ha. Yeah, if you hear harmonies on this album there Courtney’s. I’ve always wanted to write a bluegrass power waltz. I love those, because they make the harmonies just scream. Courtney and I wrote that one together.

I was gonna ask if she got a co-write on that one.

She got two. We wrote that one, and “Now or Never,” the second track on the album.

This is kinda random but the key of C minor on “Always a Woman” made me wonder: Do you have a favorite key, or one that you end up doing the bulk of your songs in?

I write most of my songs in D and I don’t know why. And I had originally written that song in D minor, but when we got into the studio to record we got to that point in the chorus where you go up, and I couldn’t quite hit it. And when we lowered it, it kind of came alive, got darker.

Staying with random: You recently went skydiving with your mom and daughter. What possessed y’all, and would you do it again?

That was all my mom’s idea. She had originally wanted to do that thing in Vegas where you bungee-jump off of a tower on one of the tall buildings. And later we were together at Christmas and she said something about skydiving, and my daughter wanted to do it with her. So I bought it for my daughter, but every time they tried to go the weather was bad, then my daughter went off to college. She was home a few weeks ago and the weather was perfect. And on the drive over I thought, “When am I ever gonna get to do this again? All three generations are here. This is once in a lifetime.”

Tell me about the moment before you went out the door of the airplane.

It’s the most terrifying and exhilarating thing. On the way up it’s in your head what’s gonna happen, but it’s just indescribable, the way you feel standing in that door. If you’re not afraid looking out, you’re not human. There’s nothing about it that’s natural or normal. You have to try and get it out of your head, and trust the person who’s strapped to your back.

That was the worst moment, because we did a high jump. We were at 14,000 feet. I loved it. But there’s really no way in the world to use words to describe what it feels like.

Would you do it again?

You know, when I first did it I said there was no way – I was glad I did it but wouldn’t do it again. But there are times I find myself thinking about it. I don’t think I’d go out of my way to, but if somebody said, “You wanna go do this,” I think I probably would.

Y’all are doing something kinda neat, a sightseeing, musical bus tour of Switzerland with 40 fans. I’m familiar with musical cruises; is this something y’all came up with, or have others done it?

Courtney and I have gone to Switzerland five years in a row, I think. We have a promoter over there and we love it there. And you can drive from one corner of the country to the other in five hours. But we did something like this last year, with Reckless Kelly and toured Ireland. We were their guests And Courtney and I decided we had to do this in Switzerland. So it’s seven nights and five shows, and we’re personally putting it together, where we’re gonna stay and eat and the venues we’ll play. The response has been great. We’re really excited about it.

I Travel On is out today.


Related Posts with Thumbnails