Why country music ?
~ When I was three I saw a woman fronting a country band at our favorite (no longer in existence) barbecue joint. I immediately went home and made a microphone out of tinker toys, pulled out my toy Mickey Mouse guitar, and sang. I was always singing, anyway. Like many kids do, I got more interested in rock when I was 10-13. After that, I started learning more about finger style, and played folk, jazz, country blues, and studied classical. Getting my music degree is what drove me out of jazz & classical. I grew to hate it. I started playing punk, and psychobilly… that’s when I re-discovered country, and it stuck. I never looked back. Country music is my home.
If everything would be possible (waking the dead included) , which two people should sing the ultimate country duet?
~ Willie Nelson and Tommy Duncan.
What song you ever recorded means the most to you and why?
~ Well unfortunately, it’s the song I wrote about my Mom. Losing her was so sudden, and to think I’d written about it only a year before is pretty intense.
Who would you like to write a song for you?
~ Am I too overboard to mention Willie Nelson again?
What is the one thing that readers/fans would be surprised to know about you?
~ I only get one? OK, I have a Paul Simon tattoo. It’s the cover of the Graceland album.
Give us one country song you never want to hear on radio anymore and tell us why.
~ Toby Keith Courtesy of the Red White and Blue. Because it reflects poorly on our country, and it’s a total gimmick. It stands against all the good that Country can stand for.
What is the question interviewers never seem to ask you and…you wish they would? (Please provide your answer as well.)
~ I had to think on this a lot, honestly. The best that I came up with is a variation on your first question… You seem to be heavily influenced by traditional country and western swing. why? Because I love history. I played a lot of country blues for a while, also. I feel more like myself when I’m tapping into and showing reverence for the musicians and the people who came before me. To not look back feels careless, and inattentive to learning what some people already know/knew. I owe a lot to people like the Carter Family, Uncle Dave Macon, Son House, Mississippi John Hurt, Bob Wills, and the people in my life… My Grandparents. I think the best way to move forward is to look back first.
Describe the ultimate recording studio (not the technique but the facilities)
~ Well, it often doesn’t matter to me so long as you’ve got a stellar engineer… but having a good space for recording live is my preference. Shutting people up in little rooms is not my favorite. On this record I was isolated along with our bassist, Glenn Fukunaga, but we were still able to see everyone, and that’s super important to me. I like for things to feel organic, with less overdubs & such. Real time as much as possible.
Johnny or June ?
~ June. She was a rock. A serious, formidable rock that he clung to. That he could not live without.
Are you still nervous before going on stage and if so, do you use any “rituals” to calm you nerves.
~ Oh, for sure. I don’t have any rituals, though. I just get up there, and face it. If you have good musicians backing you up and you know that, then the second everyone comes in, your job is suddenly made SO much easier.
What was the most memorable day in your musical career and tell us why.
~ By far it was hearing from my producer, Steve Fishell. I basically sent him a hail mary fan letter with demos attached to it, asking him to produce this record. He produced the first Country record I ever bought, Radney Foster’s Del Rio, TX 1959. He also produced the Maverick’s first record. I was lucky enough to have met him a few years before I was ready to record this album. So, I emailed him everything, and my Mom and I packed up and headed for a gig in Luckenbach. Literally an hour after I sent the email, I’m on the road and I get a call from a Nashville number. I remember punching my mom in the arm, and showing her the phone number. “It’s HIM!” He wanted to do the record, and we made it happen. My mom was there for it all. She and Steve were fast friends. I’m so happy for everything she was able to be there for. She was my best roadie, and my best friend.