DEAD MEN'S HOLLOW
Over the past twelve years the Baltimore /DC area band Dead Men's Hollow has been putting out their own brand of bluegrass/folk. Here's what Caryn Fox (vocals/mandolin) had to say when I touched base with her recently.
Saturday, July 27, 2013
Singer/songwriter Vanessa Lively is quite of a jack of all trades. In addition to releasing a diverse array of CD's, she is an artist (the cover of her latest CD is one of her paintings), has done volunteer work in South America, worked as a migrant farm worker and much more. I recently talked to her about all of this and here is what she had to say.
|MK - Can you give me a
little background on you and your music?
Interview By Geoff Melton
Saturday, December 29, 2012
With the very first song he released, Australia's Thomas Calder (aka The Trouble With Templeton) has become one of my favorites and his aforementioned debut "Bleeders", has shot to the top of my favorite songs of 2011. I've since had the chance to hear a few more of his songs and am eagerly awaiting the release of his upcoming debut CD. I recently had the chance to talk to him about "Bleeders", the upcoming CD and his plans for the new year.
Over the course of fourteen years the Canadian trio The Perms have put out five discs of infectious power pop music. I recently talked to the band about their latest CD Sofia Nights, the impressive European response to their music, their plans for 2012 and more.
MK - How do you think you've managed to stay together for so many years?
The Perms - The response was amazing. It was refreshing to play in front of a new audience. The fans that came out were there to listen. It was a humbling experience. When we playing in Bulgaria it was especially humbling because we were treated with the VIP experience and the fans were so polite and responsive to our music. Were planning to go back in September.
MK - I read that you consider yourself power pop and I would definitely agree with that. I have been a longtime fan of power pop, but to me it's never really gotten it's just due. Do you have any thoughts on why power pop has never been huge?
I recently had the chance to talk to Larissa Chace Smith, one of the two sisters that head up the The Hello Strangers about the band, their transformation from an Austin duo to a Pennsylvania based 5-piece, their recent victory in the Airplay Direct Win An Americana Record Deal, plans for a new disc and more.
MK - Can you give me a band history?
LCS - Brechyn and I started The Hello Strangers in Austin, TX in 2006 as a duo, writing songs similar to the roots rock and country folk material that we heard so much while living down there. My husband, Ryan Smith, and I decided to move back to our hometown of Mercersburg in July 2007. It was a split-second decision made mostly because we were homesick and wanted to see what living back home would be like. Brechyn moved back home a few months later for similar reasons. We are very happy we did. We had wanted a full band since we started the project, so once we were settled at home we began the task of searching for musicians. Dave Holzwarth was an obvious choice since we had played music with him in the past, we knew him from childhood, and he expressed interest in playing with us again. Katie O'Neil (class of 1997) was another easy choice since she and I were old friends and classmates and she was interested in joining the band as drummer. Kevin Shannon, our guitarist was a friend of a friend and was looking to join in on a project like ours. It all fell together quite easily, as if it was kismet.
MK - I read that you don't write songs together. What can you tell me about the songwriting process?
LCS - Perhaps it's not that we don't write songs together, but usually don't start the collaboration process until one of us has started the melody or lyrics. Once we have a foundation, we get together and arrange the rest of the song, adding harmonies and finishing touches.
MK- What's the story behind the EP title "Introducing Max Schmidt"?
LCS - Max Schmidt is lovingly called our "band mascot." He is our accordion, named after the original owner, Max Schmidt from San Francisco, CA. Our bassist bought him at an estate sale when he lived out there in the 80s. He appears on several of our songs and is well-known by our local following.
MK - I read that you have a new disc in the works. What can we expect?
LCS - The new disc includes several years of songwriting that has yet to be showcased aside from at our gigs. We plan to include a variety of Americana gems, from a rowdy number called "What It Takes To Break a Heart" to a Townes-Van-Zandt-esque sentimental tune called "Never Roam Again." The plans are still in the works, and now that we are working with Steve Ivey at IMI Music, much could change over the next year before we plan to release the album.
MK - You recently won the "Airplay Direct Win an Americana Record Deal". Can you tell me a little about that and what that means for the band?
LCS - When we applied for the contest in November, we never expected to hear anything back. Then a few weeks ago we found out that we were in the top 5, and shortly thereafter, that we won! We describe it as winning the contest of a lifetime. How often do you win a contest like this, really? So it is at once surreal, thrilling, exciting, humbling, and a bit frightening. We are going to have the opportunity to work with an amazing team of professionals on a project that we had already begun, the release of our first full-length album. Now we will have access to innumerable resources that we never would have at the grassroots level from which we have been operating for the past 5 years.
MK - You do a lot of interesting covers live. Have you given any thought to recording any of them?
LCS - It has come up with Steve Ivey, but we will most likely focus this first album on our original songwriting.
MK - You released an EP in 2006, but I couldn't find much info on that. What can you tell me about it?
LCS - This was a demo that we recorded with the help of a friend while we were still living in Austin. This was when The Hello Strangers was still just Larissa and Brechyn. We had a small collection of originals that we were eager to record, plus a Ginn Sisters cover. We never intended to sell it, so we simply used it briefly as a demo before releasing our official EP with the full band in 2009.
MK- Is there anything else you would like to share with readers?
LCS - Our songs are a combination of two sisters' real life experiences and imaginations running amuck. What we are most proud of in our music is the stories we tell. We hope everyone enjoys hearing them as much as we enjoy telling them.
Interview By Geoff Melton