On a wet Saturday in July 2021, a miracle happened. Live music came back to these Isles of Britannia from the good people at Tennessee Fields Festival. It was very nearly touch and go due to the restrictions imposed by this lacklustre government but the organisers held their nerve and gave everyone who attended a magnificent day full of music. On the bill were Gareth Nugent, Lucy Blu, Jake Morrell, Morganway, Jade Helliwell, Essex County, Kezia Gill and the headline act Ward Thomas. The loss of scheduled American acts that were scheduled for one reason or another didn’t detract from the enjoyment and pure unbridled joy that fans experienced for many their first live music in just under two years.
At 11 AM the gates were opened to a very muddy field in Chelmsford, Essex (Well it wouldn’t be a festival in England if it wasn’t wet right?) Rain did its best to put a dampener on festivities but it takes more than H2O to stop this first live music festival from carrying on.
Opening the festival was Gareth Nugent, a regular on the UK country music scene. Gareth’s velvety voice was sensational and such a pleasure to hear. Gareth wasn’t the only artist who couldn’t quite believe that he was actually on stage in front of an live audience. We as fans were also in disbelief in seeing an actual live act playing country-western music. It’s been a difficult time for artists and live music goers alike during this lockdown and to see music again was very emotional.
Next up was Lucy Blu who wowed the audience with a combination of her charisma, stage performance and foot tapping music. You can see the pure joy that Lucy had for being on that stage, a stage that seemed lost to all performers but now belonged to her and her band.
Then we had Jake Morrell ably supported by Poppy Fardell and Tim Prottey-Jones (On drums, what instrument does that musical genius not know how to play?) Having seen Jake support other bands and artists on the London music scene it was great to see him perform as an artist in his own right.
The last band I ever saw live pre-lockdown was Morganway and the first band that I saw post lockdown was Morganway! The universe loves synchronicity and Morganway were without a doubt a highlight of the afternoon. SJ Mortimer brought her A-game with her voice her energy and passion, mix that with Nicole Terry‘s sumptuous fiddle playing, add in a splash of Kieran and Callum Morganway‘s backing vocals and guitar then with Ed Bullinger and Matt Brocklehurst‘s drums and keyboard and you have a killer combination of adrenaline pumping country rock.
Throughout the festival you had the main acts but then also acoustic acts such as machine O’Hagan, Emma and Jolie, The Folly Brothers and the legend that is Tim Prottey-Jones. Jade Halliwell stepped in at the last minute to replace Jessica Lynn who were supposed to play but due to one of the band members having to self isolate she also had to self isolate. This meant that the festival will no longer have any kind of American representation but was an opportunity for English acts to shine in the spotlight.
It was my first time seeing as Essex County, three brothers who moved to Nashville to make a big in the country music scene. The brothers are well known in the States and have a dedicated following and it was Tennessee feels festival that they finally got an opportunity to play before a British audience. The bands legion of female fans made sure that they were heard throughout their performance. Gentle heckling that comes with seeing your favourite music acts on stage.
Then we had Kezia Gill a sensational artist who lifted the spirits and the feet of those in the crowd with her tracks ‘Whiskey Drinkin’ Woman‘, ‘Wings‘, ‘House of Cards‘, ‘The Mess I Made‘ ‘All of Me‘ and ‘Country Song‘.Kezia made special mention of her Friday night club, A online fan club who have been there to support Kezia when she live streamed on Friday nights. Now the fans and cosier could see each other one performing the other listening to the music dies fill their days, nights and headspace. It was also a reminder on how loud live music can be, with the bass thumping, guitars strumming and powerful vocals all making their way through your ears to your heart and your head.
By the time the Ward Thomas took to the stage you completely forgot the past 16 months or so and all the heartache, disappointment and frustration of not having seen your favourite artists in person and in the flesh singing their hearts out. Lizzie and Catherine brought the house down with a mix of singalong songs, pathos induced reflections of the human condition and crowd pleaser lyrics made sure that this night of music would forever live on in the annals of musical history.
So Tennessee fields festival a surreal, time changing, uplifting experience for mind body and soul. Roll on 2022 when we can get to experience it all over again. If this festival is on on your radar then you are missing out on some of the best musical performers artists and bands that are performing music from these fair Isles of Britannia.
Pearl Charles is quite simply a magician who has mastered the dark arts of creating cosmic country music with her album ‘Magic Mirror‘ with stunning songs such as ‘Only For Tonight‘, ‘Imposter‘ and ‘What I Need‘ she has pioneered new territory in combining the worlds of Americana, slide guitar country and western, soft rock disco, piano ballads, pedal steel harpsichord infused Fleetwood Mac, Abba, Toni Brown and Emmylou Harris.
Pearl Charles surrounds herself with cool doodads which give her inspiration and positivity inside her home in the desert. Dancing Queen was the jumping off point for Pearl’s ‘Only For Tonight‘ Andy is an outlier for the rest of the album as the songs that follow on the album don’t continue the Abba-esque music that’s captured by Pearl Charles on this track. We talk about astral projection alternate realities and what it means to be truly you in the universe that is constantly changing.
While Pearl and her band were touring of the ‘Sleepless Dreamer‘ record she was recording and writing the songs for ‘Magic Mirror‘. ‘Sweet Sunshine Wine‘ was released prior to ‘Magic Mirror‘ coming out as a single. The title of the album came to Pearl in a dream and reflected the magic that is Disney’s Snow White. We talk about how the magic mirror showcases the best potential vision of you but also delivers who you are right now at this point of time.
The album is fully biographical and captures Pearl’s hopes dreams and aspirations about relationships from breakup to sharing one’s life with a partner. Growing up Pearl was influenced by her father’s music collection which introduced her to Frank Zappa and Bob Dylan.
As a DJ Pearl likes to mix it up when she is on the dancefloor from disco to country and everything in between. Songs that Pearl has written to change especially if they are continuously on the set list and so they become almost like a alternate brand-new version from the one that was born on the keys of a piano.
Taking the pandemic in stride Pearl has been able to focus on performing with her band in preparation for when she gets to tour in England and Scotland in February 2022. Click below to hear the podcast from CloudwatcherUno featuring Pearl Charles. Also streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Podcast Addict or wherever you listen to your podcasts.
Nick Garza comes from a long line of Texans and it’s this history combined with the music of the great state that influences his lyrics, songs and outlook on life. On this podcast CloudwatcherUno and Nick talk about the stories behind his songs ‘I’ll take another Margarita‘, ‘Muchacha‘ ‘Take me down to San Antonio‘ and ‘Denial‘, We also hear Nick sing acoustic versions of some of the songs and the collaboration process with other artists such as Augie Meyers and Los Texmaniacs.
Nick also answers the life-and-death question of which city has the best tacos is it Austin or San Antonio? We talk about how it sometimes takes weeks and months to finish a song and how he uses a voice recorder memo function on his phone to put down ideas for his music. He currently has 2500 voice memos Which all could turn into fully fledged songs.
Now that the world is slowly opening up Nick is focusing on releasing singles all the rich would complete his first album and then being able to play those songs in front of a live audience. I for one can’t wait to hear new music from the Tex-Mex legend that is Nick Garza.
Click down below to hear the podcast from CloudwatcherUno featuring Nick Garza’s Get Along. Also streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Podcast Addict and many other platforms.
Sam Phelps sits down with host CloudwatcherUno about his new EP ‘Talking to a Friend‘. We talk about sentimentality and nostalgia and how that has influenced his songs, his experiences of playing guitar in different bands and how coronavirus brought those collaborations to an end and began his solo career. Hailing from Kentucky, Sam has been playing guitar since the age of 15 and enjoying the freedom of the country. After living in Austin Texas, an invitation from a friend brought him to New York.
‘If I ever wrote a song like my heroes I feel that I have made it and that’s all I need.‘
Sam’s inspiration for his music comes from bluegrass music, Steve Earle And the music scene in New York. Having a little twang in his voice it makes sense for Sam to sing country western music. Sam wants to make honest country music and will continue to do so even with the pandemic making it hard for artists like himself to perform live for fans. Sam has more songs to release and it is going to be a question of time and opportunity to bring them to a wider audience.
Click below to hear the podcast from CloudwatcherUno featuring Sam Phelps. Also streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Podcast Addict and wherever you listen to your podcasts.
“Jesus, Red Wine and Patsy Cline, Victoria Bailey’s new album is getting 5 star reviews absolutely everywhere. There’s just not a bad song on it.” Bob Harris, Radio 2 – The Country Show with Bob Harris.
Victoria Bailey’s album ‘Jesus, Red Wine & Patsy Cline’ combines the three things that she feels most defines her right now in the middle of a pandemic. Her love for her faith, a good glass of wine and classic country music from her heroes Patsy Cline, Emmylou Harris, Loretta Lynn, and Dolly Parton. The album was produced by Jeremy Long (released in 2020 via Rock Ridge Music). It’s a timeless classic honky tonk album that announces Victoria as the newest generation of artists to carry on the legacy of those legends.
In this podcast CloudwatcherUno sits down with With Victoria Bailey and we talk about putting out new music, releasing a full album in the pandemic and concentrating on live performances. Two new songs will be released in the coming months, one is an original ‘Queen of the Rodeo’ (there’s also a video that was filmed for the song as well as meetingfilming the real life Rodeo Queen of California Morgan Laughlin) and another is a Randy Newman cover ‘Rider in The Rain‘.
LA is not known for country music but it was the birthplace of the Bakersfield Sound that included such artists as Merle Haggard, Dwight Yoakum, Buck Owens and Victoria Bailey has captured that sound in her music and her album. Although Victoria Bailey didn’t grow up with country music, her father’s influence came with rock ‘n’ roll and her mother played folk records but fell in love with country music when she visited Nashville for the first time.
We talk about inspiration for the ‘Ramblin’ Man‘, ‘Skid Row‘, why outlaws are so charming, why Springsteen is really the boss and whether teenage Victoria Bailey thinks adult Victoria Bailey is really cool or not? Why her voice is her first instrument followed closely by her guitar, looking at touring in England and playing live music.
Click below to hear the podcast from CloudwatcherUno featuring Victoria Bailey. Also streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Podcast Addict and wherever you listen to your podcasts.
Willi Carlisle is what the world wants, what the world is waiting for, he is the poet of the Ozark Mountains, the lyricist of Arkansas who has graced us with such songs as ‘Cheap Cocaine’, ‘The Cuckoo’ and ‘Stone County’ all of which you can find in this latest podcast with host CloudwatcherUno. If you were in any doubt to the talent of this folk singer then listen to his EP ‘Too Nice to Mean Much‘ and album ‘To Tell You the Truth‘ it will stir joy and happiness in even the most sceptical mind. There is no doubt that Willi is an artist that he belongs alongside the heroes of yesteryear.
‘THE BEST AMERICANA ARTIST YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF’ ~ THE GUARDIAN
Willi is a musical poet, playwright and songwriter come down from the mountains to bring the music of the heavens to this world. His blend of old time music, banjo plucking, fiddle playing and accordion brings a southern sensibility to tunes that are timeless.
Following in the footsteps of Roscoe Holcomb, Janie Hunter, Ralph Stanley and Glenn Ohrlin. Willi has travelled the country, Canada and the UK to showcase his unique talent. A storyteller at heart he has gathered legion of fans by appearing on the coveted Western AF videos, this video channel has become a focal point for all those listeners who wonder where they can find true folk/country music.
‘THE MAN’S ENERGY IS BLINDSIDING, HIS SONGWRITING IS TERRIFIC, HIS HEART IS BIG ON EVERYONE’ ~ WESTERN AF
In the podcast we learn about Willi’s love for being a Square Dance Caller and an auctioneer and being able to find his voice and express that through his music. We talk about what it means to be singing folk songs at punk venues, protest songs in response to the death of Michael Brown Jr, reinterpreting traditional music for a younger generation and the relationships between rural and urban communities.
Click below to hear the podcast from CloudwatcherUno featuring Willi Carlisle. Also streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Podcast Addict and wherever you listen to your podcasts.
John Smith is a Spotify sensation having amassed over 40 million streams for his songs. On the podcast host CloudwatcherUno spoke with John about his childhood, his musical influences and his sixth album ‘The Fray’ which is released on Friday 26th March 2021 via Thirty Tigers.
Having become a professional musician at the age of 22 and playing pubs and clubs for three years, John started to make a name for himself. He became known for being a virtuoso guitarist, exceptional lyricist and singer with the kind of voice that is dripped in velvet. He crossed paths with Cara Dillon and Lisa Hannigan and started touring all over England, Ireland and Australia as a side man while making his own records. His reputation as a session musician grew as he played for Lee Ann Rhimes, Roseanne Cash, Joan Baez and Tom Jones.
Starting off playing with the piano, then drums John settled for the guitar as his instrument of choice and has been playing this iconic instrument and has been a good friend to him for the last 27 years. Growing up John spent his time day dreaming at school, getting terrible grades and generally hating the experience until he went to University to study music and then out into the real world where he could do whatever he wanted.
John is a man on a mission to save your ears from the tedium that passes for music out there on the internet. His sixth album was written as a response to the cards that life had dealt him at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. Having had his remaining gigs in Australia cancelled followed by distressing family heartache there didn’t seem much hope of retrieving his life as a touring musician.
John had one remaining card to play and in September 2020 he went back into the studio to begin work on his new album. With the help of long time friend and producer Sam Lakeman life was breathed into songs that began life on paper. The album is a testimony to the craft of song writing, arrangements and production that has been John’s signature sound.
Smith reached out to fellow musicians across the world to record remotely or virtually onto the album – Jessica Staveley-Taylor of The Staves, Sarah Jarosz, Courtney Hartman, The Milk Carton Kids, and Bill Frisell from the Americas and Smith’s frequent touring partner Lisa Hannigan via a virtual studio session in Dublin and others added their magic to the album.
‘The Fray’ is a truly phenomenal album, that shows what it’s like to be vulnerable, to hold onto the dream of love when the reality and hard times has driven that to collapse.
John’s voice is the key to this album it takes your hand and carries you into a world that reflects the trails and tribulations of living life in the 21st century. ‘Friends’ is a love story to the bonds of friendships and all those souls who have come and gone and still mean that much in our lives. It showcases exquisite lyrics delivered by a voice from the gods. ‘Hold On’ is a beacon to us all that better times are coming and that we shouldn’t give up but find the will within ourselves to carry on living. ‘Eye To Eye’ is a plea to make things work out and making things right between lovers when all that remains is silence. ‘Deserving’ is the most honest song about love, heartbreak and wanting to be deserving of being in a relationship with another human being.
Update: On 28th March 2021 John played a show for fans to celebrate the release of the album. It was streamed live around the world by Mandolin as John performs from the legendary Yellow Arch Studios in Sheffield.
Click below to hear the Artist Showcase podcast from CloudwatcherUno featuring John Smith. Also streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Podcast Addict and wherever you listen to your podcasts.
Matthew Fowler’s first album ‘Beginning’ was released when he just turned 19 and he hasn’t looked back since. That’s the record that made his name in music. In this podcast host CloudwatcherUno sits down with Matthew to talk about his journey not only as a musician but as a documentarian, his love for all things Japanese including Godzilla and Akira, why modern movie trailers ruin the movie going experience, Star Wars and his love of Glen Hansard’s music. We get to listen to ‘Blankets’ and ‘Beginners’ from that first album. His next album will be released by Signature Sounds in Massachusetts later this year.
Matthew started his life as a touring musician with fellow singer and friend Reggie Williams and got see the great American landscape. He’s also collaborated with The Prado Sisters on his first album ‘Beginning’ and have played woodwind instruments on the the upcoming second album. Another passion of Matthew’s is being as a videographer/documentarian and it’s his favourite way to travel filming bands such as ‘Just Neighbors’ on tour in Japan.
“PLAYING MUSIC LIVE IS A VERY FULFILLING EXPERIENCE”
Matthew’s music is authentic and you get an immediate reaction that connects you as an audience to something that’s real and fills your head with the music that dreams are made of. It’s like having your life put to music and the soundtrack is one that other travellers can enjoy. Matthew follows in the footsteps of Ryan Adams, Damien Rice, Ray LaMontagne and especially Glen Hansard.
Glen’s music has been such an influence on Matthew and how you can be a vulnerable artist working in the top tiers of music but still remain a normal human being who you could drink and hang out with. Having met Glen quite by accident when going to one of his gigs, Matthew is determined that one day he will collaborate or tour with his idol.
Music is a language that is spoken all over the world and Matthew can speak it fluently. For the future Matthew is excited for the world to open up again so that he can start touring and promoting his sophomore album when it is released.
Click below to hear the podcast from CloudwatcherUno featuring Matthew Fowler. Also streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Podcast Addict and wherever you listen to your podcasts
Darling West are the cosmic folk duo hailing from the land of Norway who have released Spelleman-winning (Norwegian Grammy) album ‘Vinyl and a Heartache’ and such hits as ‘Rolling On’, ‘Traveller’ and ‘The Sweetest Tune’. Host CloudwatcherUno sits down with artists Mari and Tor Egil Kreken to talk about their music, gorgeous lyrics and phenomenal harmonies and melodies. In the podcast Darling West perform live acoustic versions of ‘Rolling On’ and ‘Loneliness’ and there’s also the album version of ‘The Sweetest Tune’ that starts the show.
Darling West started life as folk trio with very dramatic thoughts on how they would be a band and ended up more into cosmic folk territory with electric guitars, drums and the banjo. Tor plays claw hammer style banjo like his Appalachian heroes of the US. Darling West’s sound started out as an interest in old fiddle tune time songs with mountain folk vibe similar to the music from the film ‘O Brother Where Art Thou?’ It was a jumping off point for the band to start their exploration of building and writing their songs.
The last EP ‘Interpretations’ explores their love of pop tunes through a country landscape. The music on the EP brings them joy and that translates to the listener when they hear the tracks ‘Don’t Start Now’, ‘Pamela’ and ‘Bulletproof’. It’s a way of expanding their audience’s expectations of the band. It was a challenge to find the tenderness within the original lyrics and the almost harsh production style and reimagine with a much softer gentler interpretation.
Darling West also bring their sound to life by showcasing their music through their Friday Sessions cover videos available on YouTube and Instagram. They bring the joy of their music by collaborating with fellow artists such as Hayde Bluegrass Orchestra. The ‘Friday Sessions’ started out as a response to the duo experiencing the lockdown in Norway and not being able to go out but still wanting to connect with their fans and audience. It’s a lot of work learning a new song every week and then record it flawlessly as a live video to such a high professional standard. Don’t expect the sessions to continue forever though as the duo need to work on releasing their own original music.
One of my favourite songs from the album ‘We’ll Never Know Unless We Try’ is ‘Home’ written by Tor Egil with Mari in their family’s cabin and was a song that just came out so easily and encapsulates the cosmic folk catalogue of Darling West. You can feel the influence of Gillian Welch in the lyrics and it sounds like poetry put to music.
The duo have adapted as well as they can to having to put touring to one side and have now been able to focus on the Friday Sessions, their songcraft and building a nice home for themselves to create an atmosphere conducive to blossoming their creativity. Without the pressure of trying to make a Darling West record has enabled them to explore different genres, sounds and musicality.
Growing up Tor Egil started off wanting to play football but that obsession was overtaken by learning to play the guitar while listening to his older brothers record collection. In junior high school reading about musicians playing their instruments and touring with their bands, Tor Egil knew this was going to be his life. When Mari and Tor met 15 years ago, Mari didn’t even play an instrument. Mari always enjoyed singing and her father always sang as a way to relax. There was always country music on the radio. After 7 years together Mari also wanted to become a part of the musical community in a real way and bought her first mandolin. It took a lot of practice before Mari felt that she had the sound she wanted from her instrument and could call herself a musician. It was all worth it as the duo have released four albums showing their incredible virtuosity, skill and range in producing stellar music.
Mari and Tor Egil don’t right formulaic music or middle of the road tunes for them there is no formula that they stick to. They want to keep their music as alive as possible and act as a homage to the Norwegian mountains. Speaking metaphorically if they found themselves in lifeboat having to recue their songs then they would save ‘Darling West’, ‘Vinyl and a Heartache’, ‘Someone Like You’, ‘Rolling On’, and River.
Darling West are at the forefront of the Nordicana music scene and bringing their own twist to the traditional Americana/ Appalachian music that’s been produced and being released. Their music is full of guitar, banjo and pedal steel which envelops the listener transporting them to a mythical country and western world. Going forward the duo want to focus more on their own song writing and they have more time to really record the songs they want in the style and production that showcases their music the best. A new album will arrive and when it does you know it’s going to be fantastic.
Click below to hear the podcast from CloudwatcherUno featuring Darling West. Also streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Podcast Addict and wherever you listen to your podcasts.
CloudwatcherUno speaks exclusively with David Jameson an American singer-songwriter from South Bend, Indiana. Through collaboration with Radio West Virginia he has released videos that perfectly capture his blend of American roots music styles including folk, old-time, and outlaw country.
Who Is David Jameson?
Right now, I live in Texas. During the last five to ten years, I’ve been living all over the world, but I grew up in the Heartland. A lot of my music influences are classic country and traditional Appalachian music, Bluegrass and old time music.
How excited are you in sharing new music this year?
I’m very excited. There’s really no other way to think about it. The songs have been really well received by everyone who has listened so far. I’m excited to share them more broadly.
How are you finding the process of releasing music during the pandemic?
It’s certainly a bit more difficult. Travelling and recording in the studio can be difficult while trying to socially distance and wear masks, especially for me since I am a singer. With almost any other instrument, the musician can wear a mask, but I can’t at least when I’m singing so I keep it on all the time and take it off right before I sing. After I finish, I put it right back on.
What was it like writing and recording ‘Sherman’s March’?
I was in West Virginia and had just visited WB Walker on the Old Soul Radio Show. I popped over to Boone County, West Virginia to record this video out in the holler amongst the trees. It was a beautiful location, and I was surprised that we were able to get such high quality audio because it was quite windy. My fingers are not used to playing out in the freezing cold, but it was a beautiful spot to hang out and play.
Tell us more about the video and how was it produced?
John Price of Radio West Virginia (RadioWV) and I walked out into the woods with a camera and a microphone, and we tried to find a spot that wasn’t too windy. And we scouted around, set up the microphone and plugged in my guitar so that we could get a clearer sound, and finally we got around to shooting the video.
You’ve talked a little bit about Radio West Virginia, can you talk more about your connection with them?
I’ve been a fan of Radio WV for quite a long time. John and Draven promote a lot of talented regional artists, and they do beautiful videos out in the woods of West Virginia. The musicians are fantastic. They’ve done videos with Charles Wesley Godwin, Drayton Farley, Cole Chaney, Logan Halstead, and many others. All of them sound great, and their videos have been really popular with people across West Virginia and beyond.
You already released ‘Tall Dark Pines’ through Radio West Virginia so what was that like?
It was great to get down to Dingess and Boone County, West Virginia. I’ve been to Tennessee and Kentucky but never to West Virginia, and it’s a whole different place. It’s gorgeous. A lot of the good murder ballads come from Appalachia. ‘Tall Dark Pines’ is very much inspired by traditional American music like the song ‘In The Pines’ or ‘My Girl’ depending on who sings it be that Lead Belly, Nirvana, or somebody else. ‘In the Pines’ is very much about the pines, and my song pays homage to that so it was very cool to sing it amongst the pines, out in the woods where the majority of the song takes place. Plus, ‘In The Pine’s is also a murder ballad of sorts, but the traditional song is much more gruesome than mine, even though mine is pretty explicit.
Do you sing any happy songs?
Yes, I sing happy songs for sure! My music reflects the range of experiences that you might have in life. The things that happen in real life are the strangest. ‘Tall Dark Pines’ is based on a murder that happened in my home town in Indiana. I put that story down in a song just like they did in the original murder ballads from the early days of the US. The truth of the story makes it all the more haunting.
Can you explain what your sound is?
The best way to describe my sound is that I’ve been channelling some of the early sounds of the United States including an Irish influence in the vocals and chord structures. I try to bring those storytelling songs into a modern era, so they may feel a little old but they still are relatable to people of today.
Do you think an artist now can afford to be just in one genre of music or should they cross genres?
I’m not sure what an artist should or shouldn’t do, but for me each song writes itself and sometimes a song calls for a slightly different sound. Some of my songs have come out as more of a rock song while others are more traditional country tunes in the Carter Family style with the Carter scratch.
Can describe the feeling that you get from actually having released a song from beginning to end?
Finally getting a song out is a relief. A lot of time goes into writing, refining and recording the song and preparing everything around the release. When the song gets out there you can finally let the bird fly.
You released a song called ‘South Bend Town’ and you were raised in South Bend, Indiana what was that like?
It was a really cool experience. I have lived in Texas off and on for a long time so going back home to South Bend was great. I enjoyed meeting some of the music community there who play music locally and nationally. I was starting to write the music for the album at the time and I thought that it would be more interesting to do something for the community. When I mentioned that idea to other people and they were super excited about it and wanted to join the project. Then I ended up recording with a number of artists who are popular locally and nationally including the guitarist from Umphrey’s McGee who is from South Bend, Jake Cinninger. I also met other artists who didn’t lay down tracks for the song, and they provided their invaluable guidance. In particular, The Bergamot and Francis Luke Accord have been very helpful. The song was received really well in South Bend and beyond with 20,000 plays across 50 different countries. In South Bend, a lot of people wear the South Bend Town t-shirt. Some of the kids especially my nieces and nephews sing it constantly because it’s very catchy and specific to South Bend. In South Bend, it’s had a big impact!
It’s a great song. Sounds like you had a lot of fun.
I had a lot of fun making this song.
Growing up did you always want to be a musician?
What kid doesn’t want to be a musician? It’s kinda like wanting to be an astronaut. Seems cool, not really sure how to do it. I don’t know if I intended to be a musician but I always played. I played with my family, and I played in bars in China when I was living over there. In China, a friend dragged me to go try out for a TV show, and we ended up making it on to the show. Then I thought maybe I could do something with my music, but back then I was singing covers in Chinese. Singing somebody else’s songs doesn’t have the same emotional punch as singing my own songs so I wanted to come back to the US and write my own stuff.
Tell us more of you being a western singer but to a Chinese audience.
It’s certainly a unique experience and in particular for me as a singer. I really like a lot of the Chinese music especially the folk music. It’s weird singing it though. Even though I can say the words and understand them, they don’t have the same impact on me. Like the word love doesn’t have the same emotion depth in Chinese because I don’t have all the experiences attached to the word. For example, as a baby, my mother said the word love to me many times in English, but no one said that to me in Chinese. So trying to sing a love song feels a bit empty emotionally. It doesn’t have the same kind of emotional release as it does for me in English. I have to think about it a lot more deeply to feel the meaning.
What’s your instrument of choice?
Definitely the guitar.
And how long have you been playing the guitar?
I’ve been playing the guitar for well over a decade. When I was younger I played the piano but I wanted something that was more mobile because I knew that I would be travelling around quite a lot. And more recently I’ve inherited my grandfather’s banjo so I’ve been learning that as well but I’m not ready to perform with that as of yet.
What kind of music inspired you and has stayed with you now?
Certainly singers like Johnny Cash and Elvis. They sing more in my range especially Johnny Cash. Very few singers today sing in that range. Many singers now have high voices and that’s just not my range. As a kid, Johnny Cash was one of the few singers that I could sing along with and the same with Frank Sinatra. I really liked those artists because I could actually sing and perform their songs and sound like the record.
What’s it been like for you as an artist not to be able to perform in front of an audience in these strange times?
It’s a lot like performing in front of TV where I wouldn’t really perform in front of anybody and sometimes there might be a studio audience of a couple of hundred but most of the audience would usually be behind the screen. So performing and recording these videos with Radio WV just feels normal, but certainly not being able to perform in front of a live audience and seeing their response changes the way that I write because I’m not getting the feedback from a larger audience.
What do you think fans get from your music?
It depends a lot on the song. Often I start with an emotion or a story that’s actually happened and think about how that actually makes me feel or how would it make a person in that story feel. Everything from the music to the lyrics, it’s all meant to create a feeling within the listener. Whether it be angry, sad, happy or nostalgic, I try to take that emotion and carry it through the whole song and the production.
And what songs do you feel have connected for you and with an audience?
The song in the last few years that made me feel the most was ‘Scarecrow In The Garden’ by Chris Stapleton, it’s a fantastic story about a family coming to America, creating a farm and life becoming more and more difficult as generations pass. The last line of that song still gives me Goosebumps. It’s such a powerful story, and the last line makes you really think about Heaven and Hell. The last lines are ‘There’s a bible in my left hand and a pistol in my right.’ Implying that he’s either going to find solace in the pistol or scripture. It’s a very dark choice. It’s pretty powerful emotionally.
For my music I have a very large extended family and often we’ll have a Zoom call where everyone gets together, brothers and sisters, anyone who can join. I played them all a song based on a family story of my Grandfather who was a Pastor. It’s called ‘Eye for An Eye’ and everybody was crying before I even sang halfway through it. It was pretty powerful to see how much they were moved by it. I’m not sure the average listener would cry while listening this song, but it really impacted my family.
Music is such a powerful experience do you feel a responsibility at all as an artist?
I feel that music should capture the real human experience and pop songs going into the pandemic were only happy songs, but people didn’t feel happy so why would you give them songs that don’t match their emotions. Sometimes you want that sad song. A lot of the old country songs are about real life, and I think that art has to represent real life. People can’t as easily connect with an emotion if it’s not represented in art. If you don’t have words to describe sadness then you struggle to feel it. And you struggle to capture in words what it might be. It’s easy to say this song is what I’m feeling because it’s more fundamental to your emotional state and it captures an emotion that words cannot.
That’s a fantastic answer.
Looking ahead what next for David Jameson?
Still pretty much focused on the album, I’ve yet to come up with a name yet. I’m still getting everything together so I can release in the next few months. This week ‘Sherman’s March’ video will be released on Radio WV and then more to follow. They are great videos and were really fun to shoot.
Checkout the video for ‘Sherman’s March’ by David Jameson with Radio WV.