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INTERVIEW: Texan singer-songwriter/guitar virtuoso Rodney Branigan

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “One Seed”?

“One Seed” is musically the simplest song I have ever recorded but emotionally the most complex. Its complexity lies in the nakedness of the lyrics and the rawness of the imagery they conjure. For a performer that has been known to hide behind the musicality of his instrument, I feel very vulnerable when I play this song live. Its just me, a bit of guitar and a bit of poetry I wrote in my journal.  I feel naked.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

The opening line came from a spell of homesickness.  Its easy to romanticise about your hometown when you haven’t seen it for awhile.  It made me think of the people I grew up with who left for the big city as soon as they were old enough, just like I did.  The imagery that ties it all together is universal for anyone that grew up in a small town but needed to make a life somewhere else.  It’s a song about hope.

How was the filming experience?

This video was produced in my hometown of Amarillo with childhood friends, on my uncle’s farm, in a field that I drove a tractor on when I was a teenager.  A video shoot doesn’t get much more personal than that.  We got on to the farm at 4 in the morning to set up and waited for the Golden Hour of Sunrise and despite the weather forecast we got it.  We hired a drone for some epic overhead shots but couldn’t use it because the farm is too close to the nuclear weapons plant that you can just see on the horizon in some of the close up shots.  The airspace in that area is restricted by the U.S. Government so for the high up shots we had to put a camera on top of a truck.  A compromise, but at least we are not on a Homeland Security watch list, or in prison.

How was the recording and writing process?

I had the first verse of this song for 2 years before finishing it. It felt important to me from the first rough recording so I thought I should wait for the right verse instead of forcing it.  Some songs require you to actively look for the right words and phrases to use, so you pull out the thesaurus and rhyming dictionary and you map out the poetic meter and work out the meaning.  Some songs you wait for because they only come of their own volition. The trick is to know which songs are which and to have patience when you know you need to wait. Its possible sometimes to wait for a long time.

What role does Texas play in your writing?

Its a difficult task for any musician to escape the influences of their upbringing.  Texas has always had a very unique and robust music scene with plenty of heroes to idolise, but culturally its a world all of its own.  That culture doesn’t just go away because I get my news on the BBC and read Terry Pratchett now.  My habitat might be the UK but the narration in my head still sounds like John Wayne instead of David Attenborough.  If the voices in my head did suddenly pick up a British accent, I would prefer John Cleese to David Attenborough anyway.

How’s your new album coming along?

The writing and recording of the album has been finished since May.  I am doing final mixing down in August and then its off to the mastering house. I’m expecting the final artwork proofs in the next week. I am at the final stretch.  I cannot wait for that last mix down session.  I am incredibly proud of this album, but it has occupied every waking thought for 2 years now.  I’m ready to start thinking about other things.

Any tentative release date or title in mind?

My team and I have an early spring 2018 date in mind right now.  Once the final master is approved those dates will be released.  The album will be called “The Clever Kid Cartel.”

Any plans to hit the road?

The Official Album release tour starts in the Spring of 2018 and will include dates all over the UK, France, India, South Africa, and the US.  Next year is going to be a busy year on the road for me.

I’m at a few festivals and have dates across the UK through Autumn 2017.

September  I have a special show in South London at the Sound Lounge where I will be performing the new album with my band live for the first and last time until its release in the Spring.

What else is happening next in Rodney Branigan’s world?

When this album is finished and released I have two collaborations that I have been casually working on for the last five years.  One is a world music project with Mumbai based music producer Randolph Correia (Func).  The other collaboration is called The Boot Cut Brotherhood with John Pointer from Texas.  My plan is to finish those two projects by 2019 and tour them separately.  These collaborations are on the opposite sides of the spectrum for me with the Boot Cut Brotherhood being a comedy based duo and the Func project being a serious blending of Sufi music with the music of my own roots.

Watch the new video for One Seed here

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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