Can you talk to us more about your song “The Fool”?
“The Fool” is a co-write with Carsie Blanton, super badass songwriter- check her out. She’ also my next door neighbor.
Did any event in particular inspired you to write this song?
I went through a serious heartbreak in 2016 and it really shook my world up. A six year relationship with a lover ended around the same time that a longtime band I was in broke up. This was not long after I moved to NOLA. The whole thing was very raw and painful, but there is this penetrating silver lining around big changes that’s beautiful. These things happen that seem inconceivable but life just keeps truckin’. It helped me drop expectations and settle into myself. Cultivate independence. Lift rugs and sweep up dirt. Laugh and cry better. Ain’t it good to play the fool?
Any plans to release a video for the track?
Yea we’re almost done with it! Don’t wanna give away too much but there are dinosaurs, skateboards, kidnappings, and hip-hop dancers in suits made from mirrors involved.
The single comes off your new album The Fool, The Friend – what’s the story behind the title?
Those are actually two song titles from the record. Saw them next to eachother and thought it summed up the record pretty good.
How was the recording and writing process?
The songs fell together over the summer of 2016 and I went into a studio in Brooklyn to make the following October. WE recorded it in small room over 3 days… pretty much completely live. The band on the album is a collective of my close friends in NYC who have been making killler records together over the last few years. Roy Williams (Brother Roy), Phoebe Hunt, Dori Freeman, drummer NIck Falk, bassist Dave Speranza, Eddie Barbash on horns. I really didn’t have the budget to overthink things or spend too much time and I feel like live feel of the record has helped keep it timeless for me. I’ve waited to put it out until I had a team together who was better at that sort of thing than me. Now that’s together, hence this interview. The album is coming out June 29th.
What role does New Orleans play in your music?
I’ve always been drawn to the music of Louisana, especially New Orleans. Living there has been a complete immersion. I spent a few months playing old time fiddle on the street to pay rent, played a seven hour Bourbon St. gig on telecaster four days a week for a while playing everything from The Meters to Merle Haggard. Was doing a three hour solo piano gig three days a week stretching from Professor Longhair to Randy Newman. Playing bass and drums with alot of cajun and zydeco musicians, typically four or five hour gigs. Dancing all the time. Found myself streching across alot of different scenes.. playing electric guitar with a brass band on Frenchman St and ending up at a fireside songwriter session with hipster honky-tonkers later that night. Also started a trio called “Damn GIna’ with my roomates. We run a weekly event at a bar called SIdney’s Saloon, been going every sunday for a year. We book two other bands to play in addition to us and it’s a great late night local hang packed with two-steppers. Overall, NOLA has helped me detach from the idea of “success” that is generally projected on musicians and artists by the media, school, whatever.
How has the road been treating you so far?
I haven’t begun touring with the Ric Robertson band yet. I’m on the road all summer playing with Rhiannon Giddens in her band and it’s been great. She is a killer performer with an awesome crew and it’s cool to be on the bus observing the whole machine at work as those things are coming together for my own band.
We played a really fun set at Delfest a few days ago. Was nice to play for a crowd of dancing hippies on drugs as most of the shows we play are big ol’ sold out seated theatres. Looking forward to NYC summerstage at Central Park in a few weeks and Caimbridge Folk Fest in August.
What else is happening next in Ric Robertson’s world?
Currently at Montrose Studios in Richmond, VA working on my second album. Should be pretty much finished by the time the first one comes out. Keep and eye out for tour dates at ricrobertsonmusic.com. Can’t wait to get this band out on the road!