How would you classify your music?
Moonshine music – take a few simple ingredients and boil ‘em up into something raw, energetic and passionate! OK then, if you insist, Anglo-Americana, Renegade acoustic, songs with attitude.
Who are some of your top 5 musical influences?
Sensible answer: early Rod Stewart; Steve Earle; Fairport Convention; Dylan and Guy Clarke.
Honest answer: Writing songs is like painting pictures its visual as well as a musical thing – in fact at one level don’t really know the difference between a picture and a song – so real musical influences are also people who can conjure up images – people like Alan Le May (who wrote the Searchers and The Unforgiven); Breughel; Hogarth; Jack Kerouac; old cowboy novels; Laurie Lee.
What do you want fans to take away from your music?
I want them to take a trip in their heads without chemical additives. To soar and fly and laugh and cry.
How’s the music scene in your locale?
Mostly people playing other people’s stuff and pretending to be someone they are not.
What is the best concert you have been to?
Many years ago I went to see some friends play a little gig in a school. I’d not seen them perform before. They blew me away. And then when they told me that the song they had just played they had written, my world turned upside down. Walked away, next day bought a guitar, and most other things became less important! Knew I was committed for life
What do you like most about playing live?
Weaving that magic space where you, the audience and the song are one and time hangs in the air waiting for you to finish.
Is there a song on your latest CD release here that stands out as your personal favorite, and why?
Ah I hate this question ! If you asked me any day I would probably give you a different answer. Today it is Sally In Blue Flames – I love the way the dynamics changes in it, great solo from John and great piano from The Bishop. Plus the story of a strong woman who refuses point blank to save a dissolute outlaw ! But tomorrow I will like The Last Line – really proud of the lyric – “This land was always our land, Or so we had believed, Put our trust in something fine, But we were all deceived”‘bout sums it up doesnt it ?
How have you evolved as an artist over the last year?
Probably better say over the last couple of years. Two things I think – Kev, who is great old pal and bass player with many bands one of the incarnations of Saxon, joining really fed in some rock sensibility whilst staying in the acoustic vibe we have set ourselves. Bits of Rattlesnake are really quite heavy, punchy say, its easy to forget sometimes that everything on the album is acoustic except for the electric bass. Moreover working with Kev after decades really has added a new dimension to my songwriting – we really clicked. Secondly really got into the grove with The Bishop as well – he is astonishing pianist and we’ve done some stuff of which I am deeply proud. Overall I think I have really found away to weave together my songwriting; performing; writing and adventuring – The Vagabond Philosopher on the Road That Never Ends.
If you could meet, play a gig, co-write a song, have dinner, have a drink with any band or artist (dead or alive) who would it be?
I would like to be having a quiet drink in the Saloon bar of the Plaza Hotel, Las Vegas, New Mexico way back when Wyatt Earp, Doc Holiday were getting a little frisky with the natives. I would be wearing a bullet proof vest.
What’s next for you?
Well I have just come back from a trip around New Mexico with a hundred stories for songs and stuff – but I really must concentrate on promoting the new album The Girl With The Rattlesnake Heart and the new book A Beautiful Broken Dream, I got a mini tour of the Southern States next March and hopefully something longer later in the year. Also festivals in the UK and potentially a tour of Germany. Looking to do some book festivals and store gigs as well. Oh and I have just been asked to write a play which hopefully will go to The Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Hi Jamala, welcome to VENTS! How have you been? Wonderful, thanks a lot ☺ Can …