INTERVIEW: Callie McCullough

Hi Callie, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Hey guys! Thanks so much for chatting, I’ve been great! Just made it back to Nashville after a beautiful chilly Canadian winter writing songs and doing horse chores home on the farm…Loving getting back to the pulse of this town and the chance to create with people and get out and play shows again- feels good to be home!

Can you talk to us more about your latest video “No Good Way”? How was the filming process and experience behind the video?

Love to! We were in the height of lockdown up in Canada this winter, but when it lifted we had the chance to sneak into this incredible venue in my Hometown (Stratford, Ontario Canada) called Revival House- it’s this historic church turned epic live music venue and restaurant…one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever had the chance to sing! With the extreme amounts of time I had on my hands (lol) I cooked up the idea for the video as a nod to how we brought the song to life in the studio, Dustin Olyan,(After Midnight’s Album Producer) filmed all the parts he played on the record at his home studio and edited all the footage together while in quarantine whilst I took a super talented all hometown video and production crew (Zack Bryson, Kris Von Kleist, Lisa Thammavongsa) into Revival House; pulled together on the fly the week of and we had a magical day! The magnificence of the venue and the instrumental focus really showcases the delicate beauty of this song. I’m super proud of this video.

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

 I wrote this tune with my good buddy and long time collaborator Scotty Kipfer. I think it was about the second song (and the first good one) that we ever wrote together and the rest was history! We were sitting up late at the kitchen table in the condo he was staying at in Nashville at the time, probably eating chicken wings, talking about someone’s love life issues and I just said,  “Well, there’s no good way to break a heart,”  and there was our song. We stayed up all night writing it and by the time I was driving home it was sunrise.

The single comes off your EP After Midnight – what’s the story behind the title?

After Midnight,” is another tune Scotty and I wrote during a blizzard in Canada, we wanted to bring to life the sounds and feelings of midnight in Paris. When the album was done and I had the final listen driving around my car I thought, “After Midnight,” that’s the title. All of these songs feel honest, real and vulnerable. It’s the kind of record I hope people pour a glass of wine and listen to late at night, so it just fits.

How was the recording and writing process?

Honestly, it was a dream! To have an album that so truly captures who you are at a snapshot in time is not something I take lightly or for granted- that’s what every artist dreams of.

I worked with Toronto/Nashville based producer Dustin Olyan on this album and he brought such a great vision and artistry to these songs. Our vision for the record was to give these songs all the roots that I loved and also a freshness all their own. It was about bringing songs to life in a way that honors them, they’re each a bit of their own thing. For some of the songs we brought members of Union Station and The Time Jumpers into the tracking room in Nashville and were treated to some first class pickin! For two of the songs (No Good Way,” and the lead single Five Dollar Pearls,” -my favourite) that wanted a more intimate feel, Dustin built them from the ground up at his home studio, playing almost every instrument and just made them beautiful. I co-wrote all six of these songs with my two good friends and fellow, Canucks Ryan Sorestad and Scotty Kipfer. They were always willing to fight the good fight with me and spend days writing the roots and the sad songs and boy do I love them for it.

What role does Nashville play in your music?

Nashville is one of those places that sharpens you, inspires you, and nearly defeats you all at the same time, it’s a beautiful disaster. Nashville is home and especially this past year it has made me grateful to get to wake up and make music every day, but it can be really easy to get lost inside of. It’s important to stay true to the music that you love- even if they tell you it’s not what’s selling on radio-because at the end of the day the MUSIC is what I’m doing it for.

How has the likes of Alison Krauss and Dolly Parton influenced your writing?

For me, Dolly Parton is one of the greatest songwriters of all time, “I Will Always Love You,” are you kidding me? She knows her own mind and is so free with her creativity, she’s built a legacy, that’s incredibly inspiring! Alison Krauss is one of the most gorgeous singers of all time, she never over sings, that is so rare. She really paved a path for Roots Artists like myself. I will always be incredibly honoured to have my name compared to these women!

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

These songs and stories were snippets of my life the first few years in Nashville, the song “Three Quarter Time,” tells a good bit of it. Songs about not fitting in, trying to change yourself like Pearls,or being far away from the people you love like Missing You,” and After Midnight,” they were parts of my life at the time. I was finding my feet in a new chapter as a solo artist after years touring in bands, doing a lot of first time collaboration, growing and holding onto the roots of the music that I love. I was fortunate to find kindred musical spirits in my co-writers Ryan Sorestad and Scotty Kipfer. I wrote hundreds and hundreds of songs in those first few years with oodles of people, but ours were the ones that I loved the most, the ones that I was really able to write my most honest and vulnerable self into. Those types of writing friendships are really something special.

What else is happening next in Callie McCullough’s world?

Well, back in Nashville and hitting the ground running! Lot’s of writing, excited to be playing shows for people again outside of through a cell-phone and looking forward to making some new music on the horizon.

Also my time at home in Canada between the horse farm and my sister’s urban farm has turned me into a plant lady. I guess I’m still home more than normal so I went nuts these past couple weeks planting daffodils, sunflowers, an herb garden, some tomatoes and filling my house with indoor plants too; it’s nice to watch things grow.

Thanks again for the chat guys,  you lifting up this music means the world 🙂

No Good Way- Official Video

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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