Lesley Hastings Interviews Brandy Clark

As many of you reading this will be aware, multi Grammy nominated singer/songwriter Brandy Clark is making a welcome return to the UK for a series of shows next month. Anyone doubting what an incredible live performer she is needs only to listen to her recent album release, ” Live From Los Angeles” which demonstrates her superb vocal skills as well as her great rapport with an audience.

I was fortunate enough to have Brandy agree to an online interview ahead of the tour ( details and ticket links can be found here http://www.brandyclarkmusic.com/tour ) and it seems she is as excited about her visit as her UK fans are!

Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer my questions! Where are you right now?

I am in Wichita, Kansas on a 3 day run of shows with Tim McGraw and Faith Hill.

I’m sure I’m not the only one to be so very happy that you’re heading back to the UK to play some live shows this October…..and it’s a much more extensive tour this time round! How excited are you about your forthcoming visit?

I am so excited to be coming back to the UK in October.  I feel like my music has been so embraced in that market and so it makes me feel like it is a hometown show in a lot of ways.

Your tour here last year was a sell-out, and this one is heading that way too ( a second London date already needing to be added). You definitely have a large, loyal fan base here, does our support for your music in particular, and country music in general, surprise you?

Well, at first it did because I really had no idea what kind of music people in the UK gravitate towards.  As I’ve gotten to know some fans and some taste maker there, what i have gathered is that the UK not only loves a more traditional sounding country music, but also has a huge appreciation for singer/songwriters.  I feel like I straddle those two worlds artistically, so it’s the perfect place for me and my music.

And are you able to divulge the line up can we expect this time round, is it safe to assume your talented lead guitarist/keyboard player Miles Aubrey will be back with you?

I am bringing Miles Aubrey with me for this tour as well as Vanessa McGowan who plays bass and sings.  It’ll still be an acoustic show, but with a just little more meat.  I can’t wait for everyone to hear this trio configuration. 

You’re playing some beautiful venues, including churches and historic buildings with incredible acoustics. How much input do you have when putting a tour like this together? Is there anywhere you’re especially looking forwards to playing?

You know, I have very little input on where I end up playing.  My manager and booking agent work on that.  They try to get me into nice venues and since I’ve done well over there, the goal is to play bigger venues each time.  I have heard so much about the venue I’m playing in London.  I think it’s Union Hall.  I can’t wait to experience that one.

Are you hoping to get a bit of free time in between shows, interviews etc to do any sightseeing? Is there anywhere/thing in particular you hope to visit? I hope the October weather is kind to you!

I don’t know that I’ll have much free time, but what little I have will be spent exploring the countries. 

What an honour it must have been for you to have been invited to play at the opening of the Loretta Lynn  exhibit at Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame recently! She is a big influence on you isn’t she? Are any of her songs likely to be included in your sets here?

It was a HUGE honor to be part of Loretta’s Hall of Fame exhibit.  You never know….if someone asks for one of her songs, we might have to put it in the set.

I know that being drunk isn’t infectious, but your latest single “You’re Drunk” definitely is! Written a while ago I gather but not on either of your two studio albums “ 12 Stories” and “ Big Day In A Small Town”, what can you tell me about this fun song and how it came to be resurrected and released?

“You’re Drunk” was recorded for the album “Big Day in a Small Town”.  It didn’t really fit and so it didn’t make the album.  There were actually three songs that were recorded that didn’t end up on the record. They were all songs we loved, just didn’t fit the concept and so we planned to release them as additional content at some point.  “you’re drunk” being released really came out of adding it to the live show as a way to introduce and put a spotlight on Vanessa’s upright bass playing.  Fans loved it and asked where they could get it and so we released it.  I’m so glad that we did.

Talking of albums, it’s great that your ( vinyl only )  Record Store Day release “ Live From Los Angeles” has recently become available as a download. It really captures the atmosphere of one of your intimate shows.  You must be thrilled at the great reaction to this album? And do you enjoy listening to live recordings?

I do enjoy listening to live recordings.  I listen a lot to my sets after the show.  It helps me see what works and what doesn’t.  The thing I love about a live record is that it brings the audience in as part of the record.  For me, the audience reaction is the most important element in choosing songs not only for live shows but also for albums.  And I also love that I have gotten to release a live record because I feel like I am good in a live setting and this is a way for people who can’t come to a show to experience that.

Immediately before you arrive in the UK you’ll be in Scandinavia playing some shows as part of the CMA Songwriters Series, something else that must be an exciting prospect? I love these events, hearing songs in stripped back form and learning about what inspired them. They are commonplace in Nashville I gather?

Yes, I have done a few CMA Songwriters Series and they are always A+ events to be involved with.  Songwriter rounds are commonplace in Nashville, but to the rest of the world the aren’t and so it’s great to bring that sort of performance to people who have maybe never experienced it.

You are also touring Canada soon with Miranda Lambert. I recently saw her superb London show, and the crowd went totally wild when she sang “Mama’s Broken Heart” which of course you co-wrote! I bet that trip will be a lot of fun and will take you to huge arenas…..can you remember the first time you stepped out on a massive stage, was it nerve wracking or did you just take it in your stride? 

The first time that I ever stepped out onto a massive stage was probably when I toured with Eric Church. Our second show was Madison Square Garden.  In a lot of ways, it doesn’t get much bigger than that.  Of course, there are always nerves involved something of that magnitude, but I try and just pretend that I’m playing in a living room and want the audience to feel the same.

Well, I’ve taken up enough of your time, just before I go do you have a message for your UK fans?

Thanks for taking the time to interview me.  Tell my fans that I can’t wait to see them in a few short weeks!!!!

Thanks again and see you out there on the road very soon !

Interview conducted by Lesley Hastings

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