Tasteful and bittersweet guitar playing make Steven Palmer’s ‘Morning Road’ glow

Reviewed by Brooke Curtis

Steven Palmer/Morning Road

The title is apt because, if you’re traveling for an extended period of time, Steven Palmer’s Morning Road is what you want playing in your car. There are miles in Palmer’s voice; you can almost see the scenery that his mind has captured through the decades of his life. I love how the title track recalls Blind Faith’s “Can’t Find My Way Home” at one point. Is it intentional? Perhaps or maybe unconsciously. Nevertheless, it fits the mood and meaning of the song.

Palmer is no hotshot acoustic gunslinger; this is a man that, if he had started recording albums such as this early in his life, we might be looking at him differently, such as an icon in his autumn years. Palmer’s songwriting and guitar playing are tasteful and bittersweet; each cut is crafted with feeling and poetic flair. The tropical “A Simple Man Needs a Simple Plan” invigorates with a summer glow while Palmer’s cover of Charles Johnson’s “The Dill Pickled Rag” has some stunningly beautiful crystalline riffs. Lovely.


Tied to the Stone’s ‘Time of Light’ is ‘relaxing’ with a ‘nice tone’

Reviewed by Sabrina Tinsay

Tied to the Stone/Time of Light

Ever think about sailing the sea and relaxing with a group of friends on a weekend? The band Tied To The Stone has great tunes that can spark your sea excursion into reality. The songs “Almost Thirty Years Now,” “Chance Or Two On Love,” and “This Road Is Wide” encompasses the band’s raw, artistic style. There can never be too much Tied To The Stone since their songs have a wide variety, and their natural lyrical creativity can positively set a nice tone and aura for their listeners any time of the day. Without a doubt, sailing in the sea with Tied To The Stone is a moment to remember with friends throughout the years “More Than You’ll Ever Know.”


Published in: on June 17, 2008 at 4:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

Diverse tastes like the Clash and Dierks Bentley shaped singer/songwriter Tony Cutino

Written by Carson James

Tony Cutino offers a different flavor to roots rock. Instead of merely displaying his country influences, both Cutino’s voice and sometimes his ’70s-leaning pop/rock is reminiscent of glam-era David Bowie. Considering the glut of underground Americana acts today, delivering a slight twist on the genre is always a plus.

Carson James: Every singer/songwriter has their own method of inspiration in crafting their music. What is yours? Does it begin with a specific line popping in your head or a riff?

Tony Cutino: When writing songs, sometimes it’s an experience or event that happens which spark a catchy phrase or an idea for a story line or a hook. Then again, there are times I can be playing my guitar and come up with a musical riff that strikes a nerve and gets things going. But its always those personal moments which happen in our lives that create the best songs.

James: When did you first pick up the guitar? What compelled you to play it? Was there anybody who encouraged you to do so or was it something you did on your own?

Cutino: The first time I picked up a guitar I was about five years old, a plastic guitar with a crank on it that played the Mickey Mouse song. I used to play for my family at holiday gatherings. But seriously, I was about 12 when I got my first electric guitar and amp. I happened to hear some older kids in a band practicing in their garage and I’ve been playing since.

James: Which of the tracks on your album are the most personal to you and in what way?

Cutino: The songs that are the most personal to me are the songs I wrote about experiences in my life. I wrote “Find Your Angel” after turning on the TV one morning and watching the World Trade Center towers fall. “Cowboy Now” is a song about my dad who was a real John Wayne kind of guy, a cowboy at heart.  He told me once if he could ever come back as someone else he wanted to be a cowboy. “Big Joe’s Dad’s Guitar” is a song about a dear friend who gave me his dad’s guitar because he couldn’t play it and wanted me to have it.  I took the guitar home and this song just poured out.

James: Growing up, what musicians had the biggest impact on you creativity?

Cutino: Musicians and groups that inspired me while I was developing my talent and playing in a band called Toby Redd, were The Who, Zeppelin, The Beatles, U2 and then early English groups like Elvis Costello, The Clash, and The Jam.  More recently Keith Urban, Jeffrey Steele, and Dierks Bentley.

James: Do you “read” music? Or are you mostly a player by feel?

Cutino: I can read music but not fluently. In fact, it’s been a while since I’ve done that. It’s mostly what feels right and sounds good to me and how things flow. Sometimes too much correctness can cause distractions.


Published in: on June 7, 2008 at 6:04 am  Leave a Comment  
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Orchestral touches power Laura Pursell’s new album

Reviewed by Brooke Curtis

Laura Pursell/Somewhere in this Room

Singer/songwriter Laura Pursell has never been on my radar before but she certainly will be after hearing Somewhere in this Room. Unlike most solo projects, this seems to be more of a collaboration between her and her producer Andrew Bonime, who arranged and co-wrote these lovely songs. In other words, this is no mere folk or acoustic confessional, stripped down to its basic ingredients. Bonime has gifted Pursell as massive lens in which to shoot with. This isn’t just a record a with a girl and a guitar but a girl with the power of an orchestra behind her. Violins, cellos, violas, French horns, saxophones, oboes, and organs complement the basic guitar/bass/drums set-up. Actually, complement is an understatement; they elevate these songs to another level.

Those who prefer the less-is-more standard of today’s pop craftsmanship might be puzzled by all the added instrumentation here, but Pursell and Bonime are reaching for the artistic heights set by the jazz and soul artists of the past when having a Big Band behind you was considered cool. It certainly is a breath of fresh air, and not everything on Somewhere in this Room climbs to such mountainous extremes. The softly melodic “It Might As Well Be Magic” bridges together folk and smooth jazz with subtlety and technical precision while “Skywriting Neon Lights” is reminiscent of Heart’s vintage mellow-yellow dreaminess. The rainy-afternoon melancholy of “My Heart Knows You Were Here” plumbs the depths of Pursell’s heartbroken emotional state after a friend’s suicide. It’ll leave you knocked to the ground.


‘Seinfeld’ rerun provided inspiration for singer/songwriter Paul Ford

Written by Carson James

Retro rocker Paul Ford is one of those gifted singer/songwriters that, for one reason or another, has been under the radar of mainstream consciousness. A large part of that is because of how segregated music has become. Ford neither fits into rock nor pop, neither commercial nor alternative. In today’s narrowly defined musical landscape you have to wonder how Tom Petty would’ve made it. But, given enough time and exposure, I like to think that Ford could eventually nab a larger audience. Until then, I will remain captivated by his new album, The Moon, in the privacy of my own airspace. For those unfamiliar with Ford, let the following interview provide an introduction.

Carson James: How do you approach your songwriting? Lyrics first, then the music?

Paul Ford: There are so many ways to write songs, and I have several methods of writing. Sometimes a song pops into my head-lyrics and melody completely without much thought or effort. We call those moments “true inspiration.” “If I Were Superman” (from The Moon) was one of these. Other times I will spin a line or melody around in my head for days or weeks, then sit down and try to write. I look at songwriting as kind a puzzle. You start with a thin frame work of an idea and fill it in with lyrics and melody.

James: What advice would you give to people who have just started writing lyrics.

Ford: I would say keep writing! Songwriting is a process. When you learn which processes works best for you, keep doing. It. They are not all gonna be gems. Don’t be afraid of that. The good songs come from repeating the process, changing it up a little from time to time, and just doing it!

James: You’ve been in a number of bands before. What made you decide to go solo?

Ford: Bands are great fun and hard work, but hard to keep together in many cases. I have decided to concentrate more on songwriting and recording my songs. I would also be very interested to hear how other performers would sing, interpet and perform songs I have written. That would be really exciting and quite an honor.

James: Explain the inspiration behind “If I Were Superman.”

Ford: When I wrote “If I Were Superman,” I was laying in bed watching a Seinfeld rerun. It was the one with Terri Hatcher, who played Lois Lane once. I was watching the show, and the song plowed into my head like a lightning bolt. Lyrics, melody, bridge. It was nearly complete when I tried to get what I heard in my head down on paper. It’s in the key of B flat which I very seldom write in, but that is how it sounded in my head.

James: Your album, The Moon, has the cohesiveness of a complete album. When you recorded it, were you conscious of this being an “LP experience” -in other words, something that is greater as a whole?

Ford: Thanks for noticing! I grew up listening to the LP experience as it were. We didn’t mean to do it at first, I was trying to pick the best examples of my songwriting. When we started to put the tracks in order it seemed to have a cohesion to it. If you listen to it in order it’s kind of like an emotional journey through Happiness, Sadness, Love, Loss, Insanity, and Fear. They are all there! I hope the listener will enjoy it!


Published in: on May 30, 2008 at 7:43 am  Leave a Comment  
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No longer solo, singer/songwriter Dodd Lede forms superb rootsy modern rockers the DML Cartel

Written by Carson James

When we last heard from singer/songwriter Dodd Lede, he released an album called Sophomore Jinx that, given a major-label financial push, could’ve found its way alongside John Mayer and Jack Johnson on commercial AAA radio stations. Since then, Lede has formed the DML Cartel, a rootsy modern-rock outfit that was once Lede’s covers band Bare Necessity. Lede discusses their consistently good debut album Word of Mouth and how the DML Cartel enabled him to finally achieve the bigger sound he had been aiming for. 

Carson James: The DML Cartel sounds like a full band effort, but then again so did your last solo album, Sophomore Jinx. Did your approach to songwriting change with having a group backing you up?

Dodd Lede: No. My approach to songwriting is pretty consistent. It was a little easier to record with the same group of musicians, but it didn’t start out that way. The musician process changed on me a few times throughout this recording until all the pieces finally fell together. In the end, the same musicians played together on about 80% of the entire CD. Of course, I expect the next CD to go much easier.

James: The guitars are a little louder and crunchier here than on your solo efforts. Did you feel back then, acting alone, that you were limited in terms of how rocking the tunes could be?

Lede: The original working title for this CD was going to be Twice Removed; since I never got the sound I wanted on the first two CDs, this was going to represent that sound twice removed. I thought it would have been a cool title, but no one else seemed to get it. This was the sound that I originally wanted for the both CDs, but since I didn’t have a permanent band at the time, I chose to scale it down. The decision was made since I was performing more solo acoustic shows. I wanted to be able to successfully pull off the songs live without the band aspect missing too much.

James: Your band used to perform covers with you. Was it an easy transition to go from remakes to original material?

Lede: I had already released Whatever Happened To You and Sophomore Jinx when I joined Bare Necessity. I was hesitant about joining a cover band in the first place and was pretty adamant that I would never do it, but Derek [Prather] is such a phenomenal guitarist and friend that I really wanted to work with him. The idea was that I would help his band out, and he would record in the studio with me. I even put a time limitation on how long I would stay with the band. I think it was supposed to be for one year. It didn’t exactly turn out like that, but it became pretty cool playing to packed houses that were very much into what we were doing. I’ve been with Bare Necessity for almost four years now. It’s still a lot of fun. But as things go, I eventually wanted to release some new original material. The band, at that point, did not want me to quit so they opted to assist me in completing what I had already started with John [Rinkus], Mark [Head], and Richard [Magallanes] .

James: What made you decide to turn Bare Necessity into a full-blown recording group?

Lede: I didn’t actually turn Bare Necessity into a full-blown recording group. It was an idea that never really panned out. Bare Necessity’s bass player, Fred [Morecraft], was not interested in pursuing the originals as much as the rest of us. He was happier just doing the cover songs. Instead, Derek and I are in both Bare Necessity and the DML Cartel. The chain of events goes like this. John had been jamming with us over the past year doing the originals, but he did not want to be a part of the cover band.  So he started jamming with Mark and Richard, whom had both been in the studio recording Word Of Mouth with me before Bare Necessity. They were working on songs that will probably be part of John’s solo project. They didn’t have a singer, so I went out to jam with them while Bare Necessity was on break. We booked a couple shows and asked Derek to come and play with us. That is how the DML Cartel became a separate entity altogether.

James: The opening track, “Best of Monday Night,” recalls the Gin Blossoms. Were they an influence on you?

Lede: It is a safe assumption that I am influenced by the Gin Blossoms although I get more comparisons to Bon Jovi on that song. I’m glad someone else can see the similarities and influence.


Kat Goldman’s ‘Sing Your Song’ grows slowly but remains a keeper

Reviewed by Karla Dettinger, Contributing Writer

Kat Goldman/Sing Your Song

Kat Goldman’s Sing Your Song is one of those albums which sneak up on you. For a while, I couldn’t digest the music on here. It’s not that these are bad tracks or even difficult ones. I simply found them too subtle at first, not even making an attempt to really grab me. However, those are the kind of LPs that probably have the longest shelf life; ones which reward repeated spins.

Goldman’s voice is distinct, not really similar to anyone’s. It’s raspy in places and breathy in others. In fact, on the first two songs – the title cut and “Baby You Gonna Fall in Love” – she doesn’t even sound like the same person. On the first tune, Goldman strikes a more pensive yet hopeful tone while on “Baby You Gonna Fall in Love” she conveys a more distant feeling like a narrator. The music is strikingly different, too, switching from a chamber-pop approach to early ’70s singer/songwriter balladry. I would classify Sing Your Song as a record to play at night when you’re feeling a bit introspective and maybe even lonely. 


Published in: on May 13, 2008 at 5:28 am  Leave a Comment  
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Legendary British singer/songwriter Paul Weller ages gracefully on ‘As Is Now’

Reviewed by Mondo Castro

Paul Weller/As Is Now

After five years, talking to mod god Paul Weller over the phone remains the highlight of my foray into music. He was as casual as, say, an old friend who just got back after a long time, reminiscing about his past. In this case, it was Weller recalling his time with the Jam, the Style Council, the third phase of his career, and his then new album Heliocentric. I was nervous as a high school boy on the day of his prom night; Weller warmly told me that he was “just an ordinary bloke” and said that he’s the one who should be nervous. That broke the ice and paved the way for a 45-minute conversation that would last a lifetime. It’s heartening that one of my idols is still creating music that is relevant.

With the cappuccino-jazz of the Style Council behind him, Weller has solidified his place in the pantheon with excellent albums like Wild Wood, Stanley Road, and Days Of Speed.

On As Is Now, excellent tracks liken “Blink And You’ll Miss It” and “Come On/Let’s Go” oddly yet deftly mixes the punk influence of the Jam with the funk and soul flirtations of the Style Council. Weller gives us a curveball, puts out surprises like “Here’s The Good News” where he goes honky-tonk with the piano.

Yes, I may be a fan of the man, but take my word for it, As Is Now is one of Weller’s best albums. Crowned with the beautiful “All On A Misty Morning” and the gritty “From The Floorboards Up,” the modfather further proves that music gets better with age.


Published in: on May 13, 2008 at 5:10 am  Leave a Comment  
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Singer/songwriter Steve Madewell uses dramatic textures to enhance song experiences

Written by Carson James
To these ears, Steve Madewell is a painter as well as a musician. Too often in this genre, we give such an emphasis on the craft of songwriting that we neglect the creativity needed for the arrangements. Not so with Madewell. Here is an artist who spent as much time and effort into making every track on his album Arrow Creek sparkle like his words. Let’s take a trip into Madewell’s world, one that spans historical events and geographical territories.
Carson James: You differ dramatically from many other singer/songwriters, past and present, by placing as much emphasis on sonic texture as your lyrics. Are you influenced by movie composers, too? If so, which ones?
Steve Madewell: Well, a song is a story set to music. For me sonic texture has a tremendous impact on the power of the message in the lyrics. Arrow Creek is very sparse, and I was working to make the texture of the music that is there as dramatic as I could, especially for what I was working with, including emptiness. I can listen to some songs for years and never hear the lyrics because I can’t get beyond the texture of the music. Speaking of beyond, the song “Beyond Where I Have Been” was a lyric that I liked, and I had a kind of Gospel thing in mind. Every recording I did sounded way too “march” like. So much so that I wouldn’t even share a demo with Caroline Quine, who was helping me with the project. I was in the barn one night trying to work it down to the essence of the tune, and scotch played a big role in that effort. I recorded the version that is on the disc that night and sent it via Internet to Caroline. She really liked it and when I played it back it was like, “Who played that?” But it got to where I needed it to be. So, yes, texture is important – no, critical. I appreciate a good sound track. Some of my favorites include Hustle and Flow and T-Bone [Burnett] is at the top of my list. Eddie Vetter’s Into The Wild is great and I’m Not There has a killer soundtrack. I think Once is not only a good soundtrack but that recording sequence does a great job depicting what that whole scene can be like, too.
James: There’s substance to your lyrics, but you write about a variety of topics beyond the formula of love found and lost, especially the plight of a Native American hero on “Who Will Weep for Me.” Are these subjects personal to you in a deeper way that we, the listeners, are not aware of?
Madewell: I hope they are just as deep to you as they are for me. An interesting thing about “Who Will Weep For Me” is the connection that the story makes with the loss of a family farm, i.e. a way of life (and even the loss of the neighbor who is telling the story) and the loss of Logan’s family and subsequently the loss of the Native American people’s way of life. It is a song as much about suburban sprawl as it is anything. I have worked on many farms as a kid and young adult and that way of life is truly in decline. I heard a Native American address a land conservation conference, and he delivered an invocation in his native language which he interpreted. He asked the attendees to be blessed with their efforts to protect and preserve the rare and endangered plants and animals on Earth and to be blessed in their efforts to protect open space, but he also asked for someone to work to protect his people from extinction for in his tribal subset he was one of only 19 remaining. The two ideas fit together. And the Chief Logan story is one of many many heart-wrenching events that occurred in the early history of this country. As a general observation, people have no idea what has historically gone on around them. Consequently, they have a limited sense of where they live, limited value or reverence to their surroundings and inadvertently a diminished sense of self.
James: “Is This What We Have Become” questions the shift in priorities of baby-boomers, namely the idealists of the late ’60s. Do you feel that people have become increasingly materialistic over the past few decades? Why do you think that happened?
Madewell: That song came out of the experience of having in a very short period of time several people from my past look me up and tell me how screwed up they were and one asked me to forgive them for something that happened 30 years ago. Leaving me thinking: what is up with that? People are looking for some sort of spirituality that takes them away from who they are and the richness of what they have lived. And this explains the growing trend in evangelical fundamentalism. The route that will wash away the sins of your past, but there is a price. And that is “hey baby it is my way or the highway” mantra of most fundamentalist religions, and “Oh, by the way, if you don’t agree with my point of view, you are going to hell or maybe my religion is justified in killing you.” I know a number of people who have jumped on this bandwagon that were certainly out there in their youth that simply clamped down on their children. I know what these folks were doing, and they seemed to live through it. They are productive and good people now. Yes, I have seen my share of casualties on the way, but isn’t life full of them? Don’t we truly learn from these experiences? I am not sure we learn anything from homogeneity. There is so much misdirected money spent on the effects, not the causes of social problems, child rearing, drug abuse, the environment, you name it. Really, it seems that there was a great deal of talk but limited commitment by us boomers to seek meaningful change. Don’t get me wrong, there are some wonderful exceptions, and the world is a better place for the efforts of those people who have worked to keep those ideas of the ’60s and ’70s alive, but all and all we just settled into being comfortable, fat, and consumed with wanting more. We know better, but history has demonstrated time and time again crisis creates change. We’ll keep at it until we create a crisis. Also after 9/11 happened, I found myself walking around airports with people in uniform slinging semi-automatic weapons on their shoulders, and we began to live in the social self lock down. Hey man, I am not in some little country somewhere, I am in Cleveland, Ohio. Please don’t get me started.
James: The production and mixing on your album is stellar. How much time was put into this project to achieve that pristine audio quality?
Madewell: Thank you very much. I spent a considerable amount of time with mic placement. There is really not much there, very open arrangements. I worked a great deal on the texture of the tunes. Trying to get the right openness. I was trying to get a sound like you are sitting in a stairwell playing the guitar. Michael Joly helped me with some suggestions and also did some modification on a couple of my mics. The recording was done with flat EQ, no compression, no effects going in at all. Several of Caroline’s vocal tracts were built around pieces I emailed from Ohio to Colorado that she recorded and e-mailed back. She recorded everything dry and was using Pro Tools and an AT 4040 mic I think. I used bits and pieces from three different tracks of Billy Lestocks’ slide mandolin piece to get the stereo field I wanted on “Climb,” and I sort of did the same thing with the bowed bass and upright bass for “Is This What We Have Become.” Everything else was very straightforward and recorded on a Korg D 1600 with Oktava mics and a couple art tube preamps. Afterwards, I added some reverb, multiband compression and sweetened up the EQ. Oh yes, Alex Bevan set the final master EQ, and I think he was using Digital Performer.
James: How long have you been writing songs? How has your music evolved since then?
Madewell: I wrote my first tunes when I was 14 or so and did some of my own material in high school rock bands. Really, I needed to make a living and was playing cover tunes for the past several decades until it was time to start writing songs again. I have been pretty much consumed with my conservation gig for the past 30 years and written volumes and volumes of proposal for environmental grants and such. I played in clubs and bars for many years because I needed the extra money and then also just to keep doing music. I was afraid if I quit gigging I would be done. In the past few years I stopped playing out over the winter months to give myself time to write songs and allow the music that has been brewing all these years to come out. In one way I guess the song ideas have evolved in my efforts to tell the story in a place or create a surrounding for it. I never thought about what that could do for the image of a song years ago. It’s funny though as some of these tunes I hear as band pieces, but I don’t have the time to do that right now, so I put the effort into finding a stripped down version that works.

Americana singer/songwriter Lisa Dudley finds inspiration in patriotism, sacrifices of troops

Written by Carson James

America seems to be in a state of confusion right now, caught in a whirlpool of political divide and indecision, fatigue over the war in Iraq, and a troubling recession. So singer/songwriter Lisa Dudley caught me by surprise with her unflinching and sincerely felt patriotism, one that does not swing left or right but instead reaches into this country’s warm red, white, and blue heart.

Carson James: “Bring ‘Em Home, Lord” can be interpreted as being about soldiers currently serving in Iraq. Was this the basis for the lyrics? Or does the tune actually predate the current war?

Lisa Dudley: I wrote “Bring ‘Em Home, Lord” for the miners when they were trapped in the hole.  It’s a prayer I used to say when I handed my husband his lunch box and sent him off to work.  “Bring him home, lord.”  Then I found myself doing it when I put children on a school bus.  “Bring them home, lord.”  When I found out all those men were trapped, I sat down at my piano and wrote the song, “Bring ‘Em Home, Lord.”  If you remember, one man did get out of there alive. Prayer works. And miracles happen.

James: You have a lot of classic country influences in your songs. Is that the music you grew up on? How did you become exposed to it, and who were your biggest influences within that genre?

Dudley: I was raised on classical music almost exclusively and a little Joan Baez and the Kingston Trio when I was very little.  As an adult, I bought a new car that had a new radio feature — scanning — and I heard a voice that blew me away. It was Vince Gill. I stopped the radio at that country station and never changed it again. I was completely hooked on Vince Gill, and he changed my life forever. The song was, “I Never Knew Lonely.” I was stunned that one song could do that to me. I was made so aware of how lonely I was in my marriage. Two years later, I divorced my husband and moved to Nashville. I am very influenced by Dolly Parton.  I have big boobs, too!  The other influence was Townes Van Zandt.  I met him before he died.  We partied together.  I don’t drink so I just watched him drink a whole bottle of something or another. But he kept asking me to sing more and more of my songs and telling me how good they are. I keep a photo of him in my office so I can remember how good my songs are.

James: What’s the story behind “Twenty-One Guns”?

Dudley: Harry Moore and I were living together in my pace arrow motor home in the driveway of Valerie Amerling’s home in Lebanon, TN, about a half hour east of Nashville.  One night I went into the house to shower and found her husband Ray Shell had passed over and met his maker – right there in his favorite chair.  We transported him and Valerie to Kentucky to be buried, and he had a full military funeral for an officer of the Air Force. I had never seen a military funeral before and I was blown away by the white gloves and the way they move their hands across the flag as they fold it. We wanted to honor Ray because the last thing he had said the night before he died was, “I never got any respect for Korea, and I never got any respect for Vietnam.” Originally we wrote the song for Vietnam veterans and we sang it that way for a long time. Vietnam veterans would cry when they heard it. Harry was a Vietnam vet. When Harry’s son went into the Marines and was sent to Iraq, he asked me to rewrite the lyrics to be more modern and reflect all war.  Shortly after I did that, Harry died.  Three friends of mine, all Vietnam vets, died a month apart that year.  That was tough for me.  All the songs on my next album, Angels Will Carry You Home, came from that experience. There’s only one more thing he asked me to do before he died.  He asked me to get “Angel on My Shoulder” to Josh Turner. I haven’t figured out how to do that yet.

James: There are many young people who feel that patriotism is corny and outdated. Why do you think they’ve grown to feel this way and have you encountered experiences to the contrary?

Dudley: I don’t think patriotism is corny and outdated at all. I was raised overseas, and I have experienced martial law. It isn’t funny to always wonder if you’ll be put in jail and to live in fear in a world with curfews. We have incredible freedoms here and I for one appreciate them. However, let me say this.  I do not believe we should curtail our civil liberties. I am fiercely patriotic but it doesn’t mean I always agree with what our government does.  But as an American citizen, I still have the right to speak how I feel. Unfortunately, now I can have my phone tapped if I say it too loudly.  My grandparents on my father’s side were immigrants from Germany.  I remember them taking us with them to vote.  It was a really important thing to do, especially after becoming American citizens.  They held hands and it was a loving, patriotic, magnificent thing to watch.  I wouldn’t have a man in my life who didn’t vote.  Voting is important. In my town, we recently lost the election by 17 votes.  If 18 people had gotten off their bottoms and voted we would have won. I don’t have kind things to say to people who think their vote and their voice doesn’t count. 

James: You don’t make a political statement in your EP as either being pro or against the war. Was that a conscious decision?

Dudley: I feel I have to support our troops and their families and the returning veterans.  But I have allowed my song to be placed on Neil Young’s site.  And it was in the Top-10 three times. I could have put out a longer CD. I have lots of “soldier songs,” and I play them for veteran’s events.  I chose to put out just the EP because I think it says it all.  I pray for the troops to come home safely, I sing an anthem to my country (that contains the line “I will fight for their right to speak as they please…”), and I celebrate the life of a soldier who believed in his country enough to die for it.

James: How long have you been writing lyrics? Do all of your songs reflect real-life experiences or about people that you know? Is it easier to write that way?

Dudley: I started seriously writing lyrics after a bad car accident with a double head injury.  Believe it or not, angels came to me and started speaking to me, and I was told to purchase an old autoharp and to write songs.  Yes, all my songs are true stories.  I wouldn’t know what to write about otherwise. For example, I am working on a demo of a new song called “Buford’s Heart.”  It’s basically a true story in that my uncle stayed alive long enough to get to the hospital and have his parts harvested for transplant.  We got a letter thanking us and telling us 16 people had benefitted – two retinas, two corneas, two lungs, two kidneys, his heart… but not his liver! So the new song is about Buford, a man who parties hearty and then dies in a car crash.  His heart is transplanted to a librarian-type who starts dancing on tables.  It’s going to make a great video.  In the song, she sends “Buford’s babies” a letter “thanking them for…Buford’s heart!”


Published in: on April 26, 2008 at 6:35 am  Leave a Comment  
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