-How would you describe your music?
Teardrop Deluxe is nine simple songs about love, loss, and lamentation; with some vibey, atmospheric instrumentation.
For years, I’ve wanted to make a “rainy-night” album that’s sad, without being depressing. I have always had an affinity for the great balladeers such as; Johnnie Ray, Roy Orbison, and Sinatra, along with late-model crooners like Morrissey, Chris Isaak, and Richard Hawley. These artists have recorded some of the greatest, heart-wrenchingly sad songs of all time, and they always make me feel really good when I listen to them. I’d like to think Teardrop Deluxe has elements of the aforementioned artists, along with a little post-punk for good measure.
-You have such a unique voice and sound, who inspired that in you? Where did you learn to sing like you do?
Elvis Presley, Morrissey, Ian McCulloch, Jim Reid… I guess it’s from years of singing along to their records that I sing the way that I do.
-Can you give our readers a little history on your history with bands The Buddies and Welcome to Ashley?
I write songs and sing in both Welcome to Ashley and The Buddies. The other players in WTA are Jeremy Barrett (bass guitar), Pete Javier (guitar) and Sherrlia Bailey (drums). Jeremy, Pete, and I started making music together over 20 years ago. WTA formed in the late ’90s in Nashville, then migrated to Chicago around 2000. Pete, Jeremy, and myself joined forces with Nashvillians – Kim Collins, Scott Collins, and Justin Collins to form The Buddies. Justin, Kim, Scott, Jeremy, and Pete all played on Teardrop Deluxe. Justin Collins also produced, along with Adam Landry.
-How is BLACK VINCENT different from anything else you have done?
This is my first album as BLACK VINCENT. The album as a whole is more mellow, melancholic, and atmospheric than the albums of The Buddies and WTA. The vocals are more laid back. Scott Collins’ slide guitar is all over Teardrop Deluxe, along with keys by Justin and Adam. Very little keys on The Buddies albums. No keys on WTA albums.
-What is your process for writing a song?
I sit down with my mandolin, and strum chords until I come up with a melody I like. I usually write the chorus next, then build the verses around it. I send a simple recording of the song to the usual suspects, and leave it to them to do what they do.
-Does this new album mean more Nashville time for you?
I have several unrecorded songs. I hope to record an EP, or even a single with the gang this year, with Justin and Adam as producers.
-Can you tell me the story behind “Smilin’ Jim is Down Again” or “Her Love”?
Several years ago, I had a great aunt who was telling stories about her husband, Jim. He was a journeyman boxer. She spoke of how the local paper’s sports headline once read, “SMILIN’ JIM IS DOWN AGAIN!” Jim had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s a year before her telling this story. The headline, “SMILIN’ JIM IS DOWN AGAIN!” always resonated with me. I knew I’d eventually write a song about it. More than just about Jim, the journeyman boxer down-for-the-count as the crowd waits, the title is a metaphor about this handsome, charismatic, man coming to terms with the fact that he was dying of Alzheimer’s disease, and the fact that those who love him can only wait. I thought about the fact that one day, even something as familiar as a photograph of him and the love of his life will appear as nothing more than two strangers to him. Aside from the fact that my great aunt was a poet, and Jim was a fighter, the rest of the song is just a result of me daydreaming, and how I envisioned these two young lovers in the ’40s and ’50s.
“Her Love” is just a simple love song. I wrote it for my wife, the mother of my one year old child.
-What is next for you? Any shows lined up?
I’d like to do an album release in Nashville, in the very near future.
A big thanks to Coley Kennedy for doing this interview!