My new year kicks off nicely with a boost from the Eugene Register Guard (specifically, musical writer Serena Markstrom) who lists “Hard to Believe” as one of the Best Local Songs of 2011.
It’s my simplest, rootsiest country tune off Villain. A broken-hearted country lament in the classic male/female duet style. I credit my duet partner Halie Loren for putting it over the top, and producer Ehren Ebbage and guitarist Al Toribio for injecting just the right amount of twang.
Now, if I can find someone to help me shop the tune around Nashville, I will pay such a person handsomely in foot massages, grilled cheese sandwiches, and untold royalty percentages.
Serena Markstrom, from the Eugene Register Guard, interviewed me by phone last week as I waited outside The Gypsy Den for my time to play. It was a long phone call, preparing coverage for the Villain release at Sam Bond’s Garage.
Serena asks delving, insightful questions–questions for which one’s answers can’t be rehearsed. She also does a lot of the talking herself, in a two-sided conversation, which leads to spontaneity and a real context for the interview.
Coverage of CD release parties–reviews, previews, or interviews–ostensibly serves to publicize and promote for the artist and the venue. But if that’s all they do, a journalist can get lazy, rushing through a list of generic questions, the answers to which I’ve given a hundred times.
Ms. Markstrom’s journalist obligation is to her readers more than to the subject. She’s mining for copy that someone might actually want to read. (I’ve heard that she works incessantly.) This raises the bar for a performer’s lucidity quotient.
I found us talking about a lot of things seemingly unrelated to the CD Release. Travel, the local scene, writing, family, growing up in the Northwest. The result is more thorough article than you often see on these occasions. It’s not so much a review as a report, taking for granted the integrity of the artist, rather than evaluating it.
That kind of respect means a lot.