Falling for Johnnyswim

ImageAfter six years of working as a professional journalist, I still get nervous interviewing some people — especially people who are as beautiful as the couple behind Johnnyswim. This rootsy duo recently played a show at the Spoleto Festival, and I chatted with them beforehand about everything from meeting on Myspace to volunteering in orphanages. Turns out, they’re both so sweet, my anxiety melted away in about two minutes. Check out the interview here.

Ketching Up.

I’ve been a fan of Old Crow Medicine show since I first heard “Wagon Wheel.” So it was a bit of a thrill to interview founding member Ketch Secor. He definitely made it worth my while.

“We’ve educated a lot of people,” Secor says. “Not like we sat them down and taught them or read some of the history — nothing like that — rather by making the music exciting again and making it significant again, making it matter, by making jugs and harps and harmony-singing and songs about hard work and fiddle tunes and square dance songs … by making those songs present again, we’ve managed to assist in a whole generation of people rediscovering the music.”

Read the full article here.

Ebony Hillbillies.

You never know what you might see in a New York City subway. If you’re lucky, it’ll be a group of older black men playing old-time string music. The Ebony Hillbillies play everything from classic tunes like “Oh Susannah” to Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing.” Fiddler and vocalist Henrique Prince argued that it’s not that strange to hear their down-home music in such a “Yankee” town.

“This is going to be a great shock to you — you might want to hold on to something — but the oldest made board banjo in the United States was found up in Carytown, N.Y.,” Prince says. “The truth is that the music is based all over the country, so it’s no big deal for Northerners to play it. I guess because they say music is a universal language, and even within different genres of the music, it’s still universal.”

Read more from Prince here.

Avetts.

Back in 2009, I interviewed the Avett Brothers’ upright bassist Bob Crawford just before the release of their Rick Rubin-produced major label debut, I and Love and You. We talked about the band’s evolution as they’re getting older.

“A lot of the themes are getting broader and deeper,” Crawford says. “In the old days, you had those pretty girl songs and songs about guys and girls being in love. Being in love, courtship and dating and heartbreak and cars and traveling seem to be a lot of our older themes. I think as people grow and go into different phases in their lives, they get older and you get a family and begin to deal with other issues. I think that a lot of the songs on this record kind of touch on the next phase in life.”

You can read the full interview here.

Rilo Kiley.

Photo by Autumn De Wilde

When I interviewed Rilo Kiley drummer Jason Boesel back in 2008, I was amused to learn that the band had some interesting vices.

“We’ll be having a Lost party tonight. We’re pretty into that,” says Boesel, referring to the hit TV show. “We had nine shows in a row and kinda got burnt out at the end of that, but now we have a day off. So we’re sort of recuperating.”

Read more about the band and their album Under the Blacklight here.