Interviews

Interviewing Logan Brill

September 30, 2017

Logan Brill is a country singer/songwriter from Knoxville, TN. Over the past year and a half she’s introduced herself and her music to British audiences, playing sets at Nashville Meets London and Country to Country. October will see her return to British shores to play Country Music Week, a week long event with shows being played across a whole host of iconic London venues with appearances from both US and UK country artists.

I caught up with Logan whilst she had some rare down time at home in Nashville. We chatted about the release of her latest LP Shuteye, how she got into music, what she loves most about a British audience and more.

Hey Logan. Thank you for taking the time to chat today. How are you?

No, thank you! I’m good, I’m up with my coffee and I’ve just walked my dog and I’m good to go!

What have you been up to recently?

Well honestly I’ve just been kind of in and out on the road. I was just over touring in Ireland doing the Harvest festival which was a lot of fun. I planned some time around it to just have a vacation, which was a lot of fun. And then otherwise just being here in Nashville as much as I can, trying to work on a new record which is really exciting! It’s such a process and takes such a long time but I feel like I’m sort of finally getting to the point where I have this big chunk of songs that I’m really ready to dive in on and start building the record.

You mentioned the Harvest festival. Was that your first gig in Ireland or have you played there before?

It was my very first gig in Ireland, I had visited before but I’d never played there. It was really exciting and it was such a great line up to be a part of. The festival was really well done and it was a lot of fun, I actually saw a lot of people that I’d seen at C2C festival and people that I’d met in the UK that came over and saw the festival. It was exciting to see some familiar faces.

I can imagine, I’ve never been to Ireland before so it would have been great opportunity to go over there. Hopefully they do it next year.

Yeah it seems like it was a success so hopefully they’ll do it again next year. Hopefully they won’t have as much rain next time though! They had to bring pumps in to pump out all the water on the field the day before, because they’d had so much rain it was like a lake in front of the stage! They recovered well and it ended up working out.

It sounds like a typical day in the UK or Ireland weather wise because we get a lot of rain.

Yeah it seems like it. I’ve had a couple of days or rain a couple of times I’ve been over in the UK. When I was in Ireland I had a full two weeks almost of mostly sunshine and it was really awesome and everyone kept assuring me that was not normal!

Is there a country that you haven’t performed in already that you’d like to perform in?

I definitely would love to do some more touring over in Europe. A country that I’ve actually wanted to play in is France. I actually got my college degree in french and spent some time over there and roughly speak the language now, although it’s been quite a while since I’ve used it! Over the years I’ve done a couple of french songs here and there and it would be fun to play those in France.

A college degree in french? So what got you into music?

Yeah it was a strange choice for sure! I moved to Nashville to go to a college here called Belmont. It’s a small private school with maybe 4,000 students or so. It honestly isn’t much bigger than the high school I went to. I moved to town and needed something to get me started and I didn’t really know what that was. I decided to study voice at Belmont and did about a year of that and just didn’t feel the programme was for me. There was so much outside work outside of studying, going to rehearsals, recitals, the opera, and it was just not my cup of tea. I really wanted to have time outside of school to write and network in the business and play shows and so I eventually decided to switch over to french. My Grandpa was an airplane pilot and has travelled all over the world and he lived in France for a while. He had a little apartment in the south of France and I got to go over there when I was 12 or 13, I just started picking up the language then and studied it ever since. I’ll never forget the silence on the end of the phone when I called my parents to tell them though!

I’ve heard of Belmont, the Striking Matches guys went there. Do you know those guys?

Yeah I do.

I’m learning mandolin at the moment and my teacher used to teach at Belmont.

No way!

Who were your influences growing up?

You know I think my parents’ generation of music was kind of my biggest influence. our house was full of music all the time! We had musical instruments everywhere we didn’t really do anything without listening to music. We were listening to Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, but we were also listening to EmmyLou Harris and Dwight Yoakam. It was a really wide range of musicians in the americana, folk, country, and rock world, which I think really built up my sound the way that it is today. That generation of music was really inspiring to me the 70s was the best decade of music ever. I started singing blues originally that was my first thing I fell in love with. I love Bonnie Raitt she is one of my favourites. I always talk about her in interviews but her voice and the way that she carries herself was a huge inspiration to me growing up. You know I just wanted to be able to get up on stage and have this blues voice that fills the whole space. so I started singing her stuff. There’s definitely a lot of that blues sound vocally for me in my music as well.

You mentioned about your house being full of musical instruments growing up which sounds a lot like my house when I was growing up too.

Really?

Yeah my Mum is a Brass player but she also had flute and a clarinet amongst others. We had enough instruments to start our own music shop!

That’s awesome! Just to have access to all that stuff growing up is just great. We had a banjo, violin, a Djembe African drum, guitars. My dad lives in a cabin in the middle of the woods and he has 40 acres of land in East Tennessee so I spent a lot of my childhood out in the middle of nowhere. As a kid my entertainment was to pick an instrument off the wall and spend a couple of hours fiddling around with it. I’m lucky that I had that access to those instruments growing up and I wasn’t necessarily distracted by anything else, that was just what we did.

You had quite an eclectic mix of instruments, the Djembe sounds cool! Did you learn any instruments at a serious level besides guitar?

I did piano lessons for a little while when I was a kid but never really caught on to it. I then took up the violin at the age of 7 or 8 and played it all the way through high school. I don’t know why but I stopped playing after a while and focused on guitar. Looking back now I think it’s a shame because I really loved it, and it would have been cool to have in shows. I could probably pick it up again at some point but it’s been such a long time now it would take brushing some dust off! Guitar was my main thing I found it to be more accessible to writing songs and singing and it was more about accompanying myself and being able to sing songs that I wanted to sing that brought me to guitar more so than violin.

What are your interests outside of music?

I feel like I tend to do music 99 per cent of the time whether it’s being on tour, or if I’m home I’m writing and working on new music. The time that I have where I’m not doing music is spent mostly just catching up with friends of mine when I’m back home. I also love to cook when I’m home and I think thats because I don’t have a kitchen I can work with when I’m out of town, otherwise I like to read a lot. I tend to come back to whatever I can do outside of music that sort of feeds back into my music, I tend to be hyper focused on it, whether that means reading something I hope will inspire music or you know, taking time by myself to think about new song ideas.

Your latest album Shuteye was released back in 2015 stateside, but it’s new to the UK market. Why do you feel now is the time to release it here in the UK?

Yeah I think for me it was just you know, touring over in the UK is kinda new to me, as far as I played my first show over there with Nashville meets London in 2016. I really think I found such a connection with the audiences over there and so enjoyed touring there. I really felt like the music resonated with people, it sort of felt like the right thing to do to, releasing the record over there. It’s breathed new life into the record for me.

What are the differences between this record and your previous one?

I put the first record together after not really doing any live tours so I think for Shuteye I realised I wanted a record that moved a little more and intentionally started out with the title track which is really loud and has lots of electric guitars and moves really well. I wanted to say this is a departure from the first record and it’s a little bit higher energy which started to match my live shows. I really wanted to play with a full band and get electric guitars out! I think also I grew up a little bit. Doing the first record was my first time in a studio so I felt like I had more of a footing with this second record, I sense more of an identity in this one I feel like I’ve evolved which is natural for artists.

There’s a cover of Where Rainbows Never Die which was originally done by The Steeldrivers which Chris Stapleton was apart of. How did that come about?

Honestly I was just a big Steeldrivers fan. I love Chris, he’s been in Nashville writing for over a decade. I liked the perspective of it, it felt different to everything else on the record. I feel like an old soul in a lot of ways and that song was my nod at that. It talks about being an old woman being at the end of your life and I don’t know why I identified with that. I called up my producer and told them to listen to the song, he loved it too and we were able to try it out at the next session we had and the rest is history.

Whilst we’re on the subject of covers have you heard of Jess And The Bandits?

I don’t know if I do. They do sound familiar though.

Jess is from Texas and the guys are all from the UK and they’ve covered your song World Still Round.

Oh no way! I did not know that.

How does it feel to know that other artists are finding your songs and covering them?

Wow honestly it feels pretty awesome. I’m so humbled and flattered that they chose to cover one of my songs and put it on their record. I’ll have to go and check it out.

There’s some collaborations on Shuteye too – The Woman On Your Mind and I Wish You Still Loved Me.

Yes, being in Nashville it’s so great to have connections to other artists that live here. David Nail? who sang with me on The Woman On Your Mind is one of the greatest vocalists in country his voice is like butter I swear. I really wanted to have a feature on that song and was lucky to have him sing on it. We were at the same publishing company, Carnival music, so we already had that connection. I think he made that song what it is. For I Wish You Still Loved Me with Charlie Worsham, I know he’s done a lot of touring over there he does really well over there and I’m just a huge fan of his honestly. I sort of had this idea of wanting him to either sing or play or both, on the record, he’s just one of the best guitar players out there and has this great voice too. He was touring up in Canada and just so happened to have a microphone on his tour bus, so he recorded his part whilst on tour and sent it back to us. We put it in the mix and it ended up on the record. I got to sing it live with him at the Grand Ole Opry.

Wow I would absolutely love to go to the Opry one day.

It is pretty incredible honestly the hype is worth it for sure.

I can imagine, I know a lot of artists are quite honoured to play in the circle.

Yeah it really is, it’s such a surreal experience being able to step into the circle and thinking about all the people who have played there before. And of course every dressing room has a whole wall of pictures of people that have played there before, so you get a dose of that before you walk out on stage.

It seems like an inspiring place, not just the Opry but Nashville in general.

It really is. I think there’s a really great collective creativity here. It’s very inclusive which is why I love it so much. It’s been compared to LA where everyone is hyper focused on what they are doing. People come here and it’s like a breath of fresh air, people offer to play on each others records or share the same band for a live show. It’s really inspiring but competitive which I think is healthy for this industry because it raises the standard a little bit. It’s a city but feels like a small town.

Going back to Charlie, he’s playing here in a couple of months opening for Lucie Silvas.

I love Lucie and I wish I could be at one of those shows!

Obviously she’s a Brit who has gone out there to do her stuff.

Yeah so many people know and love her here. She’s got a magnetic personality and I think her voice is just one of my favourites, it has so much feeling in it. Her song Just For The Record is one of my favourite songs in a long time, she is so talented and her and Charlie are really good friends. We’re happy to have her in Nashville, her husband John actually guitar played on my first record, he was doing studio work at the time and I was blown away by his talent.

I loved John’s band Brothers Osbourne at C2C.

Yeah I was blown away by many artists at C2C. I’m looking forward to seeing the acts at Country Music Week too.

We’ve never had a full week dedicated to country music here. It’s exciting for us.

Yes I know I’m so excited!

There’s a few UK acts to watch out for at Country Music Week if you get time too.

I feel there’s a few UK acts that I’d like to check out for sure. There’s a great line up.

What is it about British audiences that makes you want to come back?

Its a deep appreciation for music that I feel from the audiences in the UK. I feel like I get the same response playing. I did a Rolling Stones cover the first time I played Nashville meets London and right after that I played a b-side ballad that was on a record I released in 2013. I feel like there’s the same level of appreciation for both songs. They are also interested in hearing original music, and I get the sense that they deeply appreciate it. It feels like I’ve met so many great people there that I’ve connected with really well. It feels like coming home for me when I play there and it’s a breath of fresh air when I get to play for audiences there.

A lot of US acts have said they love the attentive audiences here.

Yeah it’s so different to touring the States and I don’t know if it’s because we’re so much bigger over here that it’s over saturated. It takes a lot of touring to even begin to develop a following in one region of the US. You can only really hit one city once every year maybe unless you’re touring really heavily. So maybe it feels like you’re having more of an impact coming over to the UK because it feels more compact.

You’ve performed a song called Break Each Other’s Hearts live a few times at live shows. What inspired that song and will it be on the album?

Yes I have, and yes it will be definitely on the record. It was inspired by Bonnie Raitt. I finally got to see her live this year, my stepdad bought me tickets for Christmas. She said at the end of the show “if we didn’t break each others hearts in this world nobody would be around to write these songs and nobody would give a damn to listen to them anyway” and I thought that was a pretty brilliant idea. It was one of those songs that was written in about an hour and a half.

Any idea when the new album will be out?

It’s still a work in progress. I’m in the studio this week to kick off the first couple of songs which I’m really excited about. I’d say beginning of next year on the horizon, it really takes time to get the right band, and the right producer. and the right songs, so I’m trying to be patient with the process but I’m definitely ready to get a new record out there but no official date yet.

I look forward to hearing it when it’s ready.

Thank you! I’m really excited to be finally putting new music out, it’s been so long. I know I’m putting newer to the UK music out, but for me being able to play new songs is going to be really exciting.

Just to wrap up, are there any artists that you think UK audiences should watch out for?

Jillian Jacqueline is really talented and she’s just released four or five songs, her music has a pop element to it. Also the Walker McGuire guys they are super talented. They are definitely ones to watch out for. Those are the two I can think of off the top of my head that are part of the up and coming world. They are both playing shows as part of Country Music Week too.

Find out more about Country Music Week and get tickets here

Purchase Shuteye here

 

 

 

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