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Edgehill Avenue - Interview

  by Carl Bookstein

published: 28 / 8 / 2011

Edgehill Avenue - Interview


Carl Bookstein speaks to Drew Perkins, the frontman with classic rock/Americana Louisville, Kentucky-based group Edgehill Avenue about his band's third album 'Just Out of Sight’

Imagine yourself on an American highway headed west as a powerful mountainscape comes into view. Such is the imagery Edgehill Avenue conjures on their new and latest album ‘Just Out of Sight’. Edgehill Avenue’s third album tackles subject matter from wishful thinking to the relevancy of religion; all the while delivering their take on 1970s influenced classic rock and Americana. The Louisville, Kentucky based band features lead vocalist, guitarist and primary songwriter Drew Perkins who spoke here with Pennyblackmusic. His fellow band members include Mike McLaughlin, John Poole, LaMont Melson and Paul Nevitt. Edgehill Avenue’s music is well crafted, easygoing and down home. Encompassing rock with touches of alternative country and even blues, their latest music is lovingly written and well produced. The vocals are earthbound and straight ahead. The guitar sounds are inspired and prominent.All in all ‘Just Out of Sight’ is feel good music- well suited for turning up the volume and heading out on the road. PB: Was the process of creating the new album ‘Just Out of Sight’ a rewarding one, and how do you feel about the end result? DP: It was absolutely one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had. From the time we started working with our producer Joey Prather to leaving the studio, it was so great to truly immerse ourselves in the music and use an outside perspective to sort of live inside the songs a bit differently. Working with Joey was great because he pushed us to think differently than we were used to. Having those musical conversations with someone who spoke my language was a real treat. It’s a rare occurrence for me. And since Saint Claire (www.saint-claire.com), where we recorded, is residential the time in the studio was really just that total immersion for like 12 hours a day which for me is a luxury. Saint Claire has hosted some great artists like Alejandro Escovedo and engineers like Neil Dorfsman, so having a top notch studio and a great team of engineers at our disposal almost felt excessive…we definitely felt like we had to bring our best. I think that shows through in the recording. I definitely feel like it’s our best sounding record sonically and in the sense of song writing. Donna Mason was just spectacular on backing vocals, and Zach McNees and Carl Saff did just a fantastic job of mixing and mastering respectively. PB: ‘Wishing Tree’ speaks to “the burden of life”, but then states that “life is good under the wishing tree.” Would you say the band is overall optimistic? DP: Hmmm, well I’ve been accused a time or two of being perhaps overly cynical but that song definitely does put me in a better place. I think many people can relate to that sense of feeling trapped by the duties of life and the walls that we surround ourselves with ,so that 'Wishing Tree' is one of those places where you can go, whether it’s in your mind or some real place, to just escape those things. For me it’s getting outdoors and into those open spaces like the mountains with a good beer and time to really let my mind wander. PB: Is there a happening local Louisville, Kentucky music scene that has influenced your work? DP: There is definitely a music scene in Louisville, Kentucky although I’m not sure how much it has really influenced my writing…but definitely some great bands. I’ve lived and travelled around the US and the world ,and I once had someone tell me my writing should be labelled “Modern Mobile American”. PB: There are poignant references to the road on the new album. Does the band possess any particular on the road ethic that is important in the way it thinks and writes songs? DP: Maybe mostly in that we have a pretty strong blue-collar work ethic. I really enjoy working in the studio and in rehearsals and that probably comes through in my writing. PB: Edgehill Avenue seems to adopt a 1970s influenced classic rock approach. Can you speak to the band’s musical influences? DP: Well, that hits the nail pretty well on the head, doesn’t it? Mike, Paul and I are children of 70’s classic rock, bands like Pink Floyd, the Allman Brothers, Tom Petty and even newer bands like the Black Crowes who are clearly working on those same vibes. LaMont is a huge Prince fan and brings a cool sense of R&B to the tunes, and John being a big Beatles lover brings that sensibility to the table. PB: How did the band originally come together? DP: Mike and I met at a coffee house open-mic where I really didn’t even know why I was there. I had no intention of looking for band partners, but hearing his playing really sparked my interest and it developed somewhat quickly from there. It didn’t take long to find LaMont and John but we did go through a few keys players before finding Paul who is the “new guy” to the band after like three years. PB: Do you feel the progress the band has made in three albums is significant? DP: Wow, I sure hope so right? I’d say that we’ve made huge strides in learning how to play together and that has opened up so many writing avenues (no pun intended) ,so that’s been gratifying. If you listen to our earliest recording when we were still on acoustic guitars full time, you certainly hear a much less mature band. PB: Do you see some sort of “end of the world” vision behind the song ‘Reckoning Day'? Can you speak to the meaning of ‘Reckoning Day'? DP: Ha, well, it’s probably only an “end of the world” for the person the song is about. The phrase is one that I’ve always loved and is used in a line from one of my favourite movies, ‘Tombstone.’ Something like, “make no mistake, it’s not revenge he’s after, it’s the reckoning.” The song itself is more about that build-up of anger and frustration and how sometimes you feel like you’d just love nothing more than to go to the ends of the earth to let that out. That song probably makes me sound like a pretty horrible person though, doesn’t it? PB: What is next for Edgehill Avenue including any current touring plans? DP: At this point we’re taking a look at some licensing opportunities and how we want to support this record as well as where we want to go with the next one. We don’t do this for the money but having a little come our way sure does help. In the new world of digital downloads and Spotify it’s increasingly difficult. We’ve done some regional shows this summer and we’ve always had a great response from our European and UK fans, so we would love to come overseas for the right opportunity. I’ll also be doing some solo shows, so that should be fun. PB: Thank you.

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Edgehill Avenue - Interview

Edgehill Avenue - Interview

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