As Maverick Festival 2015 is just a few days away, I thought it was a great opportunity to chat with one of the US-based musicians on the line-up this year, Don Gallardo, about the upcoming festival, his new album and his experience of UK audiences.
Life is a Festival: This summer will be your second time at Maverick Festival here in the UK. How did it compare with other festivals you played at? Any memorable moments?
Don: Maverick is one of my favourites. The location and surrounding area is amazing. The people there all like Americana/folk/country, so you know you will get people who will enjoy any act playing. The vibe there is absolutely amazing.
Life is a Festival: You recently launched your fourth album, Hickory, on the UK Americana label Clubhouse Records. For those who have not heard you play live yet, how would you describe your music and what was your inspiration for this particular album?
Don: This album was kind of a coming of age for me. Although its my fourth full-length album and I am pretty darn old, I feel this album holds a lot of very personal issues that I’ve been through and continually go through. It was more of a stepping out of the shadows album and into the real world. I’ve been playing with many great Roots/Americana acts over the years (Rosanne Cash, Jim Lauderdale, John Prine, Emmylou Harris, Elizabeth Cook, Tim Easton, Kevin Gordan, Anne McCue, David Olney, John Fulbright, Tommy Womack, and more) and still feel I’m kind of struggling to be heard. I feel this album is more mature and puts me closer to my goal of being heard by more people. I think it really shows the direction of music I am going. I feel it was done the right way. It wasn’t rushed and the musicianship and songwriting were more elevated than my previous albums.
Life is a Festival: Americana as a genre, if we can call it that, seems to have been increasing in popularity in this country in the past few years. What is your own experience of UK audiences?
Don: UK Audiences are my favorite. Music is a huge part of your culture and I absolutely love playing to UK audiences because you all listen and don’t talk during performances. That is really all an artist wants… is for people to listen. There is no better feeling than being on stage and singing the songs you write and the audience is engaged and right there with you. The audience is a huge part of the songs. If the songs and performance come over good than that’s a result of the audience giving the performer the energy/vibe/platform, so to speak, to perform at that level. The producer of Hickory, David Pinkston and I have already been discussing the next album. I’ve got a handful of songs but have no plans as of yet to begin the process of recording. Future touring….well Amy Speace and I have been talking a bit about doing some short tours regionally in the US. Who knows maybe we’ll do something over in the UK too.
Thanks a lot to Don for the interview! You can catch him live at Maverick Festival 2015, which takes place from 3-5 July at the idyllic Easton Farm Park in Suffolk (a mere hop, skip and jump from London) and is a family – and dog! – friendly boutique festival for Americana fans and anyone else with good taste in live music.
Don’s latest album Hickory is out on Clubhouse Records and he is touring the UK this July including a shared gig with Hannah Aldridge at the Green Note in Camden, London, on 14 July. For reviews of music, food and the atmosphere at Maverick Festival check out my blog posts from previous years: 2013, 2014.