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A Dirty Dozen with LYNNE HANSON – January 2020

| 25 January 2020 | Reply


According to a recent press release: “Canadian singer/songwriter Lynne Hanson is set to release her seventh studio album, Just Words, on February 7, 2020. The new album marks something of an artistic departure for Hanson, who purposely tapped producer Jim Bryson (Oh Susanna, Skydiggers) to push and pull her outside of her comfort zone. Contoured and textured, the result is a more powerful sound than on efforts past, more Steve Earle than Gillian Welch, with a vulnerable underbelly.”  We get Lynne to discuss new music, influences, and much more…

Photo Credit: Jen Squires

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

For the last track, “Would You Still,” I had originally envisioned a banjo playing the groove and then building the track from there.  But guitar player Kevin Breit really molded that track with some of the effects he had in the “bucket of pedals” he brought into the studio that day.  There was one pedal in particular that only makes one sampled sound, which is repeated throughout the entire track, that to me really anchors the tune.  It’s the kind of thing a listener might not notice the first or second time around, but if you were to remove it now, I would feel that there was a major hole in the production.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

I have loved writing and songs for as long as I can remember.  I was in a long-term relationship with a guitar player, and we toured his songs for about five years.  When we split up, I started writing songs, and released my first album in 2006.  I’ve felt that I’ve always been a writer, but the idea of actually touring around playing songs to pay the bills was really something that came after I’d already put out a few records.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

I think Lucinda Williams has a huge influence on my music.  I definitely embraced the concept of telling the truth with my lyrics after spending an entire fall listening to her “Car Wheels On A Gravel Road” album.  In terms of my style though, it was “Useless Desire” by Patty Griffin that made me think of song lyrics as something visual.  I think I had that song on repeat for about three months and listened to it a thousand times.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Patty Griffin, Lucinda Williams, Buddy and Julie Miller, Steve Earle, and Bruce Springsteen.  The first four influences would have been as an adult, while I think being exposed to Springsteen through my older brothers and sisters likely had a big role to play in me gravitating towards singer-songwriters.

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Jason Isbell.  I love his songwriting and the attention he gives to his craft.   I’d love to do a co-write with him.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

I think I most definitely fall into the Americana category, but that doesn’t always translate, so these days I describe it as too tough for folk, and too blues-influenced for country.  I’ve mostly been compared to Lucinda Williams with a little side of Steve Earle.  I have to admit I can’t think of a comparison that I’ve seen that I had an issue with.

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

You clearly have never hung out with me and my band.   We DO however tend to have wildly deep philosophical discussions in the tour van for hours on end.   I have a lot of different players that I tour with, so I try not to get too attached to them as people (kidding).

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

I don’t tend to get starstruck, but I WILL admit to being just a little nervous playing a solo support slot in front of Albert Lee when saw him and the band standing side stage watching me play in England.  Nothing like having one of the world’s greatest guitar players listening to make one acutely aware of the fact he would hear every mistake I might make.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

I get to play my songs for people for a living, which is an incredible privilege. No matter how road weary I might get, or even discouraged at times, I know that I have the best job in the world, because I get to do something I love more than anything else in the world.  If I couldn’t be a musician, my dream job would be to be a nanny for giant pandas at the zoo.  Giant pandas are my second favourite thing, so if I got to hang out with them all day and take care of them, it would be a close second to my current job.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

I’m pretty sure I have been asked every single question imaginable at one time or another.  Except for question number 11.  Which I’m looking forward to answering.  As far as a question I’m tired of… the “who do you sound like” question.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

Well, I’ve been sober now for a little over eight years, so believe me there are several moments I’d like to do over.  🙂   I think it’s hard to pin down a single incident, and I don’t think there were any real lasting ramifications for any missteps, but I think I’ve become a much better songwriter and certainly person to be around since I gave up drinking and other substances.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Bruce Springsteen’s The River.  There’s not a bad song on the record.  And that harmonica STILL gives me goosebumps to this day when the song comes on.





Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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