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A Dirty Dozen with JAMESON ELDER and HANNA RAE from ELDR – October 2021

| 1 November 2021 | Reply

Photo credit: Alaina Broyles

According to a recent press release: “Nashville-based Americana duo ELDR (husband-and-wife pair Jameson Elder and Hanna Rae) is set to release a debut EP, Nowhere Else To Go, on October 29, 2021. After having successful solo careers, the two decided to finally join forces during the pandemic, marrying Rae’s folk-pop with Elder’s roots-rock. With influences ranging from Drew and Ellie Holcomb to The Lone Bellow, Rae and Elder found a way to meet right in the middle of their individual sounds. They wrote and produced the EP almost entirely in their Nashville home while the nation was in lockdown: both ELDR and Nowhere Else To Go were born of that difficult year, 2020. Songs on the EP range from the deep sorrow of “Coming Undone,” written the week that lockdown hit, to “Safe With You,” a lively folk-rock song that highlights the joy of having someone to walk with you through uncertain circumstances.” We get the duo to discuss new music, influences, and more…

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?

Jameson: People who have listened to projects we both have released in the past would probably think that this is exactly what they would expect to hear from a project we worked on together. We tried to really blend our two styles into one thing, so you’ll hear elements of the American rock thing and the folk-pop thing throughout the whole record.

Hanna: A true hidden nugget on “You’re What Makes a Good Day” is that I am playing the mouth trumpet. I’ve jokingly ad-libbed when at shows before, but decided to actually commit and make it a permanent piece of the record!

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

Jameson: I’ve been playing music in some capacity since I was 3 or 4, so I don’t know that there was ever a clear moment; music was just a part of my life and seemed like a pretty natural choice. As far as pursuing it as a career, it was probably in high school. Our church youth group had a battle of the bands, and Manchestor Orchestra played. I think it was one of their very first shows. And they were amazing, and the crowd of high schoolers was really into it. That was probably one of the first times I saw someone truly compelling on stage, and it got me hooked.

Hanna: I grew up in a very musical family. My dad played in a well-known local band in Virginia, and taught me to play the guitar when I was in elementary school. While most of my classmates’ school projects were displayed on poster board, mine were videos of songs I had written about the content. It didn’t take long for me to realize that music was going to be an integral part of my life.

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

Jameson: My guitar teacher gave me Tom Petty’s Greatest Hits when I was a junior in high school. Everything made sense on that record. All the parts were parts I wanted to play, all the chords were chords I wanted to play, lyrics, melodies. I just remember thinking, “This is my music. This is what I want to make.”

Hanna: I was an enormous Jewel fan when I was a kid. In fact, the first song I learned to play on guitar was “You Were Meant for Me.” I like to think that Jewel taught me how to sing way back then, and I think that her use of metaphor helped me to think carefully about what I want to say when I write.

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

Jameson: Mike Campbell because he’s Mike Campbell.

Hanna: Ingird Michaelson. We are both quirky pop girls, and I think we’d have a blast creating together.

5. What is your favorite activity when out of the studio and/or not on tour?  What do you like to do to unwind?

Jameson: Take our dog to the park. He’s an 18-month-old lab/pointer, and it’s just fun to take him places and watch him explore.

Hanna: I love being in the water. We live four minutes from the lake and love to spend a day on the paddle board whenever possible.

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?

Hanna: If Tom Petty and Damien Rice had musical children with Ingrid Michaelson and Maggie Rogers.

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?

Jameson: Well, we’re married, so we hang out together a lot. Hanna does most of the cooking because she doesn’t trust me in the kitchen! I’m the first to crack open a beer at the end of the day. Who picks up the guitar first is probably about 50/50, but I definitely turn it up the loudest.

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

Jameson: I met Robert Plant at Grimey’s and laughed awkwardly as he told a story about meeting Jim Morrison.

Hanna: I once saw Nicole Kidman while I was setting up for a gig in Green Hills. I was definitely having trouble remembering how to plug cords into things while she was around because I was so taken aback.

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?

Jameson: The people you meet along the way. I’ve made some lifelong friends from a single show. My dream job is anything that helps people create things that are meaningful. Honestly, that could be any number of things.

Hanna: The reason that I come back to music over and over again is because of the way that it unites us. There is nothing like hearing someone tell you that your song resonated with an experience of theirs. If I had to step away for good, I would devote myself to my other love – teaching special education.

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?

Jameson: What is your worst tour experience? Answer… Playing a crappy gig somewhere in Virginia, then our lodging arrangements fell through so we had to drive back to Nashville, overnight in a car with no heat, where it got below freezing. At some point, I took off my glasses and fell asleep. When we stopped, I got out of the car to stretch my legs. About 10 minutes down the road, I realized I was missing my glasses. We drove back to where we stopped, and there they were on the ground, run over. I bought those heat packs people use when they ski to keep warm for the drive. I was sick for a week after. And I made $50. So much fun. A question I’m tired of answering, “What inspired that song?” I usually have no idea. It just happens.

Hanna: Well, something interesting that could be asked is about my most embarrassing story involving music. I could spend two hours telling it, but let’s just say it involved auditioning for Annie in New York City as a kid, showing up in full costume because I didn’t know any better, and finding out the casting call was actually for the part of Molly. I like answering questions – I can’t think of anything that I’ve grown tired of.

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?

Jameson: I think I was too scared of negative feedback when I was in college. I went to a music school and didn’t really start sharing my songs until after I graduated. I think I would have benefitted from jumping in the deep end a little earlier.

Hanna: I would say that I regret not being bolder in networking scenarios. I think it’s so easy to feel the imposter syndrome start to knock in those situations, but Nashville is full of kind people who really do want to help if they can.

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?

Jameson: The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. I mean, it changed music forever, so to just sit in that room would be amazing.

Hanna: Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors. It was frequently played in my house growing up, and continues to be spun in our house often. There was undeniable magic in the studio when it was made, and I don’t know that there will ever be any record that will contain the same magic.






Category: Interviews

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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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