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A Dirty Dozen with ANGIE GOEKE – May 2022

Photo credit: Ashtin Paige

According to a recent press release: “Houston, TX-based Americana singer-songwriter Angie Goeke is set to her release her debut full-length, If I Were Honest, on April 29, 2022. An independent release, the album was recorded in Nashville and produced by Mary Bragg. If I Were Honest presents a stunning, atmospheric Americana collection that melds the many facets of Goeke’s creative and personal life into one cohesive, elegant whole. The album celebrates the enormous complexity of being human and boasts a spectrum of sounds ranging from textural and cinematic to candid and nostalgic. Goeke plans some live shows to celebrate the release of If I Were Honest and already has an album release celebration scheduled in Katy, TX (on April 29th at CrossRoad, sponsored by Johnnie Walker), as well as two performances confirmed in Austin, TX (an April 30th private house concert and a show on May 1st at NeWorlDeli). She is also working on booking a summer house concert tour through Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama, and North Carolina. Fans should check Goeke’s website and socials for updates on all upcoming shows.” We get Angie 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?

“So I Pray,” “Leftovers,” and “Starlight” are some of my oldest songs. So for any of the diehards (family and close friends) who were at those first concerts, they will recognize those songs. (Although they sound totally refined now!) Each song on the album really is a different expression of me. From being a mom of four, being a little girl who grew up wanting to do big things, and loving the smell of fresh-cut cotton in small town Texas, to being a worn-out adult who has experienced all the complexities of relationships. It’s all in there. And just listening to the songs the first couple of times might not really give full translation to all that’s being said. A deeper listen to the words of songs like “Leftovers,” “If I Were Honest,” and “Floored” might give the listener a deeper understanding of all the components that make me who I am!

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

I always loved to sing through the house as a little girl. I used to sing “in my opera voice.” And finally my parents must have gotten tired of me doing that all the time, because they had me audition for the Austin Children’s Choir.  I remember that audition. I sang “Happy Birthday to You” in my opera voice. But honestly, the rest is history. I have the late Dr. Bernard Gastler to thank for teaching me those early years in a way that got me hooked. I learned to appreciate “the how and the why” of beautiful music, really understanding why the songwriter or composer made certain musical choices. So I learned a music appreciation far beyond something just sounding good or influencing musical preference. It was those lessons that pushed me beyond singing into writing.

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

In high school, I was selected to be a part of a jazz choir composed of students from all the Austin-area schools. The complex harmonies and break from choral stuff became a new obsession. One Christmas shortly after, I received Ella Fitzgerald’s “The Big Song Book” compilation. I listened to it non-stop. I would play the CD while also recording on a cassette tape and sing harmonies with her. It was all so challenging and fun, and I’d study the way she could be so vocally nimble, expressing sorrowful emotion one second and then scatting like she was a clarinet the next. I still listen to that album for inspiration.

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

I have always admired the writing of Lori McKenna. “All the Time I Wasted on You” is brilliant, and I would be so honored to create something with her. There are other artists who I would love to sing and play with on a song, because I admire their sound, but when it comes to overall writing, I think I would learn the most from her. But it’s worth mentioning that I would love to find someone to sing duets with.(So if anyone is interested…)

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

I love to create visual art. I love to watercolor and have gotten into making hand-drawn puzzles lately. I like the challenge of trying to make the most difficult puzzle on the planet. But I also am a TV junkie. I am usually pretty obsessed with the latest series or newest original movie. I subscribe to all the platforms so as to not miss anything good.

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 describe my sound as Americana with a little bit of jazz and Texas country influence… but with a ukulele. Like if Willie Nelson and Ella Fitzgerald got together and adopted a little Hawaiian Joy Williams. Imagine the music they would make together around the coffee table after dinner! It may not be the best description, but it at least makes people curious! I’ve been compared to Stevie Nicks and Jewel… and I wouldn’t quite cringe at those, but I don’t know that I hear the resemblance.

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?

Ha ha, this is a great question. When we’ve got the whole crew together, I’d say I take care of food, my husband is on hand to make sure everyone’s whistle is wet, and Alfred and Thanushka would crack out the guitars… but not for a singalong as much as to compare cool chords or riffs.

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

I was at a music conference in Austin, TX a few years ago and heard Darryl McDaniels from Run DMC talk. He is bigger than life. I was standing in line afterwards to buy his book and get his autograph. When I got to the front of the line, he said, “Hey! You’re the girl who was playing the ukulele!” I turned into a blubbering pile of mush. He had heard me earlier in the day singing in one of the breakout “open mic” rooms and had not only stayed to listen, but remembered what the song was about! I was totally shocked. I still can’t believe that happened.

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 think the best part of being a musician is the creativity with something that is only heard, because the mind is left to create a mental picture. And that’s really cool to think about. Like musicians can control minds. There are so many variables in working with sound, from all the notes available, to the different tonalities of instruments or voices, to mixing and matching all those. Then you add different grooves and dynamics! It’s so exciting and requires precision while also being full of experimentation. When it all comes together AND feels like it’s coming straight from the heart, it’s downright magical. Like an out-of-body experience. I love it. If I couldn’t do it anymore, I’d have to still do something creative. I’d probably have an art studio and capture other magical and beautiful things visually. Or maybe even have a small restaurant and get creative with cooking.

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?

Q:”You are primarily a vocalist.  Does that still make you a musician?” A: Ummm… heck yeah! A good vocalist studies just as much as any other musician or member of the band. They should know music theory and treat their voice as an instrument. They should learn how to stretch their range and how to sing various styles because they have studied how the instrument works. I  always get a little offended when other musicians think that singers aren’t worthy of the title of musician or receive the same compensation. If anything, it’s harder, because we have to know the notes, and the words, and if we mess up, we can’t blame it on an instrument we are holding. The question I’m probably tired of answering is, “What are you most excited about with this new album?” The whole project has been such a new learning experience and massive feat of accomplishment for me that it’s really a hard question to answer and to answer uniquely every time it’s asked. I’m excited about the WHOLE thing!

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?

I can think of a few live gigs that I wish I could go back and do over! I also have a pretty bad track record when it comes to nervously responding to conversations in the moment… whether it be with a venue owner who was asking if I could fill the space, and my response was, “Well, that’s the question, isn’t it?” (Which didn’t get me a gig there, by the way.) Or missing opportunities to talk about my music because for whatever reason I get nervous and undermine its value in the conversation. For example, I recently went to London to promote one of the singles from the album. After returning, I was picking up a coffee order, and I was chatting with the baristas about how tired I was from my long flight. They asked where I went and why. All I had to say was London to promote some of my new music! But I skirted around it. I don’t know  why I do that, but I wish I could seize those opportunities and feel free to share and talk freely about my music!

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?

Raising Sand by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss. I would have done anything to sing some backing vocals on that record. Each song has its own unique vibe, and each element is so purposeful even in its simplicity. I think it would have been fun to watch it all come together. I see it as the golden standard of an Americana record.






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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