Thursday, September 2, 2010

Pheaturing Alumni Gabrielle Louise

Hello, welcome to the Phile, I am your host, Principal Peverett. Paris Hilton was arrested for cocaine possession. In her defense, it was in Orlando. Paris says someone else left their cocaine in her purse. In legal circles, this is known as the Lindsay Lohan defense. Tiger Woods just bought an apartment in Manhattan. What better place to practice golf and resist the temptations of single life? New York is facing an infestation of disgusting and impossible-to-kill pests. That’s right, the cast of “Jersey Shore” is in town. Millions of bed bugs were found inside the Empire State Building. That’s one step too far, bed bugs. Bed bugs can live up to a year without feeding. They’re like supermodels. Beaches in Italy are now training dogs to become lifeguards. That should work as long as someone throws a tennis ball at you while you’re drowning. Okay, you know I like inspirational posters, right? It seems the creators of them are running out of ideas. Check it out.

Speaking of posters, did you see the new poster ad Disney put out about The Little Mermaid? I have it here on the Phile.

Batman and Robin still haven't gotten the stink of Joel Schumacher's Batman and Robin off of their dynamic duo, even after 13 years. I'd imagine there's little chance of Christopher Nolan using Robin in his next Batman film, and Batman himself has a notoriously high turnover rate for boy wonder sidekicks (he's now on his fourth). So, is there a market for Batman and Robin sneakers? Probably so, since Adam West and Burt Ward are both still alive and kicking. That's at least two customers right there if the shoes ever come to market (the comic book-inspired shoes are strictly prototypes right now). But what about you? Do you own the perfect pair of green-scaled underwear that would go great, bare-legged, with a pair of Robin shoes from Brass Monki?

Okay, today's guest was last on the Phile on February 27th this year. She has a brand new album out called "Mirror the Branches" and she'll be playing on September 5th at the Westcliffe Ampitheatre in Westcliffe, CO. Please welcome back to the Phile, one of my favorite singers, the lovely and wonderful Gabrielle Louise.

Me: Hello, Gabrielle, welcome back to the Phile. It's only been a few months you were here, but how have you been?

Gabrielle: Great, Jason, thanks for asking. It's been a busy season so far, but I love what I do, so that's ok with me.

Have you gotten any good feedback last time you were on the Phile?

Gabrielle: Yes, I think people really enjoyed reading the last interview.

Me: Last time we talked you were living in Spain or somewhere... Argentina, right? You're back in the States now, right?

Argentina, yes. I was there writing new songs and learning to sing in Spanish. It was a fantastic South American summer! I plan to go back again this winter (summer there) as well.

Are you living back in Colorado?

Gabrielle: We are. Although we're not here much. It's been soo much traveling and touring this year that I start to wonder where I live!

Me: When you came back what was the first thing you did?

Gabrielle: Hmmm... I'm trying to remember! I had a homecoming concert at a swanky jazz club called Dazzle, and after that set out for the east coast on a tour that ended in a couple recording sessions.

Me: You've been busy working on your new album "Mirror The Branches". How is that coming along? What does the name mean by the way?

Gabrielle: Yes! Those aforementioned east coast recording sessions yeilded the musical portion of my new record, "Mirror the Branches". The name comes from a song lyric in "Strange Summer Snow," one of my favorite cuts on the new CD which talks about the cycle of life. (I'll water the Almond tree/ it's roots are my own/ mirror the branches/ where sweet blossoms grow/ come gather the petals/ in the pale moon they glow/ shaking down on the green grass/ a strange summer snow.) Thematically speaking, the record is really inspired by old American romantic poetry. An Edgar Lee Masters poem called "Samuel Gardiner" and an excerpt from a Whitman's "Song of Myself" specifically influenced me when writing. I'll paste the Masters poem here, and I think it will help you understand the context of "Mirror the Branches" a bit more.
217. Samuel Gardner
I WHO kept the greenhouse,
Lover of trees and flowers,
Oft in life saw this umbrageous elm,
Measuring its generous branches with my eye,
And listened to its rejoicing leaves
Lovingly patting each other
With sweet ├Žolian whispers.
And well they might:
For the roots had grown so wide and deep
That the soil of the hill could not withhold
Aught of its virtue, enriched by rain,
And warmed by the sun;
But yielded it all to the thrifty roots,
Through which it was drawn and whirled to the trunk,
And thence to the branches, and into the leaves,
Wherefrom the breeze took life and sang.
Now I, an under-tenant of the earth, can see
That the branches of a tree
Spread no wider than its roots.
And how shall the soul of a man
Be larger than the life he has lived?

Me: Did you record it with your band The Gabrielle Louise Show or did you get other musicians to play on it?

Gabrielle: I worked almost exclusively with a great friend and musical collaborator, David Rynhart. David is a multi-instrumentalist, and was able to come into the studio and record nearly everything we needed save a little upright bass, which I hired Rob Jost (get this, of the Sesame Street Band) to come and play. David and I recorded almost everything live, with no click, but organic and raw, the way you'd see us singing and playing together at a live show. Then David added a splash of Rhodes here or there, and a random Glockenspiel sparkle. It's pretty sparse all in all, but I love that kind of record, and it's what we were aiming for. Raw emotional delivery, and room to breath.

Me: How long did it take you to record it?

Gabrielle: About three days. We'd average about 4 songs a day.

Me: Are there any covers on it?

Gabrielle: Yes, as a matter of fact. I covered a song of David's that I love, called "Midnight Molasses'. It speaks volumes about the value of life, and sheds one's self pity when listening to it. (Sing me an old song/ people sang all day long/ in the chain gangs/ on the rail roads/ in the cotton fields/ in the mines/ in the hard times.) You know, the record all in all isn't about the cycle of life, although it touches on that, it's about the value of it at the end of the day. I love that Thoreau quote that you see on mugs and magnets: "Live the life you have imagined!"
David and I also do a duet version of "The House Carpenter," which is an old English folk song with a sea-faring story of a maiden and a sailor. Dave and I always argue about whether or not he's actually the devil, because he comes and woos her away from her house carpenter husband and new baby, promising gold and riches. It's a classic tune. My mom taught it to me when I was very young and it's stuck in my head all these years.

Me: Will it and the other albums you recorded be available on iTunes?

Gabrielle: Yeah, probably some day. I've been holding out so far, though. Right now I've only got my first CD up there, even though I have a handful of records. I prefer if folks buy it from my website because then Itunes doesn't take a large cut for simply providing the download function. Think of it as buying local as opposed to through a corporate distributor.

Me: I interviewed Joy Ike for Alumni Month and for her new album she had her fans help fund it. You're doing something very similar, am I right?

Gabrielle: Right now at my website, you can pre-order the new CD by donation, and instantly download all the Mp3s. Your donation helps fund the artwork and printing of the record. When it's all done and printed in September, I'll mail out physical CD's to all those that donated. A lot of my contemporaries seem to be hip to this. It helps a lot on our end, because many creative beings aren't backed my record labels these days- so we need to reach out to our fans. It helps us not cut corners, you know--hire a great artist for the cover, or simply do things to a major label standard, without signing over our creative freedom!

Me: Let's talk about your van, Gabrielle. How is it running, and did you ever name it? Remind the readers of the Phile what is so special about it?

My tour van's name is Vita. She runs on Waste Veggie Oil. We love her.

Me: And what about your blog? Are you still working on that?

Gabrielle: I am. I got a monster posting up there after the studio sessions. It's been fun to have an online journal. I am a journal freak- I have a whole bookshelf of filled ones. Switching to journaling online is much more public, obviously, but it saves space in my living quarters!

Me: I have to ask you about something you do that I would never do, even if my life depended on it. And now, it's not tango dancing. We'll talk about that in a bit. Cliff diving. When did you first start doing something crazy like that? Did you ever get hurt? Why can't you dive in a pool like a normal person? Ha ha! I love it. I don't know why. I have been hurt. Twice. And I'm still nutty enough to do it. I like to practice kung foo moves in the air as I fall. I grew up on a river, so I keep myself feeling young by doing stupid sketch ball moves like that.

Me: How deep is that water you're diving in to? You couldn't do that in Florida... there's no cliffs, but if there were, they'll be alligators in the lakes.

I think you must be talking about some photos I posted recently online... the water in that place is crazy deep. You don't have to worry about hitting bottom, but you do have to worry about someone not paying attention and jumping on top of you. We were in Oregon on the Deschutes river, and in this particular spot you can jump off from many different places. Kids and adults all around me were just flinging themselves in from different directions. I'd never seen something like that before. Usually it's best to go one at a time!

Me: Speaking of Florida, are you planning on coming out here?

Gabrielle: (laughing) Yeah, man. I'd love to. I've been meaning to get a southern tour on the books for a while. Hopefully in 2011.

Me: Hey, you're friends with Megan Burtt, right? I am trying to get her on the Phile, so next time you see her, tell her what a blast it is to be here. It is a blast, right?

Absolutely. Mostly because your questions are so well researched! (they usually go something like this: "What kind of guitar do you play?" "What inspires you to write a song?" "How did you start playing music?" All valid! But less fun. more common.)

Me: Gabrielle, thanks for coming back to the Phile so soon. I'll have you back anytime you want. Go ahead and plug your websites and everything and I can't wait to hear the album. Be careful cliff jumping and take care.

Gabrielle: Thank, Jason! Thanks for having me back. My web is Thanks for supporting independent music. Cheers!

There you go. That about does it for another entry. Thanks to Gabrielle for another wonderful interview. The Phile will be back next Thursday with Alumni Ernie Halter. Then the week after that is Brooke Waggoner. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye love you bye.

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