1.0 – How did Independence 76 come together? I wrote the lyrics to “The Epic of Pat Tillman and i” on my 30th birthday. I was sitting alone in a Boston hotel room after a long day of negotiating weapons contracts for the Global War on Terror. As I read an article about Tillman’s life and the horrible ending to his service I felt compelled to write a “parable” to explain to my daughter how he inspired my personal declaration of independence. The name Independence 76 is a tribute to Pat Tillman’s life.
2.0 – How did you record the debut, Magpie Parables? All 16 songs on the album were recorded in John Cody’s bedroom studio in Oklahoma City. I’m the primary writer and co-producer. John co-wrote the music, co-produced the album, and was the primary audio engineer. A few of our talented friends stopped by to help out along the way.
3.0 – Did you learn anything in the process? All you really need is 600 square feet of space.
4.0 – What song on it are people telling you is their favorite? “Eminent Domain (Side A)” could be described as polarizing, yet it’s a favorite. “Magpie” and “Sundance Squares” are two others that get big thumbs up.
5.0 – Are all the songs relatively new or are some old friends with history? The five songs on Volume One were first recorded in 2006 and the songs on Volume Two were finished last year.
6.0 – Storytelling is a key component of the release, do you find it is easier to write allegorical versus autobiographical stuff? It’s the autobiographical stuff that inspires the final allegorical product.
7.0 – It seems like protest music these days is angrier than it’s original form in the 60’s and 70’s, does that make you guys a throwback? It’s hard to say. Anger is a sign that people still care. We still care.
8.0 – Where did your love of traditional forms American music come from originally? My extended family is from Missouri and Tennessee and a lot of them play(ed). I’m pretty sure the love of Americana music is strongly imprinted in my DNA. Nathan (bass, mandolin) and Isaac Eicher (mandolin) come from deep Americana musical roots as well.
9.0 – Did you have to study it as a form to deliver it yourself or is a ‘god-given-thing’ as they say? The lyrics often arrive in a mystical fashion but my musical education has primarily been a combination of hard work and studying the masters.
10.0 – Could this record have come out of anywhere else besides Oklahoma City? Oklahoma City was good enough for Woody Guthrie. I suppose it’s good enough for us too.