Sunday, February 24, 2013

Interview with Brandon Maddox

Interview with Brandon Maddox



Lamitschka:  Music has many new fans throughout Europe who may be hearing about you for the first time. How would you describe yourself and the music you play to someone who has never seen or heard you?



Brandon Maddox:  I would describe that its a mixture between Blake Shelton and George Strait mixed with the cleverness of Brad Paisley.  It doesn’t necessarily reflect the trend and the way that pop country seems to be going, with the ambigious lyric but rather harkens back to the George Strait and John Michael Montgomery tunes of the 90’s.



Lamitschka:  How was the last year for you? What were your highlights?



Brandon Maddox:  It was definitely a ground breaking year for me. Making lots of new fans, seeing my social media start to take off, and the completion of my new Weightless“ EP which was produced by Doug Sisemore, Reba's long time band leader and keyboard player.  My song "Honk if You're Country" was featured in an independent movie about Nashville called "Unconditional." 



Lamitschka:  What is your latest CD and how's it doing?



Brandon Maddox: It's called "Weightless." Its a five track EP featuring some of the very best studio musicians in Nashville.  The single "You Get Me That Way" is now being played on XM and secondary market radio stations.  I just got back from filming two music videos for the album this past weekend. The video "Picture Perfect" had a casting call and was shot in several different locations across Stroudsburg, PA. An article written about the video was featured on CBS Money Watch and had over 700,000 headline reviews. 



Lamitschka:  How did you choose the title for the CD?  Is there a story behind the name?



Brandon Maddox: "Weightless" is the first song on the album.  It has always been one of my favorite songs that I have written because I could hear what it would sound like with full production.  The track turned out amazing and it was everything and more that I imagined it would be.



Lamitschka:  Do you write the songs yourself? If not, how do you go about finding the songs for your CD?



Brandon Maddox: I have a catalog of over 760 original tunes, so it was harder to narrow down what songs to put on the album. I never had the need to look outside my catalog for songs.  I've written with some really great songwriters including Grammy Award winners, and very successful artists. 



Lamitschka:  Please tell us about the songs on your album (influences, etc).



Brandon Maddox: The songs on the album are diverse, ranging from traditional sounding George Strait and Chris Young vibes to the rocking sounds of Jason Aldean.  Some of my influences include George Strait, The Eagles, The Beatles, and Brad Paisley.


Lamitschka:  What is the difference between your last CD and your current one?



Brandon Maddox: Well, Christian, the production quality would have to be number one on the list here. The first cd was mainly a collection of demos and this cd is a full blown record. 



Lamitschka:  Your current single is being played by radio. What do you feel is special about this song that makes people want to hear it?



Brandon Maddox: "You Get Me That Way" has always been a crowd pleaser and an often requested original.  It has a strong lyric, a catchy groove, and people like to dance to it!



Lamitschka:  What will your next single be?



Brandon Maddox: Mostly likely, the next single will be "Picture Perfect." It seems to have an universal appeal and has already gotten lots of attention in the press.



Lamitschka:  What kind of songs do you like to record the most?



Brandon Maddox:  I like songs that tell a story and give snapshots of real life.



Lamitschka:  You did a duet with 2x American Idol Finalist, Hunter Monroe. How did that happen to come about?



Brandon Maddox: Hunter Monroe, signed to CILA Management, was asked by CILA to sing one of my original songs with me. The song "Only God Knows" had already reached the top 12 on the Powersource Christian/ Country Charts recorded by an artist named, Larissa Lundstrom. It was well received in Stroudsburg when we did the duet last weekend, and even was a song some people said was their favorite! 



Lamitschka:  What is your favorite song among all the songs you have recorded and what's the story behind it?



Brandon Maddox: My favorite song that I've recorded would be "A Day in the Life of a Guitar Man."  It was inspired by the day to day struggles of a musician. 



Lamitschka:  How much creative control do you have over your music?



Brandon Maddox: I have complete creative control over my music. Due to not having a staff writing deal, there is no one telling me what I should or shouldn't write about. 



Lamitschka:  Who inspires you musically and how deep do your musical roots run?



Brandon Maddox: I taught myself to play guitar by using a Beatles songbook my dad had.  I grew up hearing the songs from the 50s, 60s, and 70s and I think they had more of an impact on me than I realized until I really started to write songs of my own.  Then I got into Bluegrass and for a few years performed and jammed at Bluegrass festivals. I finally got into country and from there I put together the mix of everything I'd liked so much about each of these phases of important music in my life. 



Lamitschka:  What do you think about today's music scene versus its post and where do you see it going in the future?



Brandon Maddox: Seeing where country music has come from, it seems like it is less about talent and more about the almighty dollar.  I much prefer when talent was more of a key factor in determining success in the music business. It seems like people in the country music business are making more short sided decisions than they were in the past.  I expect this trend to continue. 



Lamitschka:  What do you think about today's music industry?



Brandon Maddox: The industry today seems like it is making its decisions out of fear rather than on calculated risks. Record labels shoot themselves in the foot by choosing artists who may not be as talented but have investors with deep pockets that will help eliminate the costs for the label if the artist does not break. 



Lamitschka:  As an artist, you so many tasks such as recording, touring, interviews. What do you like best, what's your favorite activity?



Brandon Maddox: Playing shows and touring would definitely be my favorite part of being an artist. The rush that I feel on stage assures me that I was born for this.


Lamitschka:  Are you doing anything to take music beyond its current borders or are you happy where it is?



Brandon Maddox: I'm always striving to go above and beyond and expand the borders and parameters be it geographically or stylistically.  


Lamitschka:  What inspired you to become a songwriter?



Brandon Maddox: While teaching myself to play the guitar and learning out of Beatles books, I noticed songs were all written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney.  Since they were my early heroes as far as artists and musicians, I was inspired to be just like them. Soon after that, I began writing my first songs.



Lamitschka:  Many music fans today get their information about artists online. Do you have your own website and what will fans find there?



Brandon Maddox: www.brandonmaddoxmusic.com is my website.  You can purchase CD's and T-shirts there, see my latest blogs and tour schedule, as well as follow me on Facebook and Twitter. 




Christian Lamitschka ( Ch.Lamitschka@t-online.de )



DOLLY PARTON - HALOS AND HORNS

DOLLY PARTON - HALOS AND HORNS

Halos and Horns/ Sugar Hill/ Not For Me/ Hello God If/ Shattered Images/ These Old Bones/ What A Heartache/ I’m Gone Raven Dove/ Dagger through the Heart/ If Only/ John Daniel/ Stairway to Heaven

Dolly Parton is country’s most popular female singers equally famous for her quick-wit, self-effacing personality and cartoon-like-figure as she is for her superlative aptitudes as a profound singer and cavernous songwriter. Iconic, legendary and blessed with an angelic, tear-stained mountain-bred soprano voice, the effervescent Parton continues to delight fans with her dazzling talent. But for all her career highlights, the trail blazing diminutive dynamo was pushed aside by a regimented country radio in the mid-nineties who favoured the contemporary artists Parton had paved the way for, whilst seemingly forgetting that Parton had scored a handful of critically acclaimed albums including, rather surprisingly, her first million-selling album, “Eagle When She Flies.”
Never an artist to be kept down for too long however and armed with an unstoppable do-it-yourself-attitude, the forever optimist Parton reclaimed her position as one of the genre’s best beloved and most prolific performers returning to her roots with 1998’s “Hungry Again,” an album that signalled the beginning of a career renaissance culminating in the Grammy award winning “The Grass is Blue.” This beautifully crafted Bluegrass album containing stripped down gems showcasing her shimmering and soaring soprano was greeted with open arms by a Bluegrass community who had long since held Parton in high esteem. But as awesome and as deep as the title track was, Parton went one better with the equally impressive “Little Sparrow” that included the beautiful yet harrowing “Mountain Angel.” Showcasing her unique and compelling story telling abilities and knack for pulling at the heart strings, the endearing Parton pulled off yet another career scoop receiving universal praise.
“Halos and Horns” is the final instalment in the trio of bluegrass recordings made for the independent Bluegrass label Sugar Hill Records. Sounding more commercially slick than the previous sets but nevertheless featuring an abundance of bluegrass recordings to marvel over, Parton continues to make some of the most engaging and best music of her glittering career. Free from any of the pop sensibilities she unashamedly flaunted on past recordings, “Halos and Horns” is a gorgeous and seamless production containing fourteen songs, twelve of which Parton wrote. Void of fillers, the album also illustrates and puts to rest the criticism that Parton isn’t an album artist. Every track here is a gem and worthy of mention.
From the fiddle drenched intro of the effecting album title track to the folksy and intriguing “John Daniel,” Parton’s awesome way around a story song is aptly showcased and her trademark breathy spoken/ sung narrative is on full display as she sings of a man with callous hands and dirty clothes who may or not me Jesus. “So, you want to be free,” Parton whispers, “Well, this is how you can…” Parton captures the moment of a man sitting on the ground with a bible in his hands and surrounded by a crowd of people with such vivid imagery you almost feel a part of the crowd gathered in her rich song tapestry. While the heart-breaking and intimate “Not for Me” feels as if one has stepped into a private moment of reflective solitude and the tear-stained “What a Heartache” puncture the heart like only Dolly Parton can. The highlights however of this highly enjoyable album are the uplifting and gospel charged “Hello God” and the awe-inspiring and ethereal “Raven Dove” that recall Parton’s country-gospel roots. Both are dazzlingly executed.
A self-contained wonder woman, Parton has also recorded her fair share of cover songs throughout her career and in her audaciousness; wraps her magical and breathy pipes around two classic songs of the pop and rock era while completely reinventing them into her own style making them sound almost unrecognisable in their country and bluegrass setting. David Gates of the Chicago rock group Bread receives the breathy Parton treatment with her beautiful rendition of “If” complete with the “Wah-wah” sounds of the Dobro guitar which Parton clearly took glee in playing, and Led Zeppelins glittering and shimmering “Stairway to Heaven” sounds as if it’s a Parton original. Complete with a Gospel and almost folksy chorus it brings this deeply satisfying album to a soaring close.
Garry Moran.











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