An Interview with Applewood Road
A week before their upcoming UK tour, Ellipsis spoke to Emily Barker – one of country and folk supergroup, Applewood Road.
Jess Fleming: So next week you’re setting off on your UK Tour, are you excited to be on the road?
Emily: Well at the moment I’m on the road as myself supporting a band called ‘Runrig’ in Germany and yeah we all meet up on Sunday, have a rehearsal and we begin the tour!
JF: All 3 of you are successful country and folk artists respectively; how did you meet and go on to form Applewood Road?
E: I was in Nashville at this wonderful festival called AmericanaFest which happens in September every year, Bob Harris had invited me over as one of 3 artists to do the BBC Introducing stage so I went over and I ended up meeting a lot of other singer songwriters. Co-writing is very popular in Nashville, you meet up with people and write a song- they could be strangers or friends or they could be people you know through somebody else. I was connected with Amy Speace, who knew Amber Rubarth, and after meeting up in a café, we decided that we should all go back to Amy’s house and write a song together. That’s how the first song came about which is called Applewood Road and then because we loved what we did we decided to go on and make an album together.
JF: It’s quite nice how that just happened.
E: Yeah very sort of spontaneous really.
JF: The album was recorded in “Welcome to 1979” in Nashville and I read that you only used a single microphone which is quite interesting, what caused you to take that approach?
E: We felt like our song (Applewood Road) had quite a vintage sound to it so we decided that we wanted to do the recording of it in a similar style. We definitely wanted to go to tape and then I think it was partly inspired by the bluegrass tradition to perform around one microphone and move closer or further away depending on which part is being performed. And we just liked the idea of playing in the room together doing it live not one at a time so we really captured the magic of the harmonies.
JF: Do you get any musical inspiration from other artists?
E: Yeah I think for us it was partly inspired by the Andrews sisters and also the trio – Dolly, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt. Like there’s this very rich tradition of harmony singing in folk and country music so it was inspired by people like that.
JF: Do you have a favourite song to perform live?
E: I enjoy all of them but I guess the actual song ‘Applewood Road’ because it’s the first one we wrote together; it is so simple and so bare because it just has bass and 3 voices. We always start off with that song and it’s like a great beginning to the evening.
JF: Do you find that you prefer touring around or recording and writing?
E: I wouldn’t have one without the other actually; I sort of need both the experiences. The reason I started doing it was because I felt like I wanted to express myself and be creative so that’s where the love of song writing comes from and I really need that still in my life. I need to be able to express myself and channel my experiences in some creative way. So I love that aspect but then I love the performing as well because I love singing and playing instruments and I love doing that on a stage with lights and a PA system with people applauding. I like putting on a show, I could perhaps see at some point maybe just doing less touring one day but for now I’m loving it.
JF: And finally if you describe Applewood Road in a sentence or a word what would it be?
E: Well I would just probably say ‘folk/country’ I guess.
Feature image from Sonic PR