Cary Pierce of Jackopierce: Uncorked and Uncovered

 

Artist: Jackopierce

Played at City Winery: October 14th, 2012

Q&A With City Winery

So you both went to school for theatre. In fact, that’s how you met. Do you both still act?

We both try to act cool on occasion but it rarely works out.

Jack did a stint with the Bat Theater Company, voiceover work, etc but was scared back into music eventually.

I quit theater my sophomore year at SMU and never looked back. Twas not my calling. My B.I.L (brother in law), James Moye, is a bad ass, though. He lives in NY and has been in many a Broadway production such as Urine Town, Million Dollar Quartet, etc. But the coolest thing lately is that he is the Crunchy Nut Cereal guy. My kids think he’s a real super hero. I can’t compete with that.

What is your songwriting process like? 

I gave my oldest boy a baby Taylor guitar at 10 years old. It’s half size and really easy to just pick up and play. I have a dozen amazing guitars at my studio, but I play that one about 95% of the time. Most all the kernels for new songs start there. I also go to Nashville a lot to write and always come back with 3-5 new ones cookin’. I keep TONS of ideas in my phone, on my computer, etc. If a guitar is in my hands, I’m usually writing something. Usually music first and then lyrics.

Have you ever been in any bigger bands?

Nope. JP may be the biggest band I ever get to be in. We toured for years with a full band. It was fun playing rock star – being on a major label  – and having a bus and crew, etc. Our roots were as an acoustic duo and that’s how we play most of the time now. I live in Dallas and Jack lives in NY so we fly in to city, meet up and go play the show. When we do a full band show – we’re hiring real pros that are great, love what they do and there’s NO drama. Jack and I got enough drama goin’ on… no need for more fuel on that fire.

You’ve worked with a lot of other musicians, writing and producing. What made you want to get into that?

It just seemed to be a natural extension. I like helping people get to the “next level.” I learned a lot about making records by being produced by heavyweights like T Bone Burnett, Stan Lynch, Rob Jacobs, Don Smith, etc. I’ve learned a lot about co-writing over the years, too. I’m pretty much a co-writing producer, helping write the songs and then producing them.

How is working with other musicians different/the same as working with Jack? Do you find that being part of a duo was helpful to the process of writing for/working with other musicians?

Yes, I’m a duo guy. When I enter into a co-writing/production situation, I basically become the other half for a minute and then I get to bid them well and set them free to go “do it.”

What was the recording process like? You both live such different lives now, how did you manage to come together and make the album and this tour happen?

The album is called Everywhere all the Time and it was recorded just about everywhere: Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, DC, LA, Minneapolis, Nashville, etc..

We tracked a lot of the bass and drums in Nashville and then I would grab Jack’s vocal and guitars in whatever city we were playing in. It was a lot of fun.

Do you feel that this album is more mature now that time has passed?

I just hope people like it. We’ve had a lot of people lately tell us that we’ve been the “soundtrack for their lives.” Wow. Mission is being accomplished. Just wanna keep that rollin’… I love writing and I love playing.

You guys mostly play acoustic together. Outside of Jackopierce, what do you like to play around with musically?

I have a James Taylor/John Denver side of me (like Jackopierce – Let Go of Me and Jackopierce – Lonely). But I also have a heavily 80’s influenced Smiths/Roxy Music/Tears for Fears/Police side of me that wants to make big, powerful compelling pop (like Jackopierce – Around Me Now). I also have a Mumford/Avett side of me that wants to bang on that acoustic hard and fast and kinda combine all of it. I have a fantasy of an acoustic trio or quartet a la Mumford. That kind of music is a big part of me – all acoustic. Love it. Have you heard the Punch Brothers? IN-SANE. Check this out. Humbling.

What inspires you? Both as a musician and as a person?

Art/museums/galleries. I love great design. I’m constantly saving design ideas – both graphic and architectural/interior design in Evernote. If I could, I’d probably be releasing a new Jackopierce shirt or piece of merch every week.

I love dreaming and scheming our Destination Shows. We are playing June 8, 2013 in Santa Barbara on a roof deck overlooking the ocean and the mountains. Gorgeous. And we are having a clambake dinner and concert on Martha’s Vineyard August 17, 2013.

I am also working on a book about being creative for a living. I post a new chapter most Fridays to my blog. It’s meant to encourage and inspire the same way I am inspired by so many great authors, speakers, teachers.

You guys are from Texas. Do you like the cooking down there? 

Of course. I love Texas. Love everything about it. Well, most everything. I went down to go to SMU and I’ve been there ever since. My wife is a Texan. All 3 of my boys are Texans. I love that.

You have a song called Vineyard and here you are playing at City Winery. What is the story behind that song? Are you wine fans? Do you have a favorite wine? 

Yes, Vineyard is actually about Martha’s Vineyard. I was heartbroken in college and went there to get away. I met a sweet gal and my 2 day trip turned into 5 or 6 days. That song seems to still be one of our most popular. We did a destination show in 2010 on the Vineyard and 400 people came from 36 States. We were glad to give them an excuse to come to one of the most beautiful places in the world.

We’ve done several destination shows in Sonoma County, CA. I’ve really fallen in love with Pinot Noir. When it’s good – its’ the best – but it’s a testy grape. I feel like I’ve tasted some of the best out there at Arista, the former C. Donatiello, Hanna, etc.

Best kind of wine is the wine you like. I’ve had friends open these fancy, expensive bottles of wine and they sit around and gush over it – and to me it tastes like it’s been open for a week. Mondavi has a great everyday Pinot now for about $6. Meiomi Belle Glose is probably my current favorite. They had it in several restaurants around Dallas and I was thrilled to find it in the grocery store for about $15 bucks. We’ve actually been in touch with them. They love our Destination Shows and we are hoping to partner up on something soon. I also love Willamette Pinots from Oregon and have discovered a great find: Merriman. I asked my waiter if I could see the bottle. There was an email addy on the back. I emailed them right there and it turns out the owner, Mike Merriman, is from Dallas and his winemaker sold me his house 15 years ago. Talk about small world and great Williamette Pinot!

The smell and taste of great Pinots take me to Sonoma (specifically Healdsburg) – a place that my wife and I could see ourselves spending

Shemekia Copeland: Uncorked and Uncovered

 

Artist: Shemekia Copeland

Played at City Winery: September 27, 2012

 

Q&A With City Winery

You have been newly crowned the “Queen of Blues.” Congratulations! How does it feel?

It was a total surprise and an incredible honor, something I try to live up to every time I perform.

You aren’t afraid to perform songs about serious issues and obstacles in life like domestic violence. Are these coming from first hand experience or knowing someone in these situations? Did growing up in NYC, seeing the constant class struggle and disparity have anything to do with your awareness?

I try to perform blues songs, but in a contemporary way. To make blues relevant for young people, especially women. So it makes sense to address issues like domestic violence and financial disparity. I don’t think these issues came out of growing up in NYC. They’re issues we all have in common everywhere, but you’d certainly run into them in NY.

Blues is one of those genres that kind of spreads out into a lot of other genres or at least influences and informs other genres/styles. Given that, is there anything you feel you’d like to do musically that you haven’t done yet?

I want to help this music evolve and grow, to reach young people and get them as excited about the music as I am. I’d like to expand the boundaries of traditional blues. Do a blues samba. A blues in French. New, different, and unexpected explorations.