Wednesday, 30 May 2012

The Rachel Harrington Interview (Part 1)

I first interviewed Rachel back in 2010, when we talked about the Celilo Falls album. Following the excellent evening at The Cleveland Bay in March of this year, we recorded another interview to discuss the new album - Rachel Harrington and the Knock Outs - and related matters.

Rachel Harrington
Let’s start by talking about the genesis of the new album. How did the idea come about to make a slight change in the direction of your style?

Gosh…well, I’ve always wanted to make a proper country record. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. Actually, to tell you the truth, Celilo Falls was supposed to be the country record but I ended up not having the funding that I had hoped to have so suddenly I scaled it back and said, OK, it’s got to be an acoustic record! So I put most of those songs on the back burner and then I went out and wrote a new batch of songs and that was Celilo Falls. So I still really want to make a proper country record. I’m not exactly sure what gave me the idea but the idea of putting together an all-girl band was, I think in part, inspired by my Mom’s love for the Dixie Chicks. I’ve loved my previous records and touring partners and everything but I felt like I just wanted to have fun. I thought yeah, let’s make a country record and maybe I could get some girls together that I actually really, really like and we could go and make a record and we could tour the world and gosh, wouldn’t it be fun? And it’s been completely, totally – just pure fun.

So where did you find these magnificent people?

The Magnificent Knock Outs
They were standing on pedestals and God just dropped them down to me.

That’s what I’d thought you say, actually. 

Yeah! Halos appeared and they flew down – it was awesome!

Did you know each other from previous times?

Yeah – I mean, Seattle…the whole of the North West US is fairly isolated so kind of everybody – at least in Seattle – we kind of all know each other. Even if you don’t know them, you know somebody who does and that kind of thing. I’ve known all these three girls for years. So when I had the idea last year I just started putting out feelers about who was available and interested...and this happened. Honestly, none of us had any idea that we were going to set our harmonies as we did. I had no idea any of them sang harmonies but it turned out we could have four-part harmonies which was just awesome.

The harmonies were outstanding, it must be said. I’m intrigued by the track Moonshine Boy. It’s a spin on Sunshine Girl; it’s that you kissing goodbye to the past or is it an extension of your previous work?

Well, let’s see…I think part of it was inspired by the fact that I knew that there might be some response to ‘oh, this album is a new direction…!’ Well, to me it’s not at all, but…OK, it is different but it’s still totally me. So, by putting one of those tracks on the record and also as a live show we play some of the songs from prior records it just feels like it gives it more continuity to me. And we like playing the songs. We now get a fiddle solo on that song. The fiddle makes that song!

'The fiddle makes that song!'

To be continued...

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