Interview: Lindsay Ell talks Country Music Week, The Project, Guitars and more…

Lindsay Ell is a Canadian country singer/songwriter who is also a phenomenal guitar player. Being on the scene for a number of years now – Lindsay is finally gaining the recognition that she deserves as an artist not just a guitar player and she released her debut album The Project in July. Not a stranger to the UK, Lindsay returns to our shores in October to take part in our first ever Country Music Week where she will be involved in quite a few shows.

Purchase The Project by Lindsay Ell here

We caught up with Lindsay to discuss The Project, Guitars and of course Country Music Week.

Enjoy!

Hi Lindsay how are you? 

I’m great! So looking forward to coming back to the UK and playing some shows. It’s one of my favorite places to play..

You are coming back in October to do some shows which is exciting, where can we see you?

I will be a part of Country Music Week and cannot wait! You can see me at:

Oct 2 – Bush Hall – London, UK

Oct 4 – The Borderline – London, UK

Oct 5 – Blue Shell – Cologne, Germany

Oct 7 – Utrecht – Utrecht, Netherlands

Oct 8 – Bluebird Chelsea – London, UK

Oct 10 – Limelight – Belfast, UK

Oct 11 – The Academy – Dublin Ireland

Last time I personally saw you in the UK was when you supported The Band Perry – how did you enjoy your first time in the UK and did you expect to get the response that you did?

My first tour to the UK with The Band Perry was incredible. I will never forget falling in love with audiences in the UK for their passion for music. I didn’t even have any music released and there was this group of girls that had gone on YouTube and learned all the words to my songs. They were ready every night, front row to sing along with me.

You have been back since, What is it about the UK that keeps bringing you back?

There is nothing like performing for an audience that appreciates music. As a songwriter and a guitar player, I know when I play shows in the UK that there will be fans who want to listen to the words I have written and the melodies I’m going to play on my guitar.

You are a genius on the guitar – how long have you been playing and who are you inspirations/favourite guitar players?

I have been playing guitar ever since I was 8 years old. My favorite guitar players… where do I start.. Jimi Hendrix, SRV, Eric Clapton, Derek Trucks, Robben Ford, John Mayer, Keith Urban, Brad Paisley….I could go on and on.

Do you have a personal favourite guitar?

Always hard to choose. But at the end of my tour this year with Brad Paisley, he bought me a custom strat refin on one of our last shows on the tour in Chicago. It’s probably my favorite guitar right now.

If you could jam with any guitarist dead or alive who would it be/have been?

Jimi Hendrix. He was so inventive. In a time when not everyone one. He created and started so many styles while not even knowing it.

You released your album The Project in August – could you tell us a little bit about it?

Yes! I finally got to release my debut album. It’s called The Project. I finally feel like I’ve made the record I’ve always wanted to, but just never knew how. It’s hard sometimes to find your sound and figure out how you want to say what you want to say. But I feel like I’ve finally found my lane…wherever that leads me.

How was the writing process for this album as you have a fair few songs that you have written over the last few years?

I decided to be as honest as I could with this record. Instead of trying to hide what I really wanted to say, I just stepped out there and said it. It was a huge learning experience for me as a writer. So much in fact, most of the album has been four months before it got released.

Why the title The Project?

In working with my producer Kristian Bush, I felt like putting together this album was a combination of a bunch of mini science projects in me discovering who I am. So much so, that I had to call the record, The Project.

You released the single Waiting On You which we love as well as the video – what was it like filming the video and how much input do you have with your videos?

Waiting On You was the song that started the whole process for this album. It just made sense that it was going to be the first single. I love having a lot of input in my music videos. I want the music video to bring the song to life…whatever that may mean. When it comes to picking treatments, wardrobe, locations, and even different shots, I love having a say. I usually just go with what feels right.

In the video it shows one of your hand painted guitars – You have a series of hand painted guitars, could you tell us a bit more about that? What inspired it and are you usually artistic in the painting sense?

I originally started painting guitars as a way for audio videos (on YouTube) to be interesting to fans. When they were listening to new music, I didn’t want them to stare at a boring album cover for 3.5 minutes. I wanted something to be going on. So we came up with the idea that I would paint a guitar and we’d time-lapse it over the course of the song. It was such a hit with fans, that I ended up doing the whole record. You can listen to The Project through your speakers…..and now you can see The Project in paint.

Tell us about the John Mayerthon, what exactly is it and what was your involvement?

Charlie Worsham is arguably one of the more creative/talented new artists in town. This was his second year hosting his annual John Mayerathon. John Mayer has been such a huge influence to me ever since I started songwriting/playing. (I in fact recorded the whole Continuum album as pre-production for The Project). So being a part of the John Mayerathon just made sense to me. I hope Charlie will invite me back in the future. 🙂

You are Canadian but now living in Nashville right?

Yes, I’ve been lucky to call Nashville home now for 8 years. I love it.

What is the country music scene like in Canada in comparison to the US?

Just like every country with it’s own borders there is a separate music community in Canada as there is in the US. I am fortunate to be able to spend some time in both of them. It keeps me on my toes getting to travel around the world and assimilate myself into different music scenes. You learn so much from surrounding yourself from the best of the best.

So I have to ask what it was like performing with Melissa Etheridge? You looked so happy.

Melissa is a force to be reckoned with. I’m honored to call her a friend, and feel so lucky to have shared the stage with her. She is so inspiring to be around, and such an incredible example of GRL PWR.

What is it about country music that you love?

Country music allows you to tell a story. Not every genre has an expectation for great lyrics that actually say something. It pushes me to become a better writer.

Country radio seems to be a never ending battle for female artists which is such a shame as we, the UK, LOVE our female artists. Do you feel it will change anytime soon and are you finding that it’s not just male artists that are dominating the charts but a particular sound because when I was first in Nashville, I always heard the likes of Brad Paisley and Josh Turner but feel even they have been somewhat pushed out for a fresher, newer sound despite them having new music?

I think like in any industry things are cyclical. That means ratios of male to female on the radio. Sonically what instruments are popular at that time.. It’s all relative a bit to what’s going on in country radio at the time. Thankfully right now there are so many new ways to discover new artists. I’m so thankful for social media, streaming services, music festivals, youtube, etc. I’ve discovered so many new artists that I love because of these sites.

In the UK apart from DAB and internet stations we really only get one hour of country music a week thanks to Bob Harris, who is such a huge supporter of women in country music and a supporter of yours. How does it feel to a have the level of support that you have in the UK from Bob and fans without needing to rely on country radio and the fact that we all simply just found you and spread the word.

Bob Harris is amazing. He’s good friends with my producer, Kristian Bush as well. Bob is a prime example of someone who doesn’t worry about trends, and just wants to help showcase new music that he thinks is great. We would be in a much different place if it weren’t for people like Bob.

You recently had a not so nice situation with country radio due to the fact you are dating Bobby Bones, a rival for other country stations. Was this anything you would ever imagined to have happened because it, for me, is absolutely daft and surely they did their research before inviting you in the first place?

Being a member of any entertainment industry, you become a public figure. Therefore your personal life is somewhat open to the public, but that doesn’t mean it should step in the way of your career. I never wanted what happened in Sacramento to happen at all. But if it airs light to a conversation about music being held strictly to it’s own merits, and not because of who you’re dating….then I’m all about that conversation

Who are you listening to in music at the moment?

I listen to a lot of different kinds of music at any given time. Right now I’m really into, Lawrence Taylor, Bernard Allison, and Robin Trower. I also listen on a regular basis to a lot of old music including Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Play guitar. Cook. Working out and do yoga. I live a pretty low key life when I’m not on the road.

Where are you favourite hang out spots in Nashville? Best places to eat?

I love sushi, so Virago and Wild Ginger are some of my favs. First time to Nashville though…you have to visit Hattie B’s and Jeni’s Ice Cream.

If I were to book a trip to Canada, where should I go?

Banff. It is a must see. I grew up about 45min west of Banff, and I was spoiled getting to visit the mountains every other weekend. It’s truly incredible beauty. Mountains that take your breath away.

Thanks so much for taking the time to do this interview Lindsay, it is very much appreciated and I am looking forward to seeing you in October.

Thank you Hannah! If you’re coming to any shows next week, please come up and say hello!!

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