We spoke to Jim Lauderdale following the announcement of his upcoming UK tour with Brandy Clark, which will be coming to Birmingham Town Hall this October. His latest single, I Love You more, features on his new album London Southern. Throughout his three-decade career, Lauderdale has helped pave the way for the current Americana movement, recording albums and writing songs that cross genres from country, rock, folk and bluegrass.

Jim has written many classic songs for iconic artists and worked with some of the finest performers in traditional and modern music, including Robert Hunter, Ralph Stanley, Elvis Costello, George Strait, Buddy Miller, Lucinda Williams, John Oates, Solomon Burke, Lee Ann Womack, Old Crow Medicine Show, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Blake Shelton, the Dixie Chicks, Vince Gill, Patty Loveless, and Gary Allan among many, many others. He co-hosts a weekly radio show on SiriusXM with Buddy Miller. He has starred in a number of feature films, including Country Strong.

Can you tell us a little about the inspiration behind your new album, London Southern?

The inspiraration behind London Southern came when I decided to record in London, the land of Nick Lowe with his sound engineer Nick Brockbank.


You’ve written songs that transcend genres of country, rock, folk, bluegrass (to name a few). How would you describe the sound of your new album?

I would describe the album as being a combinations of roots rock, R'n'B, soul and early Beatles. 


Who are your musical inspirations?

My musical inspirations are The Beatles, Rockpile, Otis Redding, Gram Parsons, George Jones, Ralph Stanley to name a few.


Why did you decide to record the album in London, and did this influence the music at all?

I decided to record this album in London after seeing Nick Lowe perform in Nashville while he was on tour with the group Wilco. I had opened up an international tour for Nick in '94 and '95, after being a great fan of his. He was very gracious to allow me to open for him when had a record out called The Impossible Bird. After seeing this show in Nashville, I approached his sound engineer Neil Brockbank to enquire with Nick about the possibility of me coming over. Nick said it was fine to use his band. I was overjoyed to be able to work with these fellows and to be in a different location. In an area where so much music had come from that influenced me. 

You’ve written a few songs with John Oats – what’s it like collaborating with him?

I've had the good fortune of writing with John Oates. He's a wonderful guy. We always have a lot of fun when we write together. Its a good collaboration of each other finishing the other's musical thoughts and lyrical ideas. He has a very good work ethic. Although he's achieved great success with Hall & Oates, he is always challenging himself to come up with new songs for his own solo work. 

And how did you find working with Dan Penn?

It was a real treat to get to write with Dan Penn. He'd been one of my favourite writers for many years. When I told him I was going to be recording with Nick Lowe's people, he was all for writing together. I felt like it was a good entree to writing with him. He is still as sharp as ever and has great ideas.


You recorded London Southern 4 years ago. What were the reasons for its delayed release? 

The reason that I delayed the release of London Southern after I recorded it several years ago, was that I felt like it was a different and special album for me. I wanted it to find the right home. I finally found that with Proper Records, which is based in the UK. They really had a lot of enthusiasm about it. I felt totally confident for them to put this record out finally.


Can you tell us anything about your song-writing process?

My songwriting process varies. I get song ideas at any time of the day, so I jot them down or record them. I co-write occasionally. That also varies, dependent on whether the co-writer is just a lyricist for instance. I've written about 100 songs with Robert Hunter, who was the primary lyricist for The Grateful Dead. That's very inspiring for me. A lot of times my writing process is due to the album project at hand. I write a lot just before I am going into studio or while I am in the studio. It's a very intense process.


How do you balance working life and private life?

I don't balance my private life and working life very well. I tend to get busier and busier with my work, so that doesn't leave much time for anything else. I do enjoy practising Tai Chi as a hobby and a way to stay in shape. I get to travel enough with my work, so I don't do much other than that. 


Do you notice a difference in the response from British fans and American fans?

I find that the British audience is just as enthusiastic, if not more than American audiences. I find sometimes that the British audiences know more about the musicians that are on records, or the songwriters. I always look forward to coming over and playing there.


Grab your tickets for Jim’s performance at Birmingham Town Hall on 27th October by following this link: www.gigsandtours.com/event/brandy-clark/birmingham-town-hall-birmingham/1078260.

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