"I like to bring people together with our music, and I like to let music heal. The musical language and exchange that naturally happens with our audience is important, but even more so, the emotion that is attached with the messages we deliver are real and delivered with soul, and that exchange comes back to us ten fold."
Victor Wainwright: Memphis Loud Railroad
Though his career began over a decade ago with genuine rock n’ roll honky-tonk, Victor Wainwright has broadened his artistic scope over the years to include music representing virtually every corner of the roots music world. His insatiable interest in music discovery, sheer love for entertaining and curiosity have led him all around the world, and the resulting perspective is a reflection of his passion for entertaining and creating progressive roots music in an effort to move the art-form forward. Composer, producer, vocalist, and award wining entertainer and piano player; Victor Wainwright is a raucous high-octane, dynamic performer and crowd pleaser with soul to spare. The name of Victor Wainwright's band - and the sleeve image of their albums - is also the most fitting of metaphors. In music folklore, the train might have associations with the freight-hopping bluesmen of yore, but with this restless boogie-woogie innovator stoking the furnace, Wainwright is a charging locomotive - surging forward, crashing through boundaries of genre, sweeping up fresh sounds and clattering headlong past the doubters.
VICTOR WAINWRIGHT AND THE TRAIN's new album MEMPHIS LOUD (RUF RECORDS), will be released on MAY 22, 2020. Featuring 12 songs, all written/co-written by Wainwright, MEMPHIS LOUD was co-produced by Victor Wainwright and Dave Gross and recorded at Music+Arts Studio in Memphis, TN. Wainwright’s latest locomotive only further stokes his creative fire. Whether in the studio or on the stage, Memphis Loud follows The Train's self-titled studio debut's 2019 GRAMMY Nomination with joyous, ears-wide-open music. The exchange of energy is breathtaking. The title track, "Memphis Loud" skillfully combines Wainwright’s piano-driven rhythmic fire with the story of a benevolent music locamo-tive. Featured artistically on the album’s cover, this unique train proudly offers an exciting journey, escape and redemption to all who board it. With echoes of New Orleans piano, horns, and haunting chamber vocals, just when you feel like you can’t catch your breath, Sing conjures a cinematic sense of looming, while celebrating the catharsis of music.
Interview by Michael Limnios Special Thanks: Karen Leipziger & Ruf Records
How has the American Roots Music (and Counterculture of) influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?
American Roots Music and it’s subculture has provided me with opportunities to meet some of the finest examples of human beings this world has to offer. It’s also opened my eyes to both simple and complex everyday realities, that then often become masterfully written stories and songs, delivered both by my colleagues and outstanding songwriters across the globe.
How do you describe your sound, music philosophy and songbook? Where does your creative drive come from?
I like to produce and write with immense musical curiosity, leaving no roots stone unturned, all the while pushing the art-form forward. I carry with me the lessons from my grandfather, who taught me piano, and countless hours studying the roots of blues, genuine rock ‘n’ roll, jazz, boogie-woogie and honky-tonk, all the while honestly developing that into something modern, fun, unique, emotional and powerful. I draw my inspiration from the musicians, friends, family and fans that surround me. We love each other, and that makes its way into the music.
"I don’t write with fear in my heart, and I hope that the music we write is proof that music today can be just as strong and beautify powerful as music from any era. My hopes and dreams are that more songwriters and bands in American Roots music are given the opportunity to follow suit, break out of boxes, and write from their heart. That’s what original music is." (Photo: Victor Wainwright)
Which meetings have been the most important experiences for you? What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?
BB King gave me a lot of great advice. We opened for him for the first time in Daytona Beach, FL at the Peabody theater in front of a sold out crowd of 2500. I was both young and nervous. BB told me something that night that perfectly echoed advice my Grandfather and Father also gave me, which was to play with people you enjoyed playing with. Find friends that you can get a long with, that you love, and then grow musically closer, and explore the music together.
Are there any memories from "Memphis Loud" album's studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?
My favorite memories from the recording session involve the days we had the biggest groups of musicians. Sometimes we had upwards near 10 my closest friends and musicians in the studio all playing together, with the same goal. We were in those moments, the ultimate team. That was magical, and something these days I think is rarely captured on record. We played and recorded much of Memphis Loud LIVE, and with this many musicians, it was really something special to remember.
What do you miss most nowadays from the music of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?
You know, at 39 years old I don’t have the privilege to view music in the same way as many of my colleagues. Regrettably, I didn’t experience music of the past in the same way. I reverently respect it. However, my hopes and fears for the future are laid out within the tracks of our album. When I sing about “America,” it’s about the fear and current realities of divisiveness, and how we all must come together in order to heal and grow as a nation. I don’t write with fear in my heart, and I hope that the music we write is proof that music today can be just as strong and beautify powerful as music from any era. My hopes and dreams are that more songwriters and bands in American Roots music are given the opportunity to follow suit, break out of boxes, and write from their heart. That’s what original music is.
"American Roots Music and it’s subculture has provided me with opportunities to meet some of the finest examples of human beings this world has to offer. It’s also opened my eyes to both simple and complex everyday realities, that then often become masterfully written stories and songs, delivered both by my colleagues and outstanding songwriters across the globe." (Photo: Victor Wainwright)
What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in music paths?
Being comfortable is good. Being complacent is not.
What is the impact of music on the socio-cultural implications? How do you want it to affect people?
The common traditions, habits and beliefs present within the worldwide audience we play to are strong and humbly deserve recognition. I like to bring people together with our music, and I like to let music heal. The musical language and exchange that naturally happens with our audience is important, but even more so, the emotion that is attached with the messages we deliver are real and delivered with soul, and that exchange comes back to us ten fold. We want the message and the music to continue to effect people deeply, as it already has!
Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really want to go for a whole day?
There was a very special time in my life and career when my grandfather, father and uncle were all able to play on stage with me. Those are some of the most vivid and beautiful memories of my life. Although I’m certain my Grandfather is now jamming in heaven with the greatest of all time, I’d give anything to be able to time travel, and go back and experience those precious moments again.
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