Dirty Dozen: Lazarus

Rock n Roll Heart ended up as the title track, almost by accident. While I feel that it is very much a folk/Americana record, compositionally it progressed beyond traditional folk instrumentation, ranging from solo acoustic guitar to a Dixie land band.  Organically, it became my folk record that beats with a “Rock n Roll Heart.” 

Can you tell us about yourself? Where you’re from and what you’ve been up to over the past few years?
Much like my namesake, I was, I wasn’t and now I am again… not to be too cryptic but it’s as good a way to explain it as any.  I spent the 90’s in various rock bands and doing the bar band thing, blissfully so, I might add.  This beautiful woman stole my heart and I gave her my life.  A few years back, something called to me to get back at it.  It’s amazing what a decade of living can do to for a songwriter and I feel that the new record is… worthwhile.  I hope other folks feel the same.

How would you describe your music?
Blue Collar, hillbilly bullshit… hopefully just the right mix of old testament wrath with the optimism of the open road and FM radio.

Can you tell us a little bit about your influences?
My mom’s from West Virginia born to a dirt farming Baptist preacher. Her momma played ol’ time banjo for 86 of her 91 years.  I grew up on the Baptist hymnal and the certainty that the good Lord was gonna return any day.  That and… FM radio.  I lived close enough to Cleveland Ohio to pick up all of the great radio stations that make it the home of Rock n Roll.  I guess I’m the product of a combination of Jim Reeves and J Geils.

What are you currently promoting?
My first solo record, “Rock n Roll Heart.”  Recorded at King Electric Studio in Austin, Texas with producer Kris Brown, I think is a good way to introduce myself as an artist.  The album is backed by some of the hippest cats in Austin like Libby Koch, Warren Hood and Dennis Ludiker.

Have you got a particular song you’ve done that you’re particularly proud of, one that might define you?
I may have an easier time telling you which of my two kids I like better… I realize it won’t get a ton of airplay but, I think it would have to be “Shit and Shame.”  We recorded it basically live, Warren Hood tears into the fiddle part and Libby Koch’s harmony vocals add just the right amount of tension.  Thematically, it’s timely…

What are you currently listening to?
I’m listening to everything Adam Carroll!  I just discovered Adam’s work in the past few years but he’s been doing the Texas songwriter thing back before it was a thing.  “Highway Prayer,” a tribute record was released last year that’s wonderful but, for me, the last two studio records, “Let it Choose You” and “Old Town Rock n Roll” are really something special.  “Old Town Rock n Roll” is the best record I’ve heard since “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.”

And your favourite album of all time, the one you couldn’t do without?
I hate the is question… just because this record changes over time.  Right now?  “Old Town Rock n Roll.” Adam Carroll

What are your hopes for your future career?
To keep on keepin’ on.  I already have everything I want or need.  I hope that my music is well received.  I hope that I’ve tapped into our collective Pathos and get to continue to tell the tales, sing the songs, just like it has always been done, for the people, the good folk.

If money were no object what would be your dream project?
I have three more records of music in various stages of conceptualization.  If money was no object, I’d already be back in the studio working on the next record or two.

What’s the best thing about being a musician?
The connection with my people.  I wouldn’t profess to be smart enough to know why music works the magic that it works but, to achieve magical moments; the confluence of artist, instrument, patron and planet.  In a world where we seek to eradicate mystery, music is able to not only overcome but utilize these things to amplify the energy of the show.  You know you’re doing it right when you take as much from the show (as the artist) as the audience does.

And the worst?
Artists usually aren’t business types for a reason.  Us independent, self funded musicians have to balance our creative side with a pragmatic side.  When you’re the tour manager, booking agent, web developer, social media guru, and roady, it only leaves so much time to be the musician.

Finally, have you anything you’d like to say to the readers of Americana UK?
We’re living through an important point in human kind.  No one is here by accident.  Embrace your place in history!

Author: Rudie Hayes

Rudie is the weekly host of the syndicated radio show - The Horseshoe Lounge Music Session - playing the best American Roots and hosting terrific live guests.

1 thought on “Dirty Dozen: Lazarus”

  1. Lazarus Nichols is the talk of Austin, and with AmericanaUK taking the lead with this fine interview will I predict soon also be the talk of The European Roots Scene. Thanks folks.

    While I was there in Texas his performance for the Tim Henderson heritage collection launch at Threadgill’s was heralded widely as his career defining moment.

    Given this was during SXSW at the top table of the Austin folk music scene on one of their most prestigious events of the year for one of their most treasured departed friends and musical heroes, quite an achievement!!

    For those that may not be aware of Tim Henderson and his legacy TOWNES VAN ZANDT sums Tim up in this quote “His songs are soulful and solid, sprung from the soil of Texas. Sometimes witty, always wise. Never showy or shallow. His music has always impressed me as beautifully human.”

    This was a high spot of my Texas journey and was a day filled with so many wonderful performances from so many of my musical heroes, it was one of my life’s great privileges to be invited and to, as a result, be bestowed the great honour of being trusted to not only bring this most talked about release but also the posthumous collection of the late great Tim Henderson to my colleagues in the European Media. This is I am fully aware a career defining moment for yours truly also. (I’ll be sure to get Tim’s Collection to you folks here)

    These I predict will be two of the most talked about releases this year here in Europe as well as already in Texas.

    A day of Texas music at its ageless best, Tim an arterial root and Laz one of its most important off shoots to emerge in his wake!

    Thanks for getting the ball rolling and all you do for the independently mined music we love.
    Rob Ellen

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