Steve Hussey and Jake Eddy, an Americana duo from Washington, West Virginia USA, living in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and were both born and raised there. Steve is an experienced singer/songwriter best known for his work with the Steve Hussey Band and Jake is a 17-year-old multi-instrumental prodigy who is very well known in Bluegrass circles.
Can you tell us about yourself? Where you’re from and what you’ve been up to over the past few years?
Steve: Born and raised in Washington, WV. I went to college for business and actually spent a year studying at the University of Edinburgh on Scotland where I met and hung out with Josh Ritter. I am a bit of an anglophile. Musically I have spent much of the last 5 or 6 years learning how to be an engineer and producer and building out my studio in addition to writing whenever the mood strikes me. I am also working on a solo album with Gary Sadker, a producer with Red Ridge Entertainment in Nashville, TN. In all of my spare time I have launched Merf Records, a record label, recording studio and entertainment company.
Jake: I am from Parkersburg West Virginia. I have been playing music since I was 8 (ish) years old. I have been devoted to creating full time since then. I also own a clothing line.
How would you describe your music?
Steve: I am sure everyone says this, but our music is different. Even going back to the Steve Hussey Band days I feel that it’s been really hard to put a label on the songs. It draws from Folk, Country, Blues, Rock and even Bluegrass music so I feel like the Americana label is the most appropriate label. It’s kind of a catch-all term that encompasses all of those genres. I think what makes in unique is that it really has cross generational appeal. If you are 8 or 80 years old, there is really something in there for everyone.
Can you tell us a little bit about your influences?
Steve: I grew up listening to a lot of the folk revival music from the 60s. The Kingston Trio, Peter Paul and Mary kind of music. There was also a lot of Paul Simon, James Taylor and John Denver music playing in my house growing up. As I got older I naturally gravitate towards acoustic-guitar based singer songwriters.
Jake: My influences range from Earl Scruggs to Miles Davis and everything in between. Currently I am digging more electronic styles of music outside of the current project with Steve. I am fascinated by sampling.
What are you currently promoting?
Steve: We are currently promoting “The Miller Girl”, an album that was two and a half years in the making. It is my debut as an engineer and producer. It started as a project to record a couple songs I had written for my wedding and just kind of blossomed into this ten song LP that we are both very proud of. It’s a concept album where the songs tell the story of a person who is lost. They end up being delivered through the transformational power of love by the end of the album. I think in these dark, scary times politically and otherwise around the world that people need more of this type of message right now.
Jake: In addition to “The Miller Girl”, I am promoting my clothing brand “SVMTHN” (pronounced “somethin'”). I just did my first release for my season one along with a live show!
Have you got a particular song you’ve done that you’re particularly proud of, one that might define you?
Steve: For me, I think it’s “Into the Ether” from “The Miller Girl”. I feel like it’s a very strong song melodically, lyrically and arrangement-wise. It sort of encompasses the sound we are trying to capture with this project.
Jake: I agree with Steve on “Into the Ether” and I like to see myself as someone whose style is applicable to many different genres other than Bluegrass. A great example for me is the song “Looking for Love” from this project. The guitarlele (a cross between a guitar and a ukulele) was a first take improvisation and I just love that song and that solo.
What are you currently listening to?
Steve: Really been into a good friend of mine’s music lately by the name of Todd Burge. He’s an eclectic, super talented Folk Singer/Songwriter from nearby. Other than that, it’s the usual Avett Brothers, Sturgill Simpson, Ryan Adams type of stuff that I just love.
Jake: All sorts of things. “Light As A Feather” by Chick Corea is something I have been revisiting a lot lately. Also been listening to a band called Marbin.
And your favourite album of all time, the one you couldn’t do without?
Steve: Jeff Buckley, “Grace”. Talk about a guy that was way ahead of his time. I really appreciate the songwriting, performances and the production. I have done my homework on that album and I can tell you all of the gear they used on the album (I am kind of a recording gear nut).
Jake: Grateful Dead, “Shakedown Street”
What are your hopes for your future career?
Steve: This album is the first step into a larger world for us. I have always been content to be the “local hero” type of musician. This album changed things for me. I feel very strongly that this album is something special and different. I feel if we make an effort to push it out beyond out comfort zone great things can happen. I have always had to work other jobs and fit music in there somewhere. It is my aspiration to make music my life.
Jake: I want to keep doing what I am doing now on a larger scale. Studio sessions, perhaps touring, finding bigger ways to keep doing music.
If money were no object what would be your dream project?
Steve: I would love to do a duets album with all of my musical heroes. Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Ryan Adams, John Mellencamp to name a few. Throw in a few others like Noel Gallagher and Michael Stipe. Make a big Traveling Wilburys type album with massive songs full of harmony and hooks.
Jake: I often have a dream of a project where I am playing jazz in a setting with just me on guitar and the rest is electronically produced. (Samples, synths, drum machines, etc…)
What’s the best thing about being a musician?
Steve: Connecting with people. That’s what gives it all meaning. I did music initially for my own enjoyment. When I started writing songs and having them connect with people, that’s when I understood the bigger picture. It’s about having what you brought into being connect with someone in a way that they make it their own somehow. Nothing like it.
Jake: Being able to be the voice for those who don’t have one. Being able to use your abilities to make a difference for those who cannot.
And the worst?
Steve: Being so consumed by it when you don’t necessarily have enough time to devote to it. Not being able to get all of it out. I have a phone full of audio notes that I sang into the recorder when inspiration hit that I have never gone back to finish because I was in the car, or at work, or at an event supporting my kids. I find it hard to go back and finish the song after the moment has passed.
Jake: The torment of not being able to create enough to satisfy your own mind– to not be able to work to what you know is your full capacity, deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties.
Finally, have you anything you’d like to say to the readers of Americana UK?
Steve: Well, I really enjoyed the time I spent in your country 20 years ago. I would love to return soon and perhaps share my music with you. Some of my first ever live shows were played at PAMS house at the University of Edinburgh and several open mics and coffee shops around town there. Maybe we will see you soon!