Ireland’s love of American roots music is something that has long been championed and applauded. There are any number of bands an artists who take inspiration both from the giants of the genre – Zandt, Clark, etc – and those that head a little further afield trawling the old alt.country archives. The Southern Fold are one such example. Led by guitarist and vocalist Emlyn Holden the band draw as much from Son Volt and Creedence for their guitar driven sound with the band making their UK debut at Red Rooster Festival at the end of May. Americana-UK caught up with Holden at Kilkenny Roots Festival to chat about life on the road and those all important CD’s for the glovebox.
So, I guess the long open roads in Ireland are far from those Texan freeways?
Being from Ireland, life on the road isn’t quite the epic adventure that we envision when we think of never-ending American highways and their ever-changing backdrops. However, despite this, or even because of it, we do have our own travelling band demons to fight. Ireland is small enough that you can pretty much drive from one side to the other, play your gig, get back on the road and drive back home again all in the same day. It saves on accommodation costs and saves your soul from acquiring it’s very own drinking problem (but I am very partial to a Jameson or two before I go on stage to help calm the nerves). But then you find yourself at 4am waking up on the wrong side of the road or halfway in the ditch… It’s happened to me so many times that I don’t know how I’ve been lucky enough to get away with it.
Driving to the gig excited and nervous, there’s really nothing else on God’s green earth that I would rather do. You just want to play your best, hopefully the sound is good on stage, and just maybe you’ll move somebody out there in the audience and they’ll let you know and you can feel that energy coming back at you. And maybe they might even buy your record. There’s no better feeling than when you make that connection with other souls through your music – that’s what it’s all about. Sometimes you do stay overnight in a B&B or whatever or sometimes you sleep in the back of your van and wake up feeling old yet really alive. There’s nothing like playing a gig and parking up alongside the Atlantic Ocean and drifting off to sleep listening to the waves. There’s romance in here somewhere, all you have to do is chase it.
So, that all important playlist? What’s on the list Emlyn?
Elvis Presley – ‘The Sun Sessions’
Creedence Clearwater Revival – ‘Green River’
Bad Religion – ‘No Control[‘
Uncle Tupelo – ‘March 16-20, 1992′
Nirvana – ‘In Utero’
Wilco – ‘Being There’
The Replacements – ‘Tim’
Hank Williams – Everything!!
Hank III – ‘Straight to Hell
William Elliott Whitmore – ‘Ashes to Dust’
The Southern Fold play Red Rooster Festival on Friday, May 31st