Five Questions With… Joey Landreth
One of the biggest Canadian roots-rock success stories of the past few years has been The Bros. Landreth, whose debut album Let It Lie earned a 2015 JUNO for Best Roots & Traditional Album of the Year—Group. Surprisingly, it was the end result of Winnipeg natives David and Joey Landreth finally collaborating with each other after years of working separately as both sidemen and on individual projects, following in the footsteps of their father Wally.
The reaction to Let It Lie quickly proved they had something special together. The album was picked up for U.S. release by Nashville-based Slate Creek Records, leading to glowing notices in Rolling Stone, Billboard and elsewhere. The Landreths suddenly found themselves being compared to Little Feat and the Allman Brothers, while being endorsed by the likes of Bonnie Raitt.
It’s been a bit of a whirlwind to be sure, and Joey Landreth has used the brothers’ self-imposed downtime to make a solo EP, Whiskey, out Jan. 27 on Cadence Music in Canada. Fans of Let It Lie will be heartened to hear that it’s not much of a stylistic shift, and in fact gives Joey the opportunity to flex his swampy slide guitar muscles, while also showcasing his soulful singing and songwriting.
While he expects The Bros. Landreth to be back at work soon, Joey is currently staying busy with shows in the U.K., to be followed by a tour of western Canada in February and March. You can get more details at joeylandreth.com.
What sets Whiskey apart from your work with your brother?
There isn’t particularly a deliberate departure from The Bros. Landreth actually. The new record was made with the same band that played on Let It Lie, so my brother Dave is on the bass and Ryan Vothis on the drums. It’s very much a continuation of where we left off, although, I took a few small liberties. The extended solo on “Still Feel Gone” is an example.
What made you decide to go solo?
It was not really a decision to go solo as much as it was a need for the band to take a little break and let my brother put some roots down with his new wife. It’s still very much a Bros. Landreth project.
What songs on the record do you feel capture your overall vision for it?
I hope all of them capture the overall vision! I suppose that’s up to the listener but the songs that I feel the most attached to would be “Whiskey” and “Time Served.”
What have been your most memorable touring experiences so far?
There are so many but I’d have to say my favourite tour memory was The Bros. Landreth's first time in London. We were on our way to a festival in Denmark—probably my second favourite memory—called Tonder Fest. We decided that it would make more sense to stop off in London first and play a show, so we did. It was to be our first UK show and history told us that there would be no one there. There is never anyone at your first show in a new market. But because a gentleman named Bob Harris had been playing our record on the BBC we had fans! So we were hanging out backstage and when it was our turn to play, we walked out onto the stage completely flabbergasted to see a room full of people. Sold out in fact and not only that, they were singing along with the songs. It totally blew us away and made us feel great.
What song by another artist do you wish you had written?
“Yesterday” by Paul McCartney.