In 2009, folk-singer Josh Okeefe dropped out of college left his hometown of Derby, flying from England to Nashville, Tennessee where his idols Hank Williams Sr and Johnny Cash had both once lived. He visited the places they had frequented; became a regular in the rock and roll clubs in East Nashville; met a host of other musicians and began writing the songs which landed him a number of major label cuts.
He recorded his debut album and now returns to the UK for his first tour. Okeefe will be performing at the Glad Cafe on 17th September. Buy tickets here.
1. What was the music you grew up listening to?
Country & Western as they call it in the UK. Mostly American music, as my dad preferred it. He used to say the Americans are better songwriters.
2. How did Nashville differ from or emulate what you were expecting when you travelled there?
Thought it was a cowboy town, you know. Small, one dust trail going through town type. Wooden storefronts with horses tied up to the hitching rails and the next lovesick drifting cowboy singing his heart out in the local saloon. You could say it was pretty different when I got there.
3. How quickly did you write the debut album?
Oh I’d say lightning speed! I didn’t really sit down and try and write the album. I write a lot, all the time to be honest, sometimes a song a day, sometimes four.
When it came to making the album, I just turned on the microphone and sang the songs I felt like singing.
4. Tell us about the actually recording process for the album, what did you set out to achieve?
There wasn’t really a process and I didn’t set out to achieve anything. I had read that Joan Baez recorded her first record in four nights in a smelly ballroom at a hotel in NYC, that inspired me! I didn’t have a smelly ballroom but I did have an old 350 sq. ft log cabin from the 1800’s, so I thought why not?
My friend Keith Gattis lent me one RCA 77 microphone and I had purchased an Ampex 350 two-track tape machine from JJ Cale’s estate for $100. I really had all the tools I needed to capture my songs.
5. How would you describe your live set, the collection of songs you are bringing to Glasgow?
I don’t know how to describe my own live set. I would say come down to the show and find out what it is all about.
September 13th – Guildhall Theatre, Derby
September 14th – The Old Stables, Swindon
September 15th – Chapel Arts Centre, Bath
September 16th – Worcester Music Festival, Worcester
September 17th – The Glad Cafe, Glasgow
September 24th – Septemberfest, Donington
September 28th – The Bedford, London