Introducing....Logan Brill

Regular readers will (hopefully!) remember my two previous features with country music singer-songwriter Logan Brill, a review of her first album Walking Wires and then a review of her second album Shuteye. Well, I was recently able to catch up with Logan and ask her some questions....

What first drew you to country music?
I think honestly just the area that I grew up in, being in East Tennessee, around the bluegrass country scene, it's kind of just what was around when I was growing up and I think what I love about country music - and maybe you'd agree with this - country music is such an honest genre of music and it's all sort of about telling everyday stories. I just love that something like singing about where you grew up or your family or relationships and making them really beautiful talking about very ordinary things. It's kind of like the every man's music if that makes sense, I love just the storytelling aspect of that. So that's what originally drew me to country but I'm happy to be a part of it for sure.
Who would you describe as your influences?
I feel like my parent's generation of music was big for my influences. I love older stuff like Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris, even like, my dad would play like Jimi Hendrix all around the house, The Stones, just all sorts of different stuff. I loved Bonnie Raitt and, like I said, Emmylou Harris and Dolly Parton, Van Morrison was a big one for me, I just loved listening to that type of stuff. Then when I moved to Nashville I feel like I got more influenced by the contemporary country scene, with Miranda Lambert and Kacey Musgraves, just being influenced by the song-writers in town, I feel like a got a little dose of more of the contemporary stuff. I don't know, I keep describing my music as older country Americana meets newer country stuff too.
What song do you wish you'd written and why?
Ohhh that's a hard one! I feel like "I Can't Make You Love Me" by Bonnie Raitt, that's one of my favourite songs. It's just so brilliantly written and it's so honest and I just love Bonnie Raitt so I feel like that's maybe one. I also feel like on my own album, I didn't write "Shuteye" that was one that I actually found from an outside song-writer and the minute I heard it I was like 'I want to sing that song'. That's one I don't care that I didn't write it, I just wanted it on my record - but I really wish I had been able to write that song! [laughs] It's so much fun and it's fun to sing, but I was lucky that even if I didn't write it I was still able to sing it. So yeah, that's another one that I wish I'd written because it's just a fun song.
 Which artist would you like to collaborate with and why?
I don't know, let's see...I feel like collaborating with Emmylou Harris would be really cool. I got to meet her at a show one time, I was doing a show with Steve Earle and Shawn Colvin and she was backstage. I had no idea that she was even going to be there. So I ran into her and of course...I try to play it cool when I meet other artists that I really like and most of the time I can play it off pretty cool but I saw her and I was just like a nervous mess. I think that'd be really cool to be able to collaborate with her. She's probably the top and maybe Bonnie Raitt as well. I know I keep saying her but she's such an influence for me vocally, she's such a powerhouse and has that sort of bluesy grit that I feel like I have in my voice as well so I think that'd be a fun collaboration too. 
How did you decide which tracks to include on Shuteye?
I feel it's a process both times I've made my records, sitting down and most of the time what I do is take the song and strip it down to just an acoustic guitar and a vocal and then record that in the studio and kind of live with it for a little while just to see if...just for me I think song-writing is so important and I want to make sure my songs really hold enough weight at the bare bones before adding all the other stuff. So I did that with probably 20 different songs that I've written with others or like I say I draw from other song-writers as well. So yeah, just doing very striped down recordings of them and living with them for a while and then kind of deciding which ones really spoke to me and which ones fit together on the record. There were a few that right off the bat I knew I wanted. "The Bees" is one of them, I knew it was going to be on the record. That was probably the first one, I'd been singing it for a really long time and it had just sort of become part of my live set, the band loved playing it, so I knew that that one was going to have to be on it. "Far Cry From You" was another one that I almost put on the first record but for me it didn't quite fit with the rest of the songs on that record but I was kind of disappointed to not have it on there. We re-visited it for the second record and I was like 'let's try that one again', I love the song and it just totally fits with this record and I'm glad that I waited on this one. But yeah, it's kind of a trial and error process to kind of figure out what fits.
Which is your favourite track to perform live?
It's probably a tie between "Shuteye" and "I Wish You Loved Me" which are two polar opposites. It's kind of funny but it kind of depends...I played the Opry for the first time in May and I was able to do those two songs, which, like I said, so polar opposite. I put them on the bookends of the record on purpose. I wanted to start out with something that rocked and got everybody moving and then what I love about "I Wish You Loved Me" is that it's so honest and stripped down, it kind of felt like the right thing to put at the end of the record. I don't know, "Shuteye" is just fun, it's so fun to play live. "I Wish You Loved Me" just gets me in the totally zen place where I feel like I can connect with the audience and it can really be a moment for me personally to perform live. I just get emotional even singing that song so I feel like it's probably a tie between those two for the new record. Honestly I was so emotional just being at the Opry, I had 94 family members there! Which, honestly, it was great but it was kind of overwhelming because I was just so excited. Half of them I had never met! Second cousin to my great aunt...It was really emotional for me, just having them there and my parents. Of course my parents are crying and I'm backstage emotional. So both of those songs but "I Wish You Loved Me" really has a special place for me, it's fun to sing live and it was great at the Opry obviously.
How did yesterday go? (Logan performed at the Opry the evening before we spoke) 
It was great! It was really great. Usually they let you do two songs but they gave me three songs this time to do. It was a lot of fun! It all goes by so fast, you sing and it's ten minutes and then it's over but it was really fun, it was a lot of fun. This was my third time so it feels like I know all the musicians now, it's just fun! It's fun to go back, last night was great, it was a great time.
What was the hardest track to write?
Honestly maybe "World Still Round". I wrote it with a friend of mine, his song-writing name is Scooter Carusoe, he's over at Carnival as well, he's a song-writer there. He's such an amazing song-writer but he and I are both sort of the same in that if like the vibe in the room is not right then we don't try, we don't force it, let it lie and then come back to it. So I'm thinking honestly that song probably took us three different days of getting together and working on it and trying to figure out what was right and we actually ended up finishing the song at the Pancake Pantry in Nashville! We totally hit a spot and I was like let's just go and get some food and so we went to the Pancake Pantry and so over pancakes we finally wrote the last verse and it was like 'hey we're done now!'. Now it feels like it's the right thing but it just feels like it took a lot longer to really come to what it is now but I'm glad that I took my time with it because it's become one of my favourites on the record. So that's how that song sort of came to be finished. 
You have some great featured artists on the album, are there any plans to build on that?
You know, I'm hoping so. Charlie Worsham sang with me at the Opry last time which was so much fun. He sang "I Wish You Loved Me" with me which was great and there's talk about trying to figure out another day that I could get together with David Nail and possible sing that [The Women On Your Mind] at the Opry. I haven't intersected him yet at the Opry but I'd love to have him sing it live with me. Other than that, I'm sure having done the collaborations on this record, moving into the next record - whenever I start on that - I'm hoping to definitely do that again. It really made the songs really special for me and it was cool to have other artists that I respect on it so I'm sure in the future there will be more collaboration, I don't know who with yet.
You're managed by Carnival Music as well as being one of their writers, do you feel this gives you an advantage?
Yeah I do, I think having everything together in one place is nice, my publisher is also my manager and there's really only like 5 of us that are working on this project so it's really in-house and everything's super small scale and so we are all really really invested in making it work if that makes sense? I don't feel like I work with anybody that I don't know really personally and I don't work with people who don't believe in what we're doing so I feel like all of the people that I work with are 100% behind this and Carnival has been so wonderful in supporting me as a song-writer and helping me get to where I am...and it's nice just going to one office! I just show up at the office and I can pop in and talk to Courtney who works on label stuff and I can talk to Matthew about management stuff and write in another room. It's nice to have it all in-house. 
You included two cover songs on your album, what prompted that?
"The Bees" I actually played...I always tell this story when I play it live actually so I'll tell it to you now. We were playing in Annapolis Maryland which is like a naval base and it's right on the coast and it's really really cold in winter time. We were there in January, I was doing a couple of shows at this little tavern in town. A couple of family friends who lived in Annapolis let the band come back and stay after the show and were so nice to have us. We all had our own bed which was like a big deal because we usually sleep on floors and couches and wherever. Their popping bottles of champagne and just such sweet people. So we ended up staying up till like three in the morning. It was snowing outside, the fire was lit, we were drinking champagne so we played "The Bees" for the first time all together that night. I had known it from the Natalie Hemby version and the other band members had heard Lee Ann Womack's version. We played it all together and maybe it was the champagne but we thought it sounded okay! We added it to the setlist and, over about a period of a year, it felt like mine after a while. It felt like I had created my own version and I really wanted to put it on the record so that one was big for me. Then "Where Rainbows Never Die", I'm a huge Steeldrivers fan, bluegrass like I said, growing up in East Tennessee was a big thing. So I knew of The Steeldrivers and I was going back listening to all records and I heard "Where Rainbows Never Die" and I was like 'this would be an interesting one to sort of change around and try a female version'. The original version says "I'm an old man now" and I went ahead and was like nope, we're going to make a chick version and I'm going to say "I'm an old woman now"! So we had to change a few things around but I was really happy with it. "Where Rainbows Never Die" was the last one that we added to the record. It was missing something and that was one that we tried and it worked out. 
What is your favourite thing about being a musician?
Well for me I guess just being able to do something creative every day. I'm just not the person that can sit still for very long. I feel like a lot of my friends are 9-5 in the same routine but for me I love being on the road, all in new places all the time and meeting new people, mixing things up, it keeps me interested. Being able to just play music every night and be able to make enough of a living that I can continue doing it. I can't imagine doing anything else honestly. It's just so much fun. I think honestly just being able to travel around and share my songs, that's my favourite part.
And what's your least favourite part?
Honestly in the same breath, travelling too much. I love travelling around and I love meeting new people but it definitely is difficult being away from home so much. It's hard to keep up with my friends and my boyfriend and just trying to maintain the relationships at home is difficult when I'm gone so much. But at the same time, I make it work and when I'm home I do nothing but just spend time with people and catch up so I love that. So yeah, it's definitely tough being gone so much, that part is difficult but my band is great and they're like family to me now so we spend way too much time together [laughs] I'm on the road a whole bunch. I was just in town for two days, I leave again tomorrow, headed out for the weekend. When I get back I have two days and then I leave again. So it's usually just two or three days home and then off again. But I can't think of any other time in my life that I would be able to just up and go and do this so I'm just committing I guess at this point. My theory at this point is if I don't give 100% and continue to push forward and hopefully continue to grow as an artist and grow my fan base...if I don't give 100% and ten years down the road it doesn't work out I will always wonder if it would have worked if I'd given 100% and so I feel like that's sort of my mind set. If I try as hard as I can possibly try to continue to do this and it doesn't work out I will sleep like a baby at night knowing that I gave it my all [laughs]
Any plans to tour the UK?
Yes! I am very hopefully to be able to tour the UK. I will keep you updated but hopefully in the next year we're planning on expanding a little bit and maybe coming overseas and doing something in the UK. We had a festival in France that we got an offer for last summer, about a year ago and it was just a little too last minute. We got the offer maybe two months before the show and to fly the whole band and everything we kind of needed more of a heads up, more of a tour plan around it. But it will happen! I will be there! 
Thanks so much to Logan for her time! I'd recommend listening to her music if you haven't already, her sophomore album Shuteye is outstanding. It sounds like we may get to see her in the UK soon, I for one can't wait!