On episode 82 of the Americana Music Show, Beth McKee talks about the different styles of southern music on her latest CD, Next To Nowhere; tells us about fishing or redfish near Port Sulfer, Louisiana and its metaphorical implications; and tells us how her “Swamp Sistas” movement got started.
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Beth McKee joins Calvin on the show live via telephone to talk about her new CD, Next To Nowhere.
Beth McKee talk this being Beth’s second appearance on the show. She was a guest back on episode 7 of the show.
Beth McKee talks about this CD being a testament to persistence and gumption. She says the climate in the music business is different than it’s ever been before. So having gumption and “stick-to-it-tiveness” is important for anybody in the music business today.
Beth McKee sets up “On The Verge” as the anthem track of the CD. It was inspired by a group of women that she’s gotten to know as she toured and promoted her previous CD, I’m That Way. As she met these interesting women that she wanted to keep up with, she decided to create an online Facebook community which she calls The Swamp Sistas. The group now has 1200 women. They are mostly from or in the south but they are from all over the world. Getting to know these women inspired this song. The song is about getting back to your dreams if you’ve lost track of them and it could apply to anybody.
[ plays “On The Verge” ]
Calvin talks about the many different styles of song on CD and asked her if it was a deliberate choice. Beth McKee says no, it wasn’t deliberate. It’s just her. Beth says these songs “are the sound track to her life.” She talks about how the time she’s spent in Mississippi, Texas, Louisianna, Florida, and North Carolina. Each of those states have their own type of southern culture and she’s picked them up as she went around.
Calvin asks if any of the genres are harder than others. Beth says no, they were all challenging in their own way and that the whole band and producer Tony Battaglia put everything they had into every track.
Beth McKee set up “Should Have Kept On Walking”. This is a song she wrote with a friend in New Orleans, Gary Hirstius. It’s about realizing that you should have gotten out of a relationship earlier than you did but being glad that at least you did eventually get out of it.
[ plays “Should Have Kept On Walkin'” ]
Beth and Calvin talk about the very short insert of back up vocals into “Should Have Kept On Walking.” She says it was Tony’s idea and she recorded that back up bit and her rule is “Tony is always right.”
Beth talks about the difference between covering someone else’s songs like she did on the previous CD and writing songs from her personal experience. She says its obviously a little more frightening but that was all the more reason for doing it. She said that Bobby Charles told her to follow her gut and don’t question yourself and just be honest about it.
Beth McKee tells a story about fishing to illustrate how she feels about the CD, Next To Nowhere. She says she used to go fishing down in Cocodrie, LA (near Port Sulfer) in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana and that she’d fish for redfish. She’d catch then from the bank, some times 8-10 pounders. She talks about the intense nervous feeling she got when she’d hook a fish on her line and it was so overwhelming she’d have to remind herself tht’s the fun part. She’d tell herself “don’t be freaked out that you are going to lose the fish so much that you don’t enjoy catching the durn thing.”
Beth McKee picks the third track, “Same Dog’s Tail,” because it is based on a quote from a famous North Carolina baseball player, Catfish Hunter. She had to clean up the language and “PG it down a little.”
[plays “Same Dog's Tail” ]
Beth McKee talks about the many musical influences she’s had. One in particular she mentioned was Gram Parsons because she lives in the area of Florida he was from. Calvin asks Beth to talk about the Americana of Gram Parsons of then vs the Americana of today. Beth says he was the guy the connected rock and country music then and that’s the core of americana today.