On episode 67 of the Americana Music Show, Jonathan Harkham from Paladino talks about trying to capture the textures of the southern California landscape and latino culture, listening to his mother’s country music while growing up in Los Angeles, and why he chose to cover “Green Green Grass of Home.”
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The Americana Music Show is copyright 2012 by Taproot Media. The music and interviews in this episode are used with permission of the artists. The Taproot Theme music is called “Meltdown Man” by Derek K. Miller of Penmachine.com.
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Jonathan Harkham talks about how he’s been writing songs for 15-20 years but has never been part of the “folk scene”.
Jonathan Harkham walks through Paladino’s line up. Chris Isom on guitar and back up vocals. He also writes songs. Adrienne Isom plays guitar and sings. She was in art punk bands in the past. Annie Rothschild. Is also in the band. She grew up with a blues-centric upbringing. She plays stand up bass. Jon Rygiewicz plays drums. Jonathan had been playing country songs for a while and Chris and Adrienne told him they wanted to work on them with him. Then through friends of friends they pulled the rest of the band together. The do feel like a crazy family
Jonathan Harkham introduced first track from Paladino, “Lonely Mountain.” Jonathan said it comes from some hard times when his best friend passed away and he went through a period of isolation.
We talk about Jonathan Harkham’s vocal style. Jonathan said it’s an honest way for him to sing. He’s been pushing himself to project more. But his style feels honest to him.
Jonathan Harkham writes the songs and then brings it to the band to work with them. The band fits music to it. Most of his songs come from a solitary place so he write alone currently and then brings it to the band.
Jonathan Harkham introduced “Mexacali Rainsong” from Paladino’s CD. He wanted to say something about the textures of the landscape in southern California, the mountains, oceans, and deserts. The Latino presence also speaks to him. He’s interested in music / art that says something about the place where it is made.
Jonathan Harkham talks about growing up in the LA area. It’s home to him for most of his life. He got into folk and country. His mother always had it on the radio. Her favorite musician in the world was Johnny Cash. So it was “three chord craps” for them growing up. When he got to high school he had his punk rock phase.
Hank Thompson is one of his all time favorite inspirations, especially his early career. He thinks Thompson’s music is dark and powerful. Hank Williams and Johnny Cash are also big influences because they lived what they sang about. It’s not making a statement but it’s just about being yourself. He cites Porter Wagoner’s “Green Grass of Home.” and how they absolutely felt it he sang that song.
Jonathan Harkham approach “Green Grass of Home” on Paladino was based on his grandfather because it was his grandfather’s favorite song. Jonathan wanted to show his grandfather’s ghost that he could do it well.