Q&A Scene: Old Gray Mule


Tell us about your new single/album/tour
Well, we just released two albums on New Orleans-based indie label Cash Munkey Records titled “Have Mercy” and “Hump Night 55”. Dom from Backsliders is on both of them. He came to visit us in New Orleans while we were recording and we’re proud as hell to have him playing with us. We met him and Rob at Wangaratta Jazz Festival back in 2013 and kinda hit it off. Ended up out int the parking lot swapping lies and tequila until the wee hours. While he was in NOLA with us, we started talking about the idea of touring together because the two bands complement each other on a bill…they cover areas of music that we don’t, and we cover areas of music that they don’t…so everybody who comes to the shows should leave tired and happy!

How would you describe your sound in food form and why?
Ha! We’re cooking a perfect batch of Old Gray Mule music for you folks when we get to yall’s place. Texas Salsa is what our sound is because we cram a lot of different stuff into the mix, and it’ll make you sweat and smile. F’real. Spicy, funky shit. That’s what we play.

Which song resonates most strongly and why?
Man I can’t speak for other folks, but for JJ and I…our title track Have Mercy probably resonates the most with the two of us as a group. It’s a slow, trippy, DEEP ass song. Our engineer and co-producer on both albums passed away suddenly right before Christmas, I had a close friend lose her 11 month old baby during the recording sessions, another friend was killed by a drunk driver right before we started recording, JJ’s grandmother and a friend who was like a father to him both passed away while we were recording…so when we play that song live, we’re thinking about those people and we’re hurting. We FEEL that song, and we’re for real asking for mercy. I tend to stare pretty hard at nothing during that song, and JJ’s singing his heart out and sometimes crying. Even with the sadness, it’s a beautiful song, and we’re immensly proud to have Chris Parkinson from Maslin Beach, SA playing atmospheric slide guitar on that track with us. His main band is called The Yearlings, and he’s my favorite Aussie guitar player bar none. That man took a deep song even deeper and we’re very grateful for that.

Any on the road anecdotes?
Gotta protect the guilty mate! Quick Aussie story for you though, we’ve stopped at the Giant Koala in Dadswell Bridge at least 3 times already, and will probably stop there again on this tour. It’s a creepy bugger at night too man, giant red glowing eyes, looks like it has a tree growing out of one ear…stuff of nightmares right there.

Where do you draw inspiration from?
We want to play and write music that does one of two things: A. We want you to feel better than you did before you listened to our music. Or, B. We want you to see stories in your mind when you’re listening to our songs. Some of our instrumental stuff sounds like soundtracks to films I’ve been told, so hopefully you’ll enjoy the show! As for direct musical influences: RL Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, T Model Ford, Paul Wine Jones, John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Albert Collins, Clifton Chenier, Buckwheat Zydeco, Bootsy Collins, OV Wright, Donny Hathaway, Parliament Funkadelic, Tribe Called Quest, Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, RL Boyce, Robert Belfour, The Backsliders, Ry Cooder, Tinariwen, Ali Farka Toure, Chris Whitley, Jeff Lang, The Yearlings, Chris Russell’s Chicken Walk, Lightnin Malcolm, Cedric Burnside, The Dixie Hummingbirds, Canton Spirituals, Robert Pete Williams, Mississippi Gabe Carter, Ludacris, Chingy, T-Bone Walker, Boozoo Chavis, Robert Randolph, Conway Twitty, Pharcyde….hell, anybody that’s made music that has made us smile

What’s next for you?
Playing live! We spent most of 2014 in the studio and traveling back and forth between Lockhart, TX and New Orleans, so we’re looking forward to hitting the road in ’15. So, we’ve got the VIC-SA-NSW tour with The Backslider starting here in a week, then we come back to TX for SXSW, then Mississippi for Juke Joint Festival, then back to Australia in May for Blues on Broadbeach up in QLD, then back home for more dates, and a possible third trip down under in November yet to be confirmed.

What’s your scene?
The car wash scene from Cool Hand Luke will do just fine thank you.

About the band

All the way from the USA, Old Gray Mule are a two-man Mississippi Hill Country and Raw Electric blues wrecking machine. With five critically acclaimed albums in their catalogue, Old Gray Mule embodies the old school blues ethic: “Keep it simple, it’s for dancing yall.”

Guitarist/vocalist CR Humphrey and drummer/vocalist JJ Wilburn have played/recorded with the best of the best of Mississippi including Cedric, Duwayne, and Garry Burnside, David, Kinney, and Robert Kimbrough, Jimmy “Duck” Holmes, T Model Ford, Robert Belfour, Lightnin Malcolm, Kenny Brown, Bill Abel…. the list goes on.

OGM’s live shows are straight up Mississippi juke joint style dance parties, with a lot of back and forth with the crowd, girls on stage dancing, and folks sweating out the bad stuff. This music is guaranteed to make booties move!

Old Gray Mule have blown away crowds at numerous festivals, and have a new record

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About Mandy Hall 949 Articles
Mandy is a music photographer & writer. She runs Mandy Hall Media, which includes Photography, Social Media marketing, PR & Graphic Design for the music industry. She is also a web developer - she created and supports this website.

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