Q&A with THE BATTLEFIELD: Where Folk, Americana and Gospel Unite.
Posted On 18 Jun 2014
Tag: Americana, Bruce Springsteen, Eddie's Attic, Folk, Gospel, Hotel Cafe, Hotel Utah, House of Blues, Jam In The Van, Jenny Weaver, Jimmy Addison, Lady Antebellum, Matt Ducey, Mumford & Sons, Piano Bar, Playing For Change, Rockwood Music Hall, The Battlefield, The Folkish Festival, The L.A. Vegan Beer & Food Festival, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
THE BATTLEFIELD is an up and coming, L.A. based, Americana Band comprised of three talented singer/songwriters: Matt Ducey, Jenny Weaver and James Addison. Their tight vocal harmonies, contemplative lyrics and stirring melodies reflect the famous folk & gospel artists of America’s past.
Formed in June of 2013, The Battlefield has built an impressive resume. In less than a year they’ve performed from coast to coast, booking shows in over six states and fourteen cities at many reputable venues such as: House of Blues, Hotel Cafe, Piano Bar, the L.A. Vegan Beer & Food Festival, Rockwood Music Hall (NYC), Eddie’s Attic (ATL), The Folkish Festival and Hotel Utah (SF).
Additionally, they’ve recorded and released two singles,”Into The Smoke & Maze,” “Peace In The Valley” and their intoxicating cover of Bruce Springsteen’s,”I’m On Fire.” They’ve gained fans and significant industry attention for their talents on stage as well as their involvement with charitable organizations like Playing for Change and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
The Battlefield is currently booking shows left and right and just finished recording their debut full length album, THE TIPPING POINT.
How would you describe your music to those who have not had the pleasure to be introduced to your sound yet?
Harmony Heavy Folk/Americana/Gospel – an audience member recently said we sounded like Mumford & Sons + Lady Antebellum.
Where did you all grow up? How did your location influence your style?
Jimmy– I grew up in Durham NC. In the early-mid 90’s, neighboring Chapel Hill had a post punk scene mirroring those of DC and Seattle at the time. I listened to Fugazi, Nirvana and Archers of Loaf for example. In contrast, I was raised in a religious family where Old Southern Baptist Gospel Hymns were constantly being played on our home piano. My style is a unique beverage – equal parts Alt Rock and Gospel, as well as a few other important miscellaneous musical ingredients.
Matt- I grew up in Northern California, in the suburbs north of San Francisco. I think back on being in the car driving through the beautiful scenery of West Marin and listening mostly to music from my parent’s record collection from the 60s & 70s. A lot of the demographic in that area is baby boomer/hippies/counter-culture kids and their music was heavily influenced by that scenery. (A lot of those musicians ended up moving there). I never intended to write folky, country-ish type songs from the 60s & 70s… but that seems to just have happened naturally for me.
Jenny – I grew up in Houston, TX, so I was surrounded by country music. Every restaurant sounded like a Honky Tonk at night. Traditional, old-school country (Merle, Waylon, Patsy…) has always been a love of mine. My favorite radio station is currently Willie’s Roadhouse on SiriusXM which broadcasts out of Austin, TX. As a child I was pretty obsessed with my parent’s record collection. My mom loved strong female voices – Dolly Parton, Emmy Lou Harris & Linda Rondstatt were a huge influence. The two albums that I distinctly remember of my father bringing home (that rocked my little world) were Springsteen’s “Born in The USA” & Huey Lewis “Sports.”
What’s the vibe of The Battlefield? What could we expect at your shows?
Our shows have a theatrical feel. Somewhere within the human spirit there is a space where church and saloon meet. We like to play there. The audience can expect to hear a timeless sound that is reminiscent of folk & gospel music of America’s past.
What’s your favorite song that you guys have written and what was the influence?
As a group, we all agree that the creation of “Brother Benjamin” was our most profound writing experience thus far. The inspiration came from a dream Matt had in which he heard part of what eventually became the song’s chorus, and his friend’s son Benjamin had just been born the day before. He wrote down the line, “Welcome, Brother Benjamin, to the cruel world.” We were up in Big Sur on a writing retreat when Brother Benjamin’s character was revealed. We found ourselves asking the question, “Why is this world so cruel to Benjamin?” The story that came into focus was much bigger than what any of us had imagined.
What was the first piece of music that you fell in love with growing up?
Matt- “The Nutcracker” –Tchaikovsky
Jenny– My mom singing “You Are My Sunshine”
Jimmy- “Polonaise in A flat major” – Chopin
If you could meet any musician that isn’t alive anymore, who would it be? Why?
Jimmy– Elliott Smith. It would no doubt be a depressing meeting, but if I could meet him as a sober teen this would be preferable. His chord progressions have had a profound effect on the way I write music.
Jenny – Jeff Buckley. I’ve always been deeply affected by the way his voice channeled emotion directly from his being to the soul of the listener. His music softens the pieces of me that this world tends to harden.
Matt- This is the hardest question for me! There are so many! Sorry if this is cheating but it’s kind of a tie for me between Tchaikovsky and Woody Guthrie. Tchaikovsky is just my most favorite composer and Woody Guthrie is the godfather of American folk music and he lived such an interesting life.
How has the tour been so far? How has life on the road been treating you? Can you share with us any memorable stories from the road so far?
The tour has been a huge learning experience. The road is an exciting adventure but it can be exhausting and trying at times. We’re learning the importance of taking care of ourselves, physically and emotionally. Jimmy got strep throat and had to stop off at urgent care for an antibiotic shot in the ass… but unlike our last tour, nobody’s been left at a rest stop… yet!
If you were on an island and could only bring 3 things, what would you bring?
Jenny – My KoAloha ukulele.
Jimmy- My chapstick!!
Matt – A top of the line Swiss Army Knife.
What is in your current music playlist? Any guilty pleasure songs?
Jenny – I’ve had NEEDTOBREATHE’s new album “Rivers in The Wasteland” on repeat since it was released this past April. Before that it was Jason Isbell’s “Southeastern”… Guilty pleasures…hmm… I’m a Tech N9ne fan… but I feel no shame.
Jimmy – Thrice “The Alchemy Index” water album.
Matt- Usually some Ryan Adams, Sam Cooke, Beatles, Bob Marley will pop up in my iTunes shuffle. Guilty Pleasure… this is pretty ridiculous but recently I’ve been having a good laugh with Juicy J – “Scholarship”.
Do you have any hidden talents we don’t know about that you would like to share with our readers?
Jenny – I teach S Factor which is something I would like to share with every woman on the planet (www.sfactor.com).
Jimmy – I’m a closet Botanist and an amateur calligrapher. I know my fine wines and I am an expert at flossing!
Matt- I like to cook and as I eat mostly vegan I get very creative with my meals to make sure they are nutritious and delicious. I consider myself to be pretty savvy on the skillet.
What’s on tap next for The Battlefield this year?
Touring, touring, touring! We also just submitted a new original song, “Let The Morning Come” to the 2016 NPR Tiny Desk Contest! Check out our video submission below:
To stay connected with THE BATTLEFIELD visit their socials below!
Website / Facebook / Twitter / YouTube / Jam In The Van