Interview – Romi Mayes
– by eugene osudar
Romi Mayes‘ Achin In Your Bones follows a long and storied life/career that includes five years living on Vancouver Island and recording a song (“Hand Me Down World”) for the Guess Who tribute record, Guess Who’s Home. Like her previous album, Sweet Steady Somethin – which earned the Winnipeg-based singer-songwriter a Songwriter of the Year Award from the WCMA – Achin in Your Bones was produced by cowboy pop vet Gurf Morlix (Lucinda Williams is among his credits).
Via email, and while completing a Western Canadian tour before going off to Italy in April, Mayes shares with The Snipe’s Winnipeg correspondent eugene osudar the trials and tribulations of roots-rock recording. – Shawn Conner
Eugene Osudar: How many songs did you write for the new CD?
Romi Mayes: I had about 18 songs going into the studio and then 11 made the album… when we were in the final mixing process I decided to pull one from the album so we ended up 10.
EO: What are some of the stories behind “the stories of the songs”?
RM: Each one has its own story, situation, reasons… a lot of them come from first person, firsthand experience, and others are just inspired by people I have met along the way.
EO: Inspirations/happy coincidences/happy discoveries while recording, anything of special note to/for you…
RM: I loved working with Gurf again… it was good to have more of a hand in the production this time around. I trusted my own musical sensibilities this time around more than we worked on Sweet Somethin Steady. I also played a lot more electric and lead guitar on this album than i ever have in the past. It was nice to see my skills catch up with some of my musical sensibilities.
EO: When did you decide you wanted Gurf Morlix to produce?
RM:When I was looking for a producer for Sweet Somethin Steady I had talked to a few other producers but I just wasn’t finding the right chemistry. A past dobro player of mine, Dan Walsh, suggested Gurf, so we sent him pre-production material and some past albums… he called me within a couple weeks and we had a great talk about music and we both knew then that we had some serious mojo and that we were going to work on the album. This time around was a no-brainer since that time Gurf and I have toured and played and listened to music and stayed close friends. I think he’s one of the best producers I have ever heard.
EO: Are some of the songs old songs/or are they all/mostly new?
RM: Almost all of them were written in 2008. I was having kind of a dry spell with writing and then suddenly a whole lot of them poured out and then I knew it was time to make a new album.
EO: I seem to recall The Weber Brothers backed you up at Candor Books and Music one time? Was that what led you to ask them to join you on tour as your band?
RM: The Webers are world-class. We had been talking about this for the last few years… we all wanted to tour together for sure. I’m so lucky to have them with me for these tours. I will try to keep them as long as humanly possible. They are the cat’s ass.
EO: Do you love Italy? Tell me about you and your Italian friends…
RM: Italy is the most amazing place in the world. They are warm and inviting and they love wine at noon. What more could you ask for?