What is the significance of the name ‘Red Horse’? What inspired you
all to come together to record as a group?
hidden meaning there, for me anyway, I just like horses, the name had
a nice visual for me, simple, and then of course there is the word play
on the “Red House” label connection for these 3 artists…hey, it was
John’s idea…( I blame John!) Plus it was better than “White People with
Problems” (my suggestion). This whole idea was just a whim..based on
a desire to have fun with two of my most favorite performers in the
world. We thought it would be fun to do some shows and that evolved
into a recording project. I think Lucy’s husband Rick had the idea to
record. I think I had the idea to do the shows. I think John had no
LUCY: John came up with the name
Red Horse as a kind of play on the name “Red House”, since we’re all
on Red House. Eliza emailed me a few months ago and asked me if I wanted
to do some gigs with her and John. I loved the idea and mentioned it
to my husband, Rick, and he said “why don’t you guys make an album together?”
I suggested that to John and Eliza and everyone wanted to do it.
JOHN: I don’t know if Red Horse
has a lot of deep meaning. We are all Red House artists. A house usually
stays in one place, most horses can run, and sometimes a red horse can
fly… I think it’s like that. For me it’s a colorful symbol of freedom.
We liked it better than some combination of our names, I guess. We thought
it would be fun to sing together. Lucy’s husband Rick said “why don’t
you make a record?”, so we did. I’m glad we have a souvenir of our time
together. Now we have to ask Rick what to do next.
2. How did you go about choosing the songs? How did you all decide on
the cover tunes?
liked the idea of going back deeper into the catalogs and choosing songs
that were ripe for a makeover. I had always wanted to do a more gritty
production on “Walk Away From Love”, and Lucy and John both chose more
obscure songs of mine that benefited from new interpretations. I went
way back into John’s catalog for “Forget to Breathe”, though I stayed
close to the original structure and just added a cool hymnlike guitar
part. Lucy’s song “Promise Me” jumped out and demanded that I give it
a shot. As for the cover tunes, of course they had to have great harmony
potential , but it was also our chance to round things out in terms
of balancing the various moods of the whole recording, so we chose with
that in mind as well. That was the hardest part for me actually, til
I found that old Neil Young song. I used to sing it way back when, and
it was fun to record-it’s a deceptively simple sounding song with a
very inventive and original chord progression and melody, and the harmonies
are really fun to sing. Plus Mike Hardwick played a killer twang and
thump Gretsch guitar solo on it.
LUCY: Eliza and I each chose a song
of our own that we either wanted to re-record/reinvent, and John, who’s
so much more prolific than I am, had a new song he wanted to do with
us. We each chose a cover we wanted to do, and ran the idea by the others.
In my case, John and I had sung “Wayfaring Stranger” together at a gig
in November, and he suggested we do that one. I thought it was a great
JOHN: I think we each considered
what batch of songs would get along with us and each other. I think.
3. You all covered a couple of each other’s songs on this album. Why
did you choose the songs you did? What were your initial reactions to
hearing your song(s) interpreted by the others?
artists do their own material on projects like this, so we thought it
would add a new twist and challenge for us to cover each other’s songs.
It really changed the recording landscape, and I think was the most
satisfying part in the end. Choosing was a process we each came to separately,
searching though the material til a song resonated personally-you have
to be able to step into the character and make it your own. I was thrilled
to hear their versions of my songs, just thrilled, I like them better
than my originals. It breathed new life into them for me. .
LUCY: A couple of years ago someone
at a show of mine requested “Blue Chalk”. I’ve sung harmony on that
song for years with John, and I didn’t think I knew the lyrics, but
it turned out I did. I sang it at that show, and have been singing it
in shows ever since. So it was kind of an obvious choice. There are
a bunch of Eliza’s songs I love and would love to sing, but “Sanctuary”
blew me away. I thought it might work well with solo piano and would
be really different from Eliza’s version.
JOHN: We suggested a few songs to
each other as possible candidates. The 2 main considerations I had were:
Which songs could I pull off and which songs would I not mind singing
for the rest of my life.
4. Are there any songs that didn’t make it on the album?
did a very unsatisfactory version of “Promise Me” that did not come
close to Lucy’s excellent original arrangement, so Cisco (my son and
co-producer) and I scrapped it, and built on a whole other concept,
a kind of smoky “late night” version of the song that was just delicious
to sing to. We also dumped my initial cover choice, an old Hazel Dickens
song called “Will Jesus Wash the Bloodstains from Your Hands?”, a fabulous
anti-war/ anti-empire song that I just felt wasn’t the same without
Hazel’s authentic hillbilly vocal. I sounded way too straight for it
and I don’t like to fake an accent. The Neil Young cover (I am A Child)
was a better fit.
LUCY: We had some ideas for covers
that we nixed, but as far as I know we didn’t record anything that didn’t
make it on the album.
JOHN: Speaking for myself, all of
the other songs didn’t make it on the album. Seriously though, there
was a song that I tried to record that didn’t make it and that is for
What was the collaboration process like? How did you come up with the
all communicate so well with each other and there wasn’t much disagreement,
so we sort of breezed through the concept part. We all agreed to keep
the productions simple and in the folk vein, so it would be easier to
match the songs up in the end, plus we all agreed we should do a final
mix and master in one studio (Mark Hallman’s Congress House in Austin),
so there was cohesion. I was amazed at how well it all matched up, mostly
due to the consistancy of the harmonies throughout, along with Mark’s
gifted mix/mastering abilities.We also sent each other rough mixes throughout
the process and we gave input back and forth about the arrangements
as they unfolded.In the digital age it is really simple to work long
distance with music files. I can’t say it was all easy, because there
was a learning curve with all this digital studio stuff going on simultaneously
between 3 different studios, producers and artists, plus working out
harmonies long distance is not ideal, but we were happy with the end
LUCY: I love Eliza and John as artists
but also as people. They were wonderful to collaborate with, always
open to and respectful of others’ opinions and ideas, and very very
funny.We each came up with our own harmony parts on our own, and they
just sort of gelled together.
JOHN: There was a tremendous number
of emails. We each have such busy lives, so we basically made a record
without really having the time to make a record. Somehow we were able
to get it done. The basic idea as I recall was to have the record be
vocal and guitar centered maybe with one or two other touches. Some
of the arrangements evolved from there and became a little fuller. I
think we mainly tried to serve the song in regards to production. We
were responsible for 4 songs each and we sent many mp3s around for comments
and consideration. For me it was my first time making a record as a
member of a group. I was used to being the lone wolf. It was a welcome
6. What can fans expect at a Red Horse show?
think we will run the full emotional spectrum, there will be some laughs
because Gorka is such a dork and you never know where that will end
up. But there will for sure be a depth of seasoned songwriting offered.
I imagine we will challenge and inspire each other to throw down our
best stuff. I doubt we will do the same songs every night, most likely
keep it spontaneous. And we will sing our asses off!
LUCY: Since we’ve never done a show
together, who knows? I’m sure we’ll do most of the songs from the CD
and some other songs of ours too. People can certainly expect lots and
lots of harmonies.
JOHN: Nice outfits, good hair, fun
surrounding all of us singing songs we know.
Finally, what music are you currently listening to?
have been enjoying Richard Shindell recently, his latest “Not Far Now”…dang
, he is such a great songwriter and singer. There is a young woman out
of Wimberley Texas named Amanda Mora who totally got me with her recent
debut recording “the Ribbon”..exquisite! also the new remix of the Rolling
Stones lp, “Exile on Main Street”, and then those latest Beatles remixes
just blow my mind. I haven’t heard all of them yet, but they are so
rich in analog sounds and production,as well as deeply musical. I need
to just throw down the big bucks and get the whole collection. I’m listening
to Mark Knopfler , Radiohead, Emmy Lou Harris, Mary Chapin Carpenter
(great new record) and a whole lot of “no music” too! Sometimes you
just need a break.
LUCY: My 7 year old daughter only
wants to listen to The Beatles, so that’s about it in our house!
JOHN: Outside I’m listening to the
music of frogs and birds. Indoors I’ve been listening to music from
my trip to Italy in May and also this new group from the US…