The breezy jangle of “Get Away,” the opening track off Belle Adair’s striking new album, Tuscumbia, might not be the first thing you’d expect to hear from an Alabama band named after a John Steinbeck reference. Combining mellow, atmospheric rock and swirling, retro power-pop, it’s more Big Star than Swampers, but it’s an ideal gateway into the blissed-out world of Belle Adair, a group that manages to make even worry and isolation sound inviting. Recorded at Muscle Shoals’ legendary FAME Studios with Wilco producer/engineer Tom Schick, Tuscumbia calls to mind everything from The Byrds to Teenage Fanclub as frontman Matthew Green’s meditative lyrics navigate a slew of major life changes, contemplate the meaning of home, and grapple with the realities of life on the road.
What was the biggest fun during the making of the last album?
Mixing the record with Tom Schick at the Wilco Loft and working in a space that has birthed so much music we love. To work in a space that is set up to be 100% conducive to creativity is inspiring. Plus, Tom and Mark Greenberg (studio manager) are awesome people.
She tells you she will decide on a 5-song-mixtape if there is going to be a second date. Which 5 would you put on?
Well, it would have to be songs based around the idea of two, second, double, etc. so…
- “Two of Us” – The Beatles
- “Waltz #2” – Elliott Smith
- “Double Dare” – Yo La Tengo
- “Double Life” – The Cars
- “She Actin’ Single (I’m Drinking Double)” – Gary Stewart
Every family birthday, same story. Again, you have to explain what kind of band you are in. What’s the story this time for aunt Jenny and uncle Clive?
I always go with rock ‘n’ roll. It makes us sound a little more badass and interesting than we actually are.
Which is the song you wish you had written every time you hear it? And why?
There are so many, but right now, I’d have to say “Powderfinger” by Neil Young. It’s been on repeat for the last few months. It’s a story song, which is hard to keep simple and direct while at the same time complex and mysterious. Which details to you leave out? Which do you emphasize? How much is too much? “Powderfinger” is a masterclass of that form and restraint to me. It’s like a Hemingway short story or a Joan Didion memoir.
If you could tour the world with 2 other bands, who would you ask to join?
Oasis and Blur. Who wouldn’t have fun with that?