What's the latest in songwriter Bo Ely's World
Tell us about yourself and your music
My age may define me as “elderly” but music defines me as “young at heart.” Music is my lifeline. It feeds my soul and keeps me going and growing. Music has been a part of my life since my crib days when I bounced to the tunes blaring from the LPs of the big band era my parents listened and danced to. As a young kid, I was inspired by the musicians on The Lawrence Welk Show to take music lessons. Unfortunately, I sucked at the accordion. Then in high school, my friends started a band—mostly to meet girls—so I attempted to learn the guitar. That, too, was a failure, but I eventually found my calling as a band manager, booking agent, concert promoter, and now songwriter.
Talk to us more about your latest release
My latest release, “One Man Band,” is a tribute to a friend whose livelihood is performing across the country as a traveling one-man band—a somewhat lonely existence except for his constant companions: a kick drum, harmonica, guitar, and a faithful van named Silver. He may not be a household name, but he’s living out his dream, sharing his music, seeing the country at his own pace, and loving every minute of it.
Describe the writing and recording process
When a melody pops into my head, I grab my guitar and head for the backyard. The lyrics usually come in a stream-of-consciousness/organic sort of way. I’ll work on it for a while, but don’t force it if I hit a wall. I sleep on it and see what comes out the next day. With “One Man Band” the process flowed pretty easily and paved the way for a relatively smooth recording session in Nashville with Caitlin Evanson, an accomplished musician, and vocalist.
Any plans to release a video?
Any plans to hit the road?
I know how tough it is out on the road for bands and solo artists alike so I have no plans or desire to tour. Rather, I prefer that my songs go on the road with musicians who can do justice to them.
As an indie artist, how do you brand yourself and your music to stand out from the rest of the artists out there?
I consider myself a non-singer/songwriter so I don’t know that branding is appropriate. Branding to me is sort of like labeling and the songs I write don’t fit into any one category. It gives me more opportunities to write songs suitable for a variety of musical genres. Changing lanes is good for creativity. Ideally, I want my stories and music to appeal to a wide range of artists and audiences. I guess I could brand myself as a songwriter-of-all-genres.
Who have you been listening to lately?
Lately, I’ve been listening to well-known singer/songwriter/hitmakers: Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, Sheryl Crow, Chris Stapleton, Billie Eilish, Jewel, Tracey Chapman, and my two favorite Bobs: Dylan and Seger. I also listen to lesser-known—but just as talented—artists like Lisa Mann who just entered back into the rock/metal world. We’re fortunate that music and music videos old and new are just a link away on the internet. Anyone can put it out there and reach a global audience. It’s a great way to discover new music.
Who are your biggest influences?
My strongest musical influences date back to the roots of popular American music with blues artists like Robert Johnson, B.B. King, Willie Dixon, and Muddy Waters. They were masterful storytellers and gifted musicians whose music has withstood the test of time. Although I enjoy the music of all genres, blues is one of my favorites.
Tell us about your passions
After my wife my, my biggest passion is traveling. Even though my trips are related to music be it festivals, awards shows, concerts, or just catching a friend’s bar gig in another city, I enjoy exploring and discovering new places in whatever town or city I’m in.
What else is happening next in your world?
Next up is finishing the album with the artist who will be promoting “One Man Band” on the road and coming up with a title. And also procuring the artwork or photography for the album. After that, you will find me sitting on my butt enjoying a cigar in my backyard on a delta-breeze-filled evening.
Thanks for an awesome interview, Bo Ely