Amy LaVere: Interview + Upcoming Show

If you’re unfamiliar with the soulful sounds that Amy LaVere is responsible for then it’s time for you to educate yourself. The Shreveport-via-Memphis based musician-actor-all around classy lady has been criss-crossing the country for the past few years and is making her way through Atlanta on her upcoming tour for one of the only dates she’s got in the South. She’ll be out with Rich Robinson for the next month before closing things out with a show at the Bowery Ballroom in New York City. Check her out at Smith’s Olde Bar on Friday, March 2nd 2012. In the meantime, get yourself acquainted with Amy:

Born in Shreveport and raised in Texas, now currently residing in Memphis, you’re a Southern lady in all aspects of the term. You’ve got a clear rockabilly and jazz influence, but what Southern-based music has been the most impressionable on you and for what reasons?

Willie Nelson. Without a doubt Willie Nelson. My dad is a huge fan and we grew up with him on our radios. We moved a lot like an military family might and our family song was On The Road again.

Your larger-than-life bass has been your trademark since the early years. What prompted you to take up the such a unique instrument in your particular line of music?

A friend had one and when I picked it up I was a natural at it. It just suited me.

Since it seems wikipedia has become the source for all things official, I went there looking to find some content for this interview and instead found some oddly particular snippets such as “her family moved 13 times as a child”. Not really sure what makes that such an important factoid for your followers, but I did see some pretty interesting bits about the burgeoning acting career you’ve been working on since 2005. What prompted you to get into film? 

That’s a pretty random opening to an unrelated question but the answer is I just fell into acting.  In most instances I was asked by a friend or an acquaintance to audition for them and ended up with the part. I have since fallen in love with the craft and I keep alert for projects I think would be challenging and enriching.

Since Walk The Line in 2005, you’ve been in Eat, Black Snake Moan, and three other feature films. In Walk The Line, you portrayed possibly one of the most well known and notorious female artists in American music history, Wanda Jackson. What steps did you take to prepare yourself for this role or was it nothing more than settling down in your apartment, playing records, getting on Youtube and some recreational drinking?

I was already a big fan when that came along. I was actually performing a Wanda Jackson song in a Memphis dive bar and the assistant casting director just happened to be in the audience. It was some pure luck. I had been ready for that part for about 5 years and didn’t know it.

Are you expecting any upcoming roles in the next few months? 

I’m in a film shooting through April this year. It’s called Only Child by film maker Brian Pera. It’s an amazing script. I’ll be preparing for it while I’m on this tour.

I recently heard your NPR sessions and was incredibly impressed. One thing that stuck out to me was how you connected with the crowd on a conversational level. That dynamic is rare and enthralling to a crowd. I’ve been to far too many shows where a band steps on stage, plays their music and walks off. Do you think your audience’s response has as much of a role in making a show successful as you do?

Yes and No. I actually don’t always feel so conversational really  it just depends on the situation. Performing live for me is often like a play time for me where I lose myself in the stories of the songs like a kid playing in his room. Somethimes I forget the audience is there, other times they become part of the show. 

What artists based in Memphis would you recommend? We’re familiar with Lucero but that’s truly about it. That’s kind of embarrassing on our part.

Deering and Down, The City Champs, David Cousar, Sid Selvidge, The River City Tan Lines, John Paul Kieth… this could become a huge list..

If the spirit of Amy LaVere could be mixed up and served as a drink, what would it be and where could we find one?

I drink water, wine and whiskey but if my spirit were a drink it would be some smooth sipping tequila mostly because it is both a stimulant and a depressant. You could find it on i-tunes.

Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with us. We’re looking forward to seeing you in Atlanta.

Me too, thank YOU for taking the time write about it. :)

 Amy LaVere – “Killing Him”