Joey Landreth – Interview Artists and Luthiers
Joey Landreth is a Singer/Songwriter & Musician from Winnipeg / Manitoba Canada.
He was part of the The Bros. Landreth band with his elder brother David. The brothers share vocals, while Joey plays guitar and David plays bass. Country and folk music group, their album Let It Lie won the Juno Award for Roots & Traditional Album of the Year – Group at the 2015 Juno Awards.
He decided in 2016 to go on solo and has made 2 new albums.
My father’s influence on my playing, singing and writing will always be a part of what I do.
We listened to so much music growing up that his heroes accidentally became mine! Through osmosis, I guess. In the early days of my career, people often told me that they could hear the Little Feat influence in my music. In all honesty, I didn’t really get into Little Feat on my own until my mid-late 20s.
I realized later on though that my partents listened to so much of that music that it just leaked in!
My dad sings a little bit like Lowell George and I sound a little bit like my dad… so there you have it! Genetics!
There are so many wonderful memories. I think back often to growing up in the little 400 square foot house that I was raised in – listening to music absolutely cranked with my mom. She often would vacuum the house with music on loud enough that it could make it over the appliance. I’ll never forget the way the low-end sounded when I put my ear to the floor.
Similarly, the sound of my dad rehearsing with his band upstairs while my brother and I fell asleep in our basement room, directly underneath the band. That is also a very special memory.
Again, I can’t help but have that music seep through into my music. It’s like language in that way. I didn’t necessarily love that music when I was a kid but it was everywhere all the time. It just rubbed off on us! It’s like an accent.
Yes I did! Her name is Joanie, named after my grandmother – Joan. Those who loved her called her Joanie. I have written so many little melodies for her. All the late nights – rocking her to sleep. The ideas just come flooding in! She’s now just under a year and a half old – 17months- and watching her play has been insanely inspiring to me. She doesn’t care what she looks like or sounds like, she just plays with 100% joy.
I have been trying to channel that in my playing and performing. Sometimes she’ll randomly break into laughter. I have no idea over what but that’s something that I want to bring into my playing. That spontaneous joy! As for what I’d like to pass on to her… that’s a tough one. I really honestly don’t care if she is interested in music or not although she really does seem to love it!
I was very obsessive about music for a great many years and while I think that helped me develop the skills that I have on my instruments, I don’t think it was very helpful for my artistry.
I think there is a very special thing that happens when you just let go, stop worrying and play from a place of honesty. Not from a place of theory, concepts and expectations. So if there was one thing I’d love to pass on to her it would be balance.
Our passions are nothing if we don’t have a life to live.
I started piano lessons around age 5. That was my first love. I started on the guitar at age 8. I played trumpet at age 10 in the school band and started playing guitar in the school jazz band at age 13. I lived and breathed SRV for many years though, much to my own disappointment, I never managed to sound like him! I just loved his intensity and phrasing. I still do!
While those achievements are points of pride, most certainly, I’ve never been too worried about that kind of stuff.
Music has always been an intensely personal thing for me. I really just chase around things that I find interesting and challenging. I can’t help it!
My brother is my favourite collaborator.
Even the projects he doesn’t work on – he is still a part of in some way.
I love Madison Cunningham. She is a monstrous singer, guitar player and writer. I’m a huge fan of hers.
My Sorokin guitars are my favourites! I now have three and they are equally special. I have also recently gotten into Maxon SD-9. I bought two of the analogman modded ones and they are so fun. It’s not an easy pedal to play – they are easy to make sound bad but when you get it dialled in just right, it’s a very cool pedal! I’m also working on a fuzz pedal with my friend Dan of DanDrive fame and it’s such a badass pedal.
At least one of my Sorokin’s always come out.
A two-rock amp(different models as sometimes I borrow from friends when I’m over seas) and a plethora of pedals!
That is such a personal thing. I’m happy with no pedals and I’m happy with a shit ton! It really depends on what you are hoping to do. I think the minimum is a guitar, cable and an amp. Maybe a tuner;)
Winnipeg is not the most famous city in the world, that’s for sure but it is full of world class talent.
What I love about Winnipeg is that it is very humble. I have spent a ton of time in both LA and Nashville and there are people just as good in Winnipeg, if not, dare I say. Even better! Because music is very personal and I have a very clear picture of what I want to do, I’m not tempted by the chic of these big cities.
Don’t get me wrong, I have many friends and collaborators in both places but, Winnipeg is home and it’s where I do my best work.
I absolutely love a trio. A trio is nimble and is capable of improvising at lightening speed.
When you start to add more people, it get’s harder to move tougher without having to plan certain things out. We even improvise the background harmonies sometimes! Live only, of course.
Guitar and Vocals – Joey Landreth
Bass – Meg Dolovich
Drums and Vocals – Roman Clarke
Yes! Absolutely. Landreth is not a very common name where I’m from so, our family was very intrigued when we discovered that there was a virtuosic guitar player with our family name. I grew up listening to so much of his music along with all the other artists previously mentioned.
I tend to listen more to albums as a whole than individual songs… My favourite records are probably Sound of 1-10, Levee Town and grant street. It’s all great stuff but those are the records we had!
Are there other slide artists you admire? Bonnie Raitt, Ry Cooder, Lowell George, Derek Trucks, Aubrey Ghent, Aubrey Ghent, Jr.( AJ Ghent), Chuck Campbell, David Lindley.
Just dive in, it’s all great!
I don’t teach much these days, between touring and being a family person, there’s not much time. But if I do have time available you can book at joeylandreth.com/lessons
Just follow your nose. If you think something is cool, chase after it.
There are so many should and should nots out there but I don’t think that’s at all what music is about. It’s only about self expression and you can only truly express yourself if you are speaking with your own voice. And don’t be afraid to take a break.
Your life as a musician won’t end if you decide to go for a bike ride to clear your head. Invest in your friendships and your relationships because they will be an endless supply of inspiration.
There are too many to name… If you go to my instagram page (@joeylandreth) you can do a deep dive and see all the stuff I love to use.
Not lately. I have become a little weary of the trade shows. We seem to be forgetting that it’s the musician that makes the music, not the gear. Of course, I LOVE gear but only when it serves as inspiration to make music!
Alex Sorokin, Jordan McConnell, Collings, Josh Williams. These are all favourites of mine!
I have guitars built by all the above mentioned builders. They are all world class and just lovely people.
It usually starts with a relationship first. We have to get along! I do tend to lean more towards the side of traditional but that’s not always the case.
All of my records have been recorded with these instruments! It’s hard to pinpoint exactly which one on which record now.
I do all my own setups, pickup changes/electronic work. Anything that requires more carpentry I’ll take to my dad who is a really great repair man. There are also a couple guys in Winnipeg who run a shop. Their names are Allan Beardsell and Lucas Roger. They have done some great work for me as well and are just wonderful guys.
Two-Rock is my main amp of choice these days. I also use locally built amps called Revv as well as have used Victory Amps out of the UK. I love vintage Fender stuff as well but they don’t often leave the studio these days.
My Brother and I released a new Bros. Landreth record back in may. It’s called Come Morning and we have been travelling a little in support of that record.
We’ll be over in Europe in September although, sadly for us there is no show in France!!
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