Exclusive Song Premiere and Q&A: Chadwick Stokes '"Girl From the North Country" [Featuring The White Buffalo]
Tue, 15 Nov 2011 10:16:50
ARTISTdirect.com has proudly partnered with Chadwick Stokes to premiere his haunting, moving, room-filling live cover of Bob Dylan’s "Girl From the North Country." Chadwick done good. We think even Dylan himself would appreciate this soulful rendition of a classic from his catalog.
The song appears on Chadwick Stokes & Friends' upcoming album Live at the Armory, which drops on Nov. 29.
Enjoy it and let yourself melt into Stokes'16-horsepower voice.
Listen to the song below now!
Chadwick Stokes - Girl From The North Country (Live At The Armory) by nettwerkmusicgroup
See our exclusive Q&A with Chadwick Stokes about Live at the Armory below by ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino!
How much rehearsal goes into the collaborations on Live at the Armory?
There's a lot of crunching it hard backstage [Laughs]. I'm not the best at preparing for these things therefore I catch my friends who come on board unsuspecting. I'm like, "Okay, this is what we're doing tonight" and then we quickly learn it. If I'm good about it, I reach out a few weeks or a week in advance and say, "This is what I'm thinking".
How did "The Girl From The North Country" come about?
That's always been one of my favorite songs. Leon Russell and Joe Cocker cover that on Cocker's album Mad Dogs & Englishmen. It's an amazing live performance that they do together. The White Buffalo can channel Joe Cocker a little bit so it's just perfect. What a dream to be able to sing one of my favorite songs with The White Buffalo who's one of my favorite artists.
When did you first hear it? What does the song mean to you?
I think my brother showed it to me. He said, "You've got to listen to this!" It's not very long, and it's almost like a bastard version of the Bob Dylan original, but there's something about it. It's a beautiful original. However, the way Joe Cocker and Leon Russell go back and forth, how Leon plays piano which I try to mimic with the guitar, and especially when Joe Cocker sings, it just reaches into your gut. It's so sad and poignant. We can all feel that and relate to the idea, "She once was a true love of mine" or we think about the love we're with and what if we lost them. It's sad and touching.
What goes into assembling shows like these?
There's some planning. You're trying to figure out the set lists and the different artists coming in. Then you're picking them up at the airport. Everyone crashes at our house. It's a really nice time, but it's as hectic as you can imagine. It's nonstop, but it's such a pleasure playing with those guys. It's great to have everyone up on stage.
Do you have a favorite memory from those shows?
I love singing The Rolling Stones' "Sweet Black Angel" with Matt Embree. When we're singing together, those tracks made the cut for when we were choosing songs. One of the singers is my childhood friend Darren Buck. He's so much fun to sing with, and he sings the last verse on The Band's "Up On Cripple Creek". You hear all of these great voices like The White Buffalo and Stephen Kellogg and then Darren, who's an art teacher in the high school I grew up in now, comes in at the end and slays it. It's so wonderful and I'm happy to see him up there getting the attention he deserves.
It's in Somerville in a cool part of town. It's an armory so symbolically it's a big, fierce-looking building that's now an arts center. To take a building that once housed munitions and turn it into a place that deals in the arts was really cool to occupy that space for a couple of nights.
What's your take on Simmerkane II as a whole?
I had a bunch of songs that didn't necessarily fit into State Radio or Dispatch. They were more personal and equal halves freight train-jumping stories and experiences and also memories of growing up on the farm in Massachusetts. So, it was a lot of trains and animals [Laughs].
What's the story behind "Spider and Gioma"?
One of my brothers had a red dot underneath his left eye for most of our childhood, and it was called a "Spider and Gioma". We always thought it was a funny name. Recently, I started singing that name absentmindedly. I thought it was fun to sing so I was like, "What can I make that song about?" We grew up with bees too. My dad is sort of an amateur beekeeper. I was interested in bees at the time, and I'd just gone to a bee lecture at our local library. I was hyped up on bees and came up with this idea of "Spider" being a long-legged bee and the inner social workings of the hive which are really complex.
If Simmerkane II were a movie, what it be?
I guess it's part Warriors and part Goonies. There's an amazing documentary called Riding the Rails, which would make sense. Then, part Bottle Rocket [Laughs].
We're doing a couple of benefit shows. Calling All Crows is focused on shelters for women in Afghanistan where they receive education and vocational training. Also, we're advocating for The Maternal Mortality Act which is an act we're trying to pass through congress that will allocate more money to women who don't have the means to have that so they can have a safe birthing process.
Did you dig it? Are you familiar with the original?