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BLUES PLAYER

Feeling the power of music. Connecting with your fan base.

Posted: September 15, 2023

Some of the best artists in the world have been able to dig into the heart, with the power of music. Other artists, make attempts, but seem to fail. I have always wondered why that is. Could it be, because they themselves have failed to connect with the most important element of a song “the lyric”? I feel that songwriters take it for granted. They spend time writing down thoughts and, in a format, that is consistent with the building blocks for song structure. At the end of the day, the song is published, and it falls flat. It never connects with its listener. Why?

Could it be so simple? Can you simply invoke emotions with a simple lyric? Is hearing with your heart enough? I have found music to be a big influencer on the mind and heart. When an artist views music this way, they already have a huge command on their fan base. They get what it takes to win over, potential fans. It is the lyric, that creates the instant connection between the artist and the listener. This seems so obvious, at least to me it does.

Since this is the case, why aren’t there many artists creating music? But there is, the industry is filled with competing artists. Remember the key point? Create music that builds a connection with listeners. Seems easy enough, right? Apparently, it isn’t. Let’s remove all the so called “song writers” that fail to connect with their listeners. I would say that would make room for the talented artists to get their just due, in the music industry. To write great music you must be a talented lyricist. You can’t write down a bunch of words and expect “the voice” to accomplish the rest. It just doesn’t bold well for the longevity of an artist.

Songwriting is a gift. Thankfully, there are many artists that have used this gift for the benefit of their listeners. They know what it takes to connect at the deepest level of the listeners emotions. Then there is the playing style and ability to connect through instruments such as the guitar. Lyrics and instruments can open the hearts of anyone. No matter your upbringing or personality. Music is where life officially begins and ends. Lovers of music know this well. Some can take it to another level. Like our guests today. Wreckless Strangers. They have an old-fashioned style of rock, that is right up our alley.

ABOUT WRECKLESS STRANGERS

Wreckless Strangers is a collective of six friends and musicians cultivated in the rolling green hills of Petaluma, California. The seeds that would blossom into the Wreckless Strangers were planted in 2016 at an informal jam between friends with no aspirations beyond the love of playing, but they took hold and flourished. The seeds were planted in 2016 at an informal jam between friends with no aspirations beyond the love of playing, but they took hold and flourished. Seven years, three original albums and countless shows later, the band is fully formed — a majestic redwood — and poised to branch out to markets beyond northern California.

Paying homage to San Francisco’s storied musical lineage, Wreckless Strangers incorporate blues, R&B, Americana, and good old-fashioned rock ‘n’ roll to craft a distinctive sound that strikes a perfect balance between unique, familiar, and just plain fun.

The band features Amber Morris (Premier Bay Area vocalist and voice coach – members of Journey, Eric Martin Band) on vocals; David Noble (Poor Man's Whiskey, Pardon The Interruption) on lead guitar, vocals; Joshua Zucker (The Jones Gang, Rowan Brothers) on bass; Austin de Lone (Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello, The Fabulous Thunderbirds) on keys, vocals; Mick Hellman (The Go To Hell Man Band) on drums, vocals; and Rob Anderson (repeat world champion cyclist) on guitar. Their upcoming EP, Orange Sky Dream, was produced by 4x GRAMMY award winning engineer/producer Dave Way. Dave has worked with renowned artists such as Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Tracy Chapman, Prince, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Sheryl Crow and many more. He has dozens of gold and platinum records to his name, along with, No. 1 and Top 20 hits.

Noted for their prolific songwriting, the band draws from all corners of the musical spectrum often combining disparate styles into an irresistible, original groove. Their storytelling travers’s autobiographical reflection to thought-provoking social commentary, all while maintaining an air of lightheartedness and relatability.

Beyond all else, Wreckless Strangers simply love playing together and it shows at every performance. The Strangers have emerged as torch bearers for the great, if oft-maligned, city of San Francisco, carrying on the legendary Bay Area rock ‘n’ tradition, reminding listeners near and far that the hills of California still hold treasures waiting to be discovered.

INTERVIEW WITH WRECKLESS STRANGERS AND GUITAR THRILLS MAGAZINE

GT: Hello WS, it was awesome to get to know a bit more about Wreckless Strangers through your Bio. It isn’t often that people get a chance to find out more about the artists that they listen too. Which is a shame. If a bio is written well, then it makes it easier for their fans to connect with the artist. Sort of like the lyrics of a song.

GT: I have to say your live performances are tastefully done. I really enjoyed how you put so much emotion into the lyrics, and it came through with your production of “Shudda Known” as well. What inspired you to write the song “Shudda Known”. Where did you come up with this song? It is so different from what you sang just a year or so ago. Rock with a Blues Vibe. Though your guitar slaying takes it to another level. I am hooked!!!!

David Noble (Lead Guitar, Vocals):

Thank you! It was fun taking the 'shackles off of the firebird for this track! I got tired of environmental songs being void of anger. I was and am angry about climate change, how long we've waited to do something, and I want us all as a planet to take this issue seriously.

GT: We have covered the topic of the power of emotions within lyrics. How important is it to you, to invoke emotions for those hearing your music?

David: For me, it's the whole reason to create music - to find that emotional connection.

Amber Morris (Vocals): There is such a profound power in how an individual chooses to express themselves through lyric, melody, tone and intention in music. The lyric book to “Songs in the Key of Life” was my first true connection to following the lyric, learning the melodies, trying to understand the meaning of each song and why the music made me feel the gamut of emotions. It left such a deep and lasting imprint. In the best songs, truth comes through. It’s undeniable. These are common themes among my biggest musical influences, and favorite all-time songs — they transcend genre, decade, etc. If you can make this happen, you understand the universal and emotional power of music and hopefully you use that for good!

Austin de Lone (Keys): For me one of the most important things about a good song, or indeed any musical form, is passion. If a song is written and performed with passion it will connect with the listener in some way. Much the same if a story is written with true, real intent it will resonate and convey meaning to the reader, although not necessarily the same meaning for all. And going into the studio and getting that down on tape is easier said than done!

GT: I really believe that it takes you to another level with an artist when you can connect with them on a “personable” level. You don’t have to be personal and tell them everything about your life experiences. However, there are ways to generalize it, so that people can say “I get that”. I know exactly what Wreckless Strangers are referring too. I honestly believe that they have accomplished that. Did you get the kind of response that you were looking for once Shudda Known was released?

David: Actually yes- There was a man at our show in Ridgefield Connecticut at the CHIRP summer concert series that specifically asked if we were going to play that track. That was a good sign. It's usually those moments that matter more than the likes or follows for me.

GT: You make it look easy. How long have you all “collectively” been performing in the music industry?

David: Oh wow, good question! The band has anywhere from 7 years to 50+ years of experience in the music industry. We absolutely draw from each other's experiences and learn from each other.

GT: That is awesome. When did your interest in the entertainment and music industry begin?

David: Probably for me started when I got into the Beatles. Just listening to them in their heyday, and how they made it a lifelong pursuit, creating music, I couldn't imagine a better life. I had a fisher price record player and wore out my copy of Help (I was about 6 years old)!

Amber: There was a lot of singing going on in my household. My stage performance experience started at age 11 in dance and by the time I was 15, I was singing lead vocals and bv’s in bands. When I was 16, my sister and I started gigging in clubs as backing vocal team for my uncles reggae band - they’d have to sneak us into the back of the club, where we’d hang out til the show started and on breaks. First paying gigs, we got to stay up late, we were pretty pumped!

Austin: When I was a freshman in college I started writing and occasionally performing with a dear friend, Allen Chance. We wrote the first single that Linda Ronstadt and the Stone Poneys released (it bombed!), and continued.

GT: What made you decide to become an artist? Which were you passionate about first, the genre or singing? Can you provide the names of the band members and what instrument they play?

Amber Morris (lead vocals): I can’t say there was a decision to become an artist. Seems more like music decided on me. I was raised in a very passionate artistic family. My family influenced my early listening: Granny’s influence was Gospel music, Mom’s influence was Soul and Blues, but Dad’s influence was the most extensive. We’d have focused listening/discussion sessions: from the Beatles to Joni, from Miles to Marley and everything in between. Growing up in the music heyday of the SF Bay Area music scene circa 70’s/80’s/90’s also provided a lot of fire and inspiration for original bands I was in, but there was always a fusion of rock, soul and whatever other musical element. We were always trying to create something semi-new. So to answer the question, I think I was passionate about singing before I was passionate about a particular genre. Still to this day consume a lot of music for different inspiration and vibe.

Austin (keys, guitar, lead vocals on Grace of God): When I was very young I wanted to be a doctor; upon entering my teens I decided I wanted to be a musician, which I always thought of as pretty much the same thing. And when I dropped out of college I knew it was rock ‘n’ roll for me all the way!

David ( lead guitar, lead vocals ): Singing! Fell in love with Paul McCartney's voice and wanted that!

Joshua Zucker ( bass )

Rob Anderson ( rhythm guitar )

Mick Hellman ( drums )

GT: Did each of you have a mentor? If so, what were some the most important memories or lessons that you are applying as an artist today?

David: Bob Schleeter. My high school music teacher was a mentor. He inspired so many students. He’s still creating music and we actually still work together on projects - Amber works with him on projects too!

Amber: I did have a mentor, I have had a few. But Pepsi Taylor was the most powerful transformer of pre-teens. She literally pulled a very shy introverted 11 year old Amber out of her shell and taught her how to command the stage. She taught about self worth, work ethic, discipline, professionalism, laughter, team work, choreography, artistic intent and how to hold the power of the light (stage light).

Austin: My first piano teacher, Ms. Howson, was cool as a cucumber to this 13 year old. My inspirations were my mentors - Ray Charles, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Jimmy Reed - the list goes on!

GT: What are your current plans for the music industry? Are you performing in your local area, or do you have plans to target other regions of the U.S.?

Amber: Yes we have many upcoming shows, this weekend we are playing a local favorite in Benicia called Lucca’s (9/16), and we will play Mountain Sol Fest in Santa Cruz (9/17), later in the month we will play Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Out of the Park, opening act for Thee Sacred Souls at Fillmore, and then many upcoming including a run with The Nth Power in December.

GT: You described yourselves as old-fashioned rock. I think you have a blues feel to your music. Do you have blues artists that you are particularly inspired by? If so who?

David: Old blues artists - I love Jimi Hendrix because he took blues to a different place.

New players? I'd say Derek Trucks is carrying the torch!

Amber: I feel like our music has a lot of Roots/Rock influence to it, which is so heavily influenced by the blues. That being said, I love SO many Blues artists, Ray Charles, Taj Mahal, Bonnie Raitt, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Tedeschi/Trucks, Albert Collins and then there’s Albert King who was one of my favorites of all time. I saw his very last performance before he passed on. I loved his guitar playing and his vocals - just top notch to me. My other favorite is my husband, Tal Morris. 🎸

Austin: I have performed with many great blues artists. Blues artists that have inspired me - Ray Charles, Jimmy Reed, Gatemouth Brown, Fabulous Thunderbirds, Albert Collins, Freddi King, etc etc. So many great ones!

GT: Honestly, I believe Wreckless Strangers could be successful in almost any genre of music. Have you considered any other genre of music?

David: Funny you should mention it - our current project we're working on is delving into some unexplored territory. It'll be cool to see what people think!

GT: How have you been received by fans thus far? Do they provide you with feedback on how well they enjoy your performances?

David: It seems overwhelmingly positive! People who show up stay at the show, and we're getting to where they request their favorite WS (Wreckless Strangers) originals. Feeling good!

Austin: We get lots of good reactions. We have a good time, the audience has a good time!

GT: What band or artist do you recall performing with that was among your favorites?

David: SambaDa* was amazing at the Gravenstein Apple Fair this summer! They were on right after us.

Austin: The Lost Planet Airmen, featuring Bill Kirchen, was awesome! Having not played together for almost 50 years, they completely rocked the house!

GT: Where can fans come to see you play at? Is there an album or project that you are currently working on? Something you can tells us more about.

David: We've got a bunch of shows left this year - all in California until next year. Check out our website and follow us on Bandsintown for the full details 🤘

GT: That is excellent to know. Our readers always enjoy the inside scoop to the bands they admire. Which is why we enjoy the promotions side of interviews. How important are interviews as an artist? Is there a particular platform that you prefer? (Magazines, Podcasts, social media, etc.)

David: I think we've had good luck with community radio ads. The KRUSH has been a cool way to reach people that may not otherwise know we exist.

GT: Excellent. Trust me, we will lean upon you for your advice. Thank you for taking the time to interview with Guitar Thrills Magazine. We hope to arrange for you to speak to us again soon.

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