Interview with Bree
Nashville rocker Bree will release her self titled debut album on June 18th, the album was produced by Justin Cortelyou - longtime engineer for iconic producer Bob Ezrin. Bree was recognized with the prestigious honor of RAW Nashville "Musician of the year" solidifying her status as the city´s rocknroll bombshell. Let me introduce you to the All American Girl - Bree.
Hello there, are you excited for your debut album to be released in June?
Bree-It’s something I’ve dreamed about since I was a kid. When I got my promo copy of the CD it was a very emotional moment for me. My heart and soul went into writing those songs and making those recordings.
You´re living in the capital of country music, Nashville. But your songs are raw and classic rocknroll. What are your influences?
Bree-My late Mother was from Odessa, Texas and she turned me on to early Country, especially Patsy Cline. Patsy is my all time favorite vocalist. My Father was in a rock band in Long Beach, California and he exposed me to artists like Humble Pie and The Who. Peter Townsend had a huge impact on me. The opening power chord on Won’t Get Fooled Again is as good as it gets. I was born in 1989 and when I was sixteen I would sneak out of the house to drive two hours to Portland to hear bands like Alkaline Trio, Flogging Molly and Relient K. That era influenced me, too.
Where do you get inspiration for your lyrics?
Bree-Personal experiences and desires. I’m a emotional person and if something past or present moves me I feel the inescapable need to write about it. I’m The Boss, You Can’t Take The Heart Out Of Me, Whisky, Forbidden Fruit and I Hope You’re Smiling are good examples.
You´ve got an upright bassplayer, Mayrk McNeely, which isn´t a common thing in other genres than jazz and rockabilly. Are people surprised to see that you´re not playing 50´s rocknroll?
Bree-Yes – until we walk out on stage and launch into our first song. Then it all makes sense. David and I were in rehearsal working out the arrangement for Forbidden Fruit when we both thought about a rocked out upright bass sound. At first, the idea sounded kind of ridiculous. I’m very influenced by 1950’s rockers like Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Eddie Cochran, but I have no desire to live in another era. However, the more we thought about it the more curious we became, especially because David and I both thought this independently and at the exact same time. We met Mayrk the very next night by accident when he performed at the Whiskey Bent Saloon in Nashville (if that’s not fate I don’t know what is). He came down to rehearsal, plugged his upright into an Ampeg SVT and it was as if a brontosaurus was let loose in the room. We knew in the first 30 seconds we were on to something.
I think your music sounds like a mix of 70´s classic rock and powerpop. There´s definitely traces of Joan Jett in there somewhere, do you consider yourself as an artist putting girlpower back into rocknroll?
Bree-70’s rock is one of my influences, so that’s definitely in the mix (love Mick Ronson). And we are melodic like powerpop (melody means everything to me), but we rock much harder. Joan Jett was a pioneer for female rockers. I love her songs and respect her immensely. However, I don’t see my career as unique because I’m a woman. I just happen to be a woman who’s been through some dark stuff and I discovered that rocking out is the best medicine for me.
The engineer for Bob Ezrin, Justin Cortelyou, produced your debut album. How come you got hooked up with the renowned sound engineer Justin Cortelyou?
Bree-I met Bob’s attorney, Sander Shalinsky, at a New Year’s Eve party in Toronto. I ended up playing some of my songs on acoustic guitar for Sander and his family on his yacht. When we got back to Nashville we felt we were ready to record some songs. David called Sander and asked if Bob would come to one of our rehearsals. No harm in asking, right? Next thing I know Bob and Justin walk in to our rehearsal studio. Bob liked us, but Justin was positively jumping out of his skin and told David he wanted to record us. Between January 2012 and January 2013, Justin pulled us into various Nashville studios when he was between sessions with Bob. I just ran into Bob while shopping at Whole Foods and gave him a copy of the CD. He was very sweet and it was great to see him again.
The new single All American Girl is a really good rock song, it feels a bit timeless. I read that you had a tough childhood with physical and mental abuse, with that in mind, how come you sound so positive and inspiring in your music?
Bree-When I met David on my 21st birthday in Palm Springs, California he asked me the same thing. I would credit my late Mother. I’ve always believed she’s watching over me and no matter how bad it got there was going to be happiness in the end.
Playing on a flying V guitar, puts you in the same fine family as Michael Schenker, Randy Rhoads and Jimi Hendrix. Do you think it´s the ultimate rocknroll guitar?
Bree-It is for me. I’ve always been attracted to its look and feel. In the studio, I play my Gibson Flying V and a pre-CBS Fender Telecaster.
When I listened to your debut album, I thought it sounded so alive. Did you aim for the band to sound as live as possible while recording the album?
Bree-Absolutely. The three of us kick ass live and I’m proud of it. Justin was impressed by our power the first time he heard us and he made it a priority to capture that in the studio. Except for some extra harmonies and the occasional guitar overdub, what you hear on the CD is exactly how we sound live.
What´s a guy to do to make an impression on you for a perfect date?
Bree-Tell me his three favorite songs from the CD. I’ll know exactly where he’s coming from
I watched the very cool instructional video for your song You can´t take the heart out of me on youtube and that riff would make Status Quo proud of you for sure, it´s my personal favorite along with the catchy Dance all nite. Which song are you most proud of?
Bree-Status Quo? Wow, you nailed the rhythm! We were done recording the ten songs for the CD and then we rehearsed a song I’d just written, You Can’t Take The Heart Out Of Me. David stopped us and said, “I’m calling Justin. This song needs to be on the CD.” Justin booked us immediately into Ronnie’s Place (Ronnie Milsap’s studio - Roy Orbison’s before him) and we recorded the song live on the second take. That was such a perfect day and working with Justin is a dream come true. Dance All Nite (with my finger in the air) is the first song we ever recorded (House Of Blues Studio D Nashville in January 2012) and we open our shows with it. In other words, you picked the first and last songs we recorded for the CD. Very cool. I love all my songs and could never pick a favorite, but I Hope You’re Smiling is a tribute to my Mother and that song will always have a special place in my heart.
Whisky is another great song on your debut album, so are you a whisky drinker or do you prefer wine?
Bree-Whisky was written about an ex-boyfriend who seemed only interested in me when he got drunk. Great for the ego, right? I grew up in the Willamette Valley area of Oregon and learned to love my pinot noir at an early age.
If someone recorded a cover of one of your songs, what artist would you love to hear perform one of your songs?
Bree-I would be excited by any artist who did a cover of one of my songs and put a whole new spin on it, especially if they were from a different genre.
And finally, can we expect a 2nd album next year?
Bree-We just started promoting our debut CD and it doesn’t hit the street until June 18th, so we’ll be riding this one for a while (I cannot wait to hit the road). I love Quentin Tarantino and we have a new song called Some Days that I wrote with his movies in mind. I’m a huge fan of his work. David and Mayrk love the song and we’re adding it to our set. Can’t wait to go back into the studio to record it with Justin and the next thing you know we’ll have our 2nd album.