When a young woman decides to pursue a career in modern country, they typically adhere to a common industry formula. Artists such as Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood serve as examples, delivering contemporary country lyrics with heavy pop overtones. On the other hand, Nashville up-and-comer Logan Brill is setting a new standard for young female country artists.
Brill keeps her country rooted deep in a foundation of Americana while infusing it with a bluesy soul that makes her stand out. With the success of her debut “Walking Wires,” Brill is serving up her sophomore effort “Shut Eye” and soon will be bringing the new sounds to the Azalea City.
SC: I’m amazed by the evolution of the Nashville scene, and you’re a young promising up-and-comer in a scene that used to focus on country. Now, it’s focused more on indie rock. What’s it like for a country hopeful in the modern Nashville scene?
LB: That’s a really good question. I’d think I’d agree that I was like everybody else when they move to Nashville. I was thinking all country music, all the time. There’s such a scene here for everything else. I think it’s really cool to have that scene. For me, I wasn’t surrounded by just country music when I just moved to Nashville. I had all these different influences from indie rock bands to pop bands, funk bands, anything that you can imagine. Everybody here loves music, and there’s so many different times. It was definitely a conscious choice for me to focus on country music and knowing that it was kind of what I wanted to do. I think it’s kind of cool there’s all these different things around to influence you, besides country. I don’t know if it’s influenced my sound, but it probably has.
SC: Speaking of your sound, these days, a young, attractive female country star usually produces music that is so popped out that it’s not even country anymore. You don’t get that with you. It’s like you’re taking it back to the roots. Is this your reaction to the overly pop, modern country that you hear?
LB: I don’t think that I’ve associated myself with any one certain type of country. I think country these days has become such a wide spectrum. There’s super-pop country and Americana, and I think that from the influences that I had growing up listening to my parents’ music from the ‘70s and that Americana country sound back then, I naturally gravitated towards it. At the same time, being in the Nashville scene, you have to be competitive and be a part of what’s going on. You have to be aware of the trends, and I think pop country is something that’s going on right now. With the new record, I’ve been happy with the mix that we’ve been able to do. It’s a little more commercial, but it still has the rootsy soul that I liked with the first record.
SC: What do you think of the critics panning country for becoming too pop?
LB: I think it definitely has swung very far in the pop direction. Obviously, there’s a market for it. People love it. It sells, and it’s totally the brand that country has become. There are a lot of people who are saying that it’s all going in that direction. I think that there are other directions country has taken. I think of Kacey Musgraves and the more alternative country artists who are making music that is equally as popular, but it’s on the indie side of things. I think the pendulum is going to swing back at some point from this heavy pop stuff, but I think it’ll still be there. It’s hard to predict what the future of country will be. I know it’s there, and I don’t know how long it’s going to be there. We’ll see.
SC: You’ve opened for Steve Earle, Allison Krauss, The Band Perry and Willie Nelson, and that’s such a wide audience for you. What do you think about your music appealing to so many tastes? To me, it’s a credit to your versatility.
LB: It’s been a lot of fun to be able to open for so many different people. It’s been great for me over the past year to try and find my sound a little bit and play in front of a bunch of different audiences. Obviously, The Band Perry’s audience is very different from Jerry Douglas’ or Steve Earle’s audiences. I think it’s been a great learning experience for me. Also, it’s so awesome to be able to share a stage with people that I respect, and I’ve learned so much just from watching them do what they do from behind the scenes. I get to watch them from backstage and ask them about their career.
SC: You had success from the start with “Walking Wires.” Now, you’ve got “Shut Eye” coming out. How would you compare the new album to the first album?
LB: The new album moves a lot more. There’s a lot more upbeat stuff on it. It’s definitely more on the commercial side of things, but it was really important for me to keep the same blues, rootsy kind of sounds that I think is needed in the record. For me, I hope that it comes across as a bit of an evolution for me as an artist. The process of making the first record was a learning experience. With the second one, I felt like I was ready to put my heart and soul into it and progress as an artist and make my sound more myself. I’m really excited about it. I’ve done a couple of shows with the new stuff already, and it’s been a blast.
SC: When is the release date?
LB: We’re looking at a May release at this point, but I don’t know the day on it yet. We officially finished it a month ago, so it’s sort of fresh.
SC: You opened for David Nail, and he appears on the album. What was it like working with him on that level in the studio?
LB: He is one of my favorite vocalists of all time. So, I was really excited to have his voice on it. We actually had him in mind for that song. So, I was just thrilled that he was willing to do it. He came in the studio. After the first take, we were like, “OK, we can go away with that and be fine.” He’s so talented. I think that his part that he added to it was not even the conventional part that he was expecting. It’s kind of cool that he came up with his own sound. He’s great, and he’s awesome to help us out and sing on the record. I’m a big fan, and hopefully, people will like hearing us together.
SC: You’ve got the album release and a ton of big shows coming up. What’s on the agenda for the next couple of months?
LB: I’m super excited. April and May are pretty full right now. We’re doing Stagecoach in California and Merlefest the same week. I’m also going to be playing the Grand Ol’ Opry on May 16 in Nashville. I’m really looking forward to that. All that stacked up is going to make this a fun two months for me.
Logan Brill, Hannah McFarland
Date: Thursday, March 26, doors at 7:30 p.m.
Venue: Moe’s Original BBQ, 701 Springhill Ave., www.moesoriginalbbq.com
Tickets: $10 at the door