Luke Redfield spills Willie Nelson and Ke$ha run-ins, explains Tusen Takk
There is an element of exaggeration in all good storytelling -- and not to say that Luke Redfield is lying -- but his new album tells a sweeping tale of a man who has lived 100 lives in the ten songs off of Tusen Takk, the culmination of years of hard work and traveling.
The album emanates love and care and affection for life, for the world, for music itself. Forget what you're told: this is what loving music sounds like. Never heard of Luke Redfield before? Well now you have, so keep your eye on him -- big things are soon to happen for this Minnesota boy.
Gimme Noise caught up with Luke before his CD release at the Varsity Theater on Friday.
Studio: Jeremy Ylvisaker, Haley Bonar, JT Bates, Brett Bullion, Peter Pisano, Mike Lewis
Live: Ryan Paul, Eric Struve, Chris Hepola
Your music has some southern-bluesy qualities to it, especially on pieces like "Don't Care"; where does a Duluth-born boy come up with songs like these?
Back in '07, I road tripped south and really absorbed the heritage of places like Memphis, New Orleans, and backroads Mississippi. I was reading a lot of Faulkner and listening to a lot of Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson, so I think those influences were bound to seep into my process -- if even subconsciously. I also think "Don't Care" has some gospel and Native American elements in it, as well as this anarchist "I'm gonna do what I'm gonna do to get free" vibe. But at the end of the day, yeah, it's all about the blues. I went to the crossroads once.
What does Tusen Takk mean and was there some significance in using that name for the new album?
The title is Norwegian and translates "A Thousand Thanks" in English. I'm of Scandinavian decent and have spent a good deal of time in Norway. It's such a beautiful, serene country. I chose the title as an expression of gratitude for all who helped make the record, and for all the people I've met and places I've visited along my journey. So many little things have influenced songs over the years, from tiny little towns I'll only ever see once to passers-by on the street who I'll only ever exchange a few words with. Tusen Takk tries to give something back to whoever, wherever you are.
I also can't thank my band and engineers enough for working with me. They're all so great. More than anything, it's a gesture of infinite gratitude for those who love me because I wouldn't be where I am today without their help.
There's a lot of storytelling elements in your songs; where did you look to when writing pieces for Tusen Takk?
It's funny you ask, because I really don't know. Most of the songs just write themselves. I think I channel a lot of different muses I run into along the road, and sometimes not until years later.
Tusen Takk's closing track, "Eden," was literally stream-of-consciousness and I wasn't quite sure what it was about 'til a few hours after I'd written it -- I looked at a newspaper and saw that it was the anniversary of D-Day. I wrote the song on June 6th, 2010, unconscious of the fact it was D-Day. When I typed the song out and saw lyrics about Provence and Normandy, I realized it was describing events that happened on the same date 66 years earlier, albeit somewhat fuzzily, like if a war veteran was recalling the day in the present moment. It was really eery, but really sacred at the same time. It's moments like that which I live for as a songwriter, and just try to get out of the way of whatever it is voicing itself through me.
More than anything, I'd say rather than looking to something, I try to stay open by reading a lot, going for walks in nature, taking time for contemplation and being ready to write when the song presents itself. Once in a while I'll get it delivered to me on a silver platter, but most of the time I've gotta meet it halfway. I'll get a great idea for a song and about half of it will come stream-of-consciousness, and the other half I'll have to work for. Traveling is definitely the biggest inspiration. Every climate and terrain inspires me differently and that's what I like to bounce around a lot, not only because it keeps me sane, but it keeps the creative process fresh. If I'm in one place for too long, I'll go through a big songwriting drought.
What was the story that you wanted to tell with the new album?
What are your plans at SXSW this year?
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