NPR Story
2:19 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

John Fullbright Plays From New Album 'Songs'

Originally published on Thu June 5, 2014 3:55 pm

Oklahoma musician and singer-songwriter John Fullbright, 26, is out with a new album called “Songs.”

All Things Considered music reviewer Meredith Ochs invites comparison to the late Townes Van Zandt, and American Songwriter compares it to Joni Mitchell’s “Blue” and Neil Young’s “After the Gold Rush.”

Fullbright joins Here & Now’s Robin Young to talk about his music and play songs from “Songs.”

Interview Highlights: John Fullbright

On the accolades he’s received as a songwriter and musician

“It’s uncomfortable for me, but at least they’re bouquets. They’re not bricks or tomatoes yet, although it’s gonna feel nice to get that big, rotten tomato right in the face, just get it out of the way.”

“The reception has been — I don’t know, I didn’t see it coming, especially with, like, that Grammy nod. That kind of stuff isn’t supposed to happen to guys like me … You know, the guys that don’t chase the stars, the guys that just — we want to write songs and kick around and be, you know, respected.”

On writing music about life experiences

“I kind of came from the Townes Van Zandt school of throwing yourself off a cliff and then that’s what you write about, and that rule number one of creative writing is you have to have conflict. But if you write about yourself mostly, then if you don’t have conflict, then you create it. And the older I get, the more I realize that that’s not a very smart way to do this. Not to say I’m the most self destructive person on earth, but it’s easy to do.

On how his home of Oklahoma influences his songs

“I’d say proximity-wise, yeah, just because there weren’t sidewalks to skateboard on and malls to hang out in. There wasn’t anything to do. And I was too scrawny to play football, and so I decided I was just gonna sit at the piano, because it made more sense.”

“There’s Okemah, which is going to town to get groceries and to go to the bank and to stop at the post office. But then I drive home, which is Bearden, which is — I don’t know, there might be 200 people that live in Bearden. I live on a little kind of hobby farm, handful of cows, just plenty of old, rusted tractors, rusted things. It’s a lot of — when I look out the window and I try to come up with an idea, I see a lot of what used to be. I can’t write on the road for that reason. I have to be home. I have to be around all those rusted tractors and dilapidated fences and things like that, because it just grounds me in a way that I can’t find in a hotel room.”

Guest

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