30 seconds interview: Jimmy Livingstone

Jimmy-Livingstone

Americana singer-songwriter Jimmy Livingstone has been described as a modern day Glen Campbell crossed with Richard Hawley. His songs carry a folkloric quality that echo the music of America’s Deep South, while his plaintive lyrics reveal an affinity with the great outdoors and a love of nostalgia.

He started his musical career in industrial band Pig and has since released solo material under his own name. His latest album One Eye Open, One Eye Closed features Frank Zappa’s old brass section, legendary guitarist Doug Pettibone and James Morrison’s bassist Matt Round. It was released last month on Townrow Music.

We spent 30 seconds with him to find out more about his influences and songwriting.

I first started writing music because…
As a small kid, I was more excited by the noise that came out of the piano when I hit the notes randomly than I was by the black dots. It was like taking yourself off on a little journey. It annoyed the hell out of my family but I guess that’s where the fascination began.

I have been making music since…
I don’t know when. I’ve always had music in me and around me but, as a songwriter, I’m a late bloomer. The last 15 years has been another journey. I’ve slowly dug out my singing voice and learned how to articulate what I think and feel about the world through song. It was always about trying to reach somewhere that felt authentic. Some people have it all there at 19. I wasn’t one of those people.

My music is…
What it is. It didn’t come out of a box with a label on it. Then again we’re all part of a tradition – Cole Porter, Bob Dylan, Dr Dre; it’s all different shades and shapes of the same stuff. Mine’s got shades of Americana and hopefully a sliver of soul.

You’ll like my music if you listen to…
Songwriters who speak to you about things you identify with. If you’re angry, disappointed, heartbroken, ridiculous and generally lost, don’t seek therapy – go and buy my new record. It’s much cheaper and a lot more fun.

My favourite venue is…
The Hollywood Bowl. Clearly I haven’t played there but I saw Nick Cave play an absolute blinder there. It was a magical night for a lot of reasons. It’s now ‘on my roadmap’ as they say in LA.

Music is important because…
It lifts us up and makes life bigger than it would otherwise be. Nothing else does that in quite the same way.

My biggest inspiration is…
Every day of living and breathing, every night of sleeping and dreaming.

My dream collaboration would be…
To have various musicians on my domestic staff – Nick Cave as my butler, Bob Dylan as my driver and James Brown as my therapist. Is that too much to ask?

If I wasn’t making music I’d be….
Less than what I am but possibly richer.

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