Tonight, Young Hines, the first artist signed to Brendan Benson’s new label and publishing company Readymade, celebrates the release of his forthcoming record Give Me My Change at the Basement (with the Howling Brothers and a listening party for Benson’s What Kind of World, 7 pm). Born in Georgia, Hines came to Nashville via Chicago, and recorded his debut at the local all-analog studio, Welcome To 1979. It will be out April 10th, or pre-order here. We talk to Hines about the unique way Benson discovered him, the creative environment here in Nashville and where he gets his sweet tea fix.
Rumor has it Brendon Benson discovered you on the stereo of his house painter. So, a) who is this house painter with good taste, b) what track were they listening to and how did they get his hands on that demo?
Iz Stone and Gaelen Mitchell. The disc had 18 tunes on there and I believe they let it spin in its entirety. I think Brendan came in and asked about the disc during “Only In A Dream.” I met Iz Stone the second time I moved to Nashville in 2002. We’ve stayed friends over the years. I met Gaelen through her and we also became friends. They had (and she still does) a band called The Grayces.
Talk about how you ended up here.
This is the third time I’ve moved to Nashville. I didn’t really want to leave the last time, but I got a job with a band in Chicago and off I went. I had a 120 shows a year within a hundred mile radius of my front door. I was making decent scratch so I started buying recording gear and tracking songs I wrote. I just kept buying one-inch reels for my tape machine and just kept tracking all the time. It was a lot of fun and a cool routine. One day, I checked my email and had one from Brendan Benson saying he had covered my tune “Only In A Dream.” Not long after, his manager Emily White scheduled a songwriting session for us at his place in Nashville. That went great. About the time I got back to Chicago, I put in 3 month notice with the band and when that was finished up I packed my stuff and came on down.
Have you found the city inspiring?
Yes. I’ve made so many new friends since moving down here a little over a year ago. Most are musicians or in some way connected to the music business as well as a lot of film makers and painters. I don’t know if Nashville is the same for everybody. Having moved here three times now I can definitely say that no matter where you go it’s the same old sky. If you want to live in a place where dreams have a chance at getting off the ground, you have to be open to the idea first of all. Nashville as a city is beautiful. My favorite weather is happening about now. It rains, then sun , then rain, then sun. Keeps you guessing.
What’s your process as a songwriter?
If something sets me off I like to immediately work on it and finish it. Another way is a melody will be in my head for days, weeks, months until I get to a guitar or piano.
Is it a daily habit, or something you have to set aside and segment time for?
It’s non stop. it’s like breathing. No joke. It never stops.
Your gig at the Basement kicks off the beginning of a tour opening for Brendan. How do you prepare mentally for tour?
What can audiences expect at your shows?
Gonna do it rock trio style and keep it raw for now. I’ll be playing my Epiphone Casino along with a bass player and a drummer. We did some thick productions on the album so it’s fun to strip them down and see if it still works. So far I’m really feelin’ it.
What are your favorite tracks on the album?
I think “Give Me My Change” is pretty cool. “Keep Me Goin'” as well.
I love the edge on “Can’t Explode”…it sounds like it is, well, exploding. Up next to another one of my favorite tracks, “Rainy Day,” there is clearly a lot of diversity on the album.
Sometimes I feel like rocking and some times I don’t. I don’t think I could do a record of all one or the other. I like to surprise myself.
You need a break from thinking about your own tunes for a bit. What do you put on the record player?
Early Billie Holiday: “Mother’s Son In Law,” “Straight Out of the Frying Pan and Right into the Fire,” ” What a Little Moonlight Can Do.”
What’s the best show you’ve seen since moving to Nashville?
Any local musicians you’d like to collaborate with (besides Brendan, naturally)?
David Rawlings would be pretty cool. There are so many!
Last question. Bolton’s or Princes?
Never been! Can’t get past Whitt’s Bar B Q!! Best Sweet Tea in town.
Photo credit: Armchair Studios