Pinecastle Records has released a new music video from their new album by Dale Ann Bradley, Pocket Full Of Keys. It’s a superb record full of the sort of simple and sincere song delivery we have come to expect from this 5-time recipient of the Female Vocalist of the Year Award from her peers in the International Bluegrass Music Association.
The video is for the CD’s debut single, Bradley’s re-working of Til I Hear It From You, a hit for The Gin Blossoms in the mid-’90s on pop radio, which was also featured in the film, Empire Records in 1995.
We took the occasion of the video release to chat with Dale Ann about the song, her new album, and what she is up to these days. Our first question was about the fact that all of her releases seem to feature at least one bluegrass cover from the pop, rock, or country worlds, and whether that was by design.
“That was never a plan, to make sure to have one on every album. It’s just songs that I’ve loved through my life – ones where I loved the words and music, and I just started hearing how it would sound bluegrass. We did that even back when I was with The Coon Creek Girls.
I first heard Til I Hear It From You playing at Renfro Valley some years ago. The song just really hit me, and I started thinking about it as a bluegrass song. When it was time for this record, it came back to me, and I thought that the opening guitar lick might sound good on the banjo. I mean, the banjo is sort of like a Telecaster anyway.
So I called Mike Sumner who was playing banjo on the record, and asked what he thought about playing it on the banjo. About an hour later he called back and played it for me over the phone. It was perfect!
The lyrics are not exactly bluegrass lyrics, but they’re sorta cool.”
Dale Ann also mentioned that with so many pop and country covers in her set from these many recordings over the years, they have started doing a contest from the stage.
“We make everyone turn off their phones, and then ask if anyone knows who had first recorded the song. We give them a prize from the table if they get it.”
Pocket Full Of Keys marks a career milestone for Bradley. It is the first project she has produced herself, after having worked with some of the top producers in our business. She says she was a bit nervous going in, but is very proud of the result.
“I’ve had so many years of having producers, and I’ve been lucky to work with some of the best. I learned a lot from Sonny Osborne, who produced us in Coon Creek and on my first two solo albums. Then I went on to work with Tim Austin, and got to learn a lot of the more technical stuff, with some help from Dan Tyminski. That helped my playing a lot.
From Tim I went to Alison Brown. She and I are so much alike, and she hears things the way I do. She’s been a favorite of mine for years. I felt like I learned what I needed to know from her that I was ready to try it myself.”
We congratulated Dale Ann on receiving another nomination for the 2015 Female Vocalist of the Year from IBMA, and wondered if the charm dissipates after so many awards and nominations through her career.
I respect all of the people who get the nominations. To even be in there is truly and honestly an honor that I appreciate very much.”
She also shared appreciation for her label…
“I am so thrilled with Pinecastle. I have loved everyone I have ever worked with in various labels, but this is a special group that Lonnie has at Pinecastle. They respect my opinion, and listen to what I have to say. They look for ways to get my music into places where it fits. I just couldn’t be happier with them.”
…and the people who came to see her perform recently in France at the La Roche Bluegrass Festival.
“It was awesome – I had the best time over there. We spent three days in France. It took a day to get acclimated, and then we played a show at La Roche.
Steve Gulley and I will be going back to Europe in November. The travel is hard, but I swear that those people are so hungry for this music over there.”
Pocket Full Of Keys is available wherever bluegrass music is sold, both on CD and for digital downloads. It’s a good’n.
You can keep up with Dale Ann’s comings and goings online.