Hannah Thomas has a style all her own that’s hard to define. Amy Ray, one-half of the Grammy winning duo Indigo Girls, probably describes her best when she calls Thomas an “outlaw songwriter.” Touring the country since the age of 16 from Atlanta to NYC, and playing venues like Eddie’s Attic and The Bluebird Cafe, Thomas has shared the stage and opened for acts such as Michelle Malone, Amy Ray, Don Dixon & Marti Jones, Zac Brown, Antigone Rising, Jen Foster, Danielle Howle, Bree Sharp, and others. Coming up soon on February 2, 2013, she will release her latest album, “Goodbye On Wasted Time” at The Red Clay Theater in Duluth, GA with special guests Sonia Tetlow and Sarah Golden (from NBC’s The Voice) . Thomas took a few minutes out of her busy tour schedule to answer some questions for Butchieblog:
Name: Hannah Thomas
Occupation: Performing Singer/Songwriter
My companion animals (names and personality traits): Jessie (German Shepherd/Chow Mix) “Hard To Get”
The movie that best represents me right now: “The Runaways” always!
Obviously, my favorite musical of all time is: Spice World. Does that count? lol
Bucket list item that would surprise my friends: I’m not really sure anything I could say would surprise my friends.
My favorite road trip so far in my life: Charlotte to NYC . It was my first time in The Big Apple. A long way from Covington, GA I tell ya!
If I were independently wealthy I would: Probably build a home studio.
My weirdest hobby: Ebay at 3am when I can’t sleep.
My biggest fan: My Grandma
My most favorite veg food or restaurant: Veggie Sausage at Radial
I am most passionate about this cause: Women’s Rights
If I could afford it, I would want a painting or photograph by: Marti Jones
My (s)hero is: Too many to name… Any woman who dared to test the boundaries or pave the way for the rest of us.
Most of my daydreams are about: Music
My latest and most awesome project is: My new album “Goodbye On Wasted Time”
Humble Tripe is a Durham-based band made up variously of Shawn Luby, Stud Green, Melissa York, Kadji Amin, and Jess Shell. Shawn Luby, lead singer and guitarist, lets us in on some band details, talks favorite lyrics with bandmate Stud Green, and reveals a second album in the works. And by the way, Shawn, you had me at Gillian Welch.
UPDATE and Special Note: I was very excited to have the opportunity to talk with HT band member Melissa York, formerly (and currently) with several of the giants of feminist music Team Dresch, The Butchies, and the Amy Ray band. She was unable to participate in this interview, however, due to very important new parenting duties. Congratulations, Melissa, now go get some sleep!
BB: Your band has great breadth of talent among the 5 of you. I always love to hear
band formation stories. How did you all find each other, and what’s up with your band name? Did you sort through your sound fairly quickly or how has it evolved since you started playing together?
HT: First, we all want to extend big thanks to you for taking the time to talk with the band!
It might sound strange, but, I had no idea that I was going to suddenly become a singer/
songwriter at the age of 30. I had played classical guitar competitively for almost 20
years, and the retired from that world in my early 20’s. I had never sung before, never
written before..so when this all started happening I just asked my best friends for help.
Some of have tons of musical background, and others were plain forced to be in the
band regardless of expertise—its always been pretty easy when we get together, b/c we
have all been friends for years and years—the hard part is that almost everyone lives in
a different city now—but that’s also a great thing, b/c we have little home bases all over
As far as the band name—it came from a little stream of consciousness exercise led
by our resident HT Phd, Kadji Amin. The humble, describing how it feels to have this
unexpected and amazing opportunity, and the tripe, referring to the music being from my
heart/core/guts so to speak.
BB: North Carolina seems to have a very dynamic music scene. Is it the conflux of college intellectualism and country/Southern poetry, or what exactly is up with Durham at the moment? What is your favorite place to play in Durham?
HT: Durham is just a great place to be when it comes to music. There is so much going on,
and at the same time, the community is so supportive. When we first started, I had no idea how to use a microphone, how to plug in a guitar, how to book a show, how to record—and folks in this town were patient and helped me through all of this. One thing I love about Durham, is that you can make music spaces most anywhere. From porches to back yards, to barns, we love playing non-traditional performance spaces where folks
can gather and listen and have a good time, no matter where we end up.
BB: For fans of my town’s favorite live music venue Eddie’s Attic, I see that you
participated in a shoot-out there recently, which folks should know is a very big honor. I also note that you will be back in town this weekend at WonderRoot to perform live. How do you find the Atlanta audience/scene compared to North Carolina?
HT: We love Atlanta!! Actually, our first Humble Tripe show ever was at Mondo Homo
2009 under a tree in a park. We’ve been really lucky here to have great support from the
queer community, and have been enjoying the growing support from the folk/Americana
scene too! Actually, the cross over between the two communities is one of things we love
the most about our Atlanta shows!
Being chosen to play the shootout at Eddie’s Attic was an honor! We drank an entire
mini bottle of rescue remedy that day to calm our nerves, and in the end, it was so great
to meet other songwriters in the southeast region, and to develop relationships with other
music makers in Atlanta! Read the rest of this entry »
Mount Moriah is a North Carolina band in the thick of things. They are an alt-country/folk/bluegrass/rock band at serious work – touring and recording and opening for fantastic acts all over the country. Last week one of their recordings was named song of the week on NPR, garnering the band even more national exposure. Heather McEntire and Jenks Miller are the core duo of the group, and McEntire was kind enough to answer some of my uneducated questions about her band and favorite venues. She even indulged my gratuitous comment about her pooch, so I really appreciate that.
BB: Mount Moriah has really hit its stride this year, and you have totally snuck up on me. Tell me the story of how and where y’all met?
MM: Jenks and I first met while I was living in this co-op style house that would throw basement shows and his band performed there. Soon after, we worked together at this record store in Chapel Hill, NC. We quickly became very close.
BB: You spent this summer on the road with the Indigo Girls and last fall with Amy Ray’s band too. I imagine most emerging musicians have that on their bucket list. What about those experiences was the most unexpected?
MM: We definitely feel grateful for those opportunities, and to now be friends with Amy and Emily. They are amazing people, and have taught us a lot. I think we all feel a sense of pride about the South, and really support each other. Looking back, I did find it surprising that they took a chance on our little band that didn’t have a label, or even a record out yet. Even our band membership was in flux. They really believed in us from the start, and I’ll always remember that. We would never have been able to play zoos and meet all kinds of animals, and play to such large audiences at those gorgeous theaters and amphitheaters on our own.
BB: What else is on your musical bucket list?
MM: I’d like to keep touring with folks who inspire me, mentors and strangers and musicians I admire. If I were to name them, the list would be very long. In general, Jenks and I would like to make a living making music in Mount Moriah. Keep making records, collaborating with others, touring the world, performing…not having to work as many odd jobs to keep everything together. I’d be pretty happy if we could swing all that and sustain it.
BB: On your website you have several really nice music videos by Hueism Pictures, and I’ve posted a couple of them here. I think they are great assets to your music and to your image. Each sets a different mood, but all with a dark tone. They all seem to be shot at night. Was that by choice or by chance?
MM: Wow, I never noticed that. There are some daylight scenes in “The Letting Go”; it’s a documentary-style video of us on tour last fall with the Indigo Girls. There are bits of me in my friend’s house where we have a screen printing setup together, and that happened during the day. “Lament” was shot at night on a parking deck in Durham NC. And “Old Gowns” was filmed in an abandoned tobacco factory in Durham during the day, but it was very dark in there. I loved working with Hueism so much that I now work part-time for them, organizing collaborations. Read the rest of this entry »