It’s so great to have The Jorgensens (Kurt and Brianna) give us some back stories on the songs from the upcoming album, Americana Soul. I’m even more excited now for their album release Friday December 2 at the Hook and Ladder.
Old Black Crow is a great song that would bring a crowd to the dance floor, but it also serves as a call change. It seems to allude to recent history, especially in Minneapolis. Can you tell us more about song?
(Kurt) The song is about the environment and hope for change. Honestly though my idea came from watching the movie “Zootopia” with our son during the pandemic. Although the movie has nothing to do with what my song is about, the main characters are all animals and they all lived in different climates and it sparked the idea for the verses. It’s sort of a whimsical inspiration for a song that’s got a road house sound to it.
There’s a theme of travel or movement throughout the album. In Miles, Brianna is singing about freedom. In Twenty Years, Kurt sings about the long road he calls home. And then there’s the Dark Road and even Stateline so much travel imagery. Travel is such a part of being a performer, how has life of quarantine informed your music? Clearly your time was spent well with these songs, but it seems like there might be high and low points.
(Brianna) Travel for me is always an inspiration because of how I FEEL when I travel. It’s the ultimate freedom. I’m the kind of person who is perfectly happy living out of a suitcase for months on end. Although there’s comfort in home, there’s endless possibilities in travel and that resonates much deeper for me. Especially if I’m traveling with my loved ones. During the pandemic when traveling wasn’t an option it was easy to daydream about taking that next trip, whatever, wherever, and whenever that might be. ‘Miles’ is about a women hitch-hiking across the United States of America. Reading is a huge hobby of mine and during the pandemic I had extra time to dive in. My favorite author is Tom Robbins. He has the ability to take you places if you’re willing to go. Miles is dedicated to a character of his named Sissy Hankshaw.
(Kurt) both “Twenty Years” and “Dark Road” are about recovery. “Dark road” is about being in the throes of addiction, specifically alcohol for me. “Twenty Years” is about being in recovery and reflecting back on that time. We wrote ‘Dark Road’ together, being that we are both in recovery the song came naturally as we both had plenty of life experiences to draw from.
As the title of the album says, your music is Americana Soul, which spans and merges sounds; some songs (Hey Baby) feel like a steamy dancefloor and others feel like a day in the country (Shake it). Last time I saw you was at the Como Pavilion and that seemed like a perfect pairing but now some of these songs feel more like a basement bar in Chicago. What would your dream venue be or be like?
(Kurt) it’s less about the venue and more about the people attending. As performers you always hope to connect with your audience be it a country road house, or swanky club in town. It all comes down to the people.
(Brianna) it truly is about the people I agree with Kurt on that. We’ve played an incredible amount of venues in the years we’ve played together. I’d love to be able to just keep adding to that. Festivals, theaters, listening rooms, roadhouses, clubs….. I actually think this is a hard question because each performance/venue pairing always has a different outcome. You feel differently after playing certain places and that is mainly due to the connection that happens in the specific place that is being shared by the people listening and connecting to what you’re doing. I have love for it ALL.
You have some fabulous performers on the album and in the band – Andra Lee Suchy (vocals), Brenda Lee King (Bass Guitar), Jeff King (Saxophone, Clarinets), Jeff Levine (Trumpet), Mark O’ Day (Drums, Percussion), and C Harris (Percussion). It feels like a family; I want to give you the opportunity to talk about them impact on your work.
(Brianna and Kurt) it indeed feels like a family. we truly consider them our family because of what we get to share together. Then on top of the magic that happens when you play music together, they’re all wonderful people. People who we would choose as friends/family even if we weren’t in a band together. We have an endless amount of love and respect for all of them. They helped shape the sound of this album and all of them have incredible performances on the tracks. We could honestly go on and on but our response would turn into a short novel if we did. Jeff King has been with Kurt the longest over 20 years! It’s incredible and it says a lot. We are beyond grateful.
The video for Old Black Crow is so much fun. Tell us about how you came up with the idea and what was in like to create?
(Kurt) I have been friends with artist J.R.Roy for many years and looked for an opportunity to work with him. This video seemed like the perfect time to put something together. Brianna does our videos and does all the editing so she was able to take the relationship with J.R and completely run with it.
(Brianna) We went over to J.R’s studio and filmed his work. He portrays this wonderful world of ‘Americana’ through layering all sorts of things that catch his eye when he’s traveling around the U.S. Be it old car, guitar amp, motel signs, dogs, abandoned houses, empty pools, gas pumps, the list is endless. When I got the footage back to use it as the backdrop behind the band I realized that upon filming it, I had lost a little bit of the 3-D effect that I love so much about his art. I decided to layer and animate the background by putting neon lighting in the sings, making the cars move, and putting all sorts of little effects on specific items in the work to make it pop more. It was FUN! Then I filmed the band playing the song on green screen and inserted us into his artwork. I wanted it to feel like you were stepping into this “Americana world” so I came up with the intro idea of having Andra and I pull up in our classic car (1958 Edsel) to pick up Kurt and we’d go driving into this “porthole” where we would become part of this colorful, eclectic, wacky, rustic, fun world. It was an absolute blast to put together! If you don’t know J.R Roys artwork you MUST check it out it IS Americana!