Interview: JD & The Straight Shot talks new album “Good Luck and Good Night”

JD & The Straight Shot
Photo Credit: Kristin Barlowe

Concert Crap: Your new, all-acoustic album Good Luck and Good Night is out September 15. How does it stand out from other acoustic albums?

Erin Slaver: Our album is more than just acoustic voices and instruments, thoughtfully arranged, and expertly captured; it also conveys an emotional intention and I believe that helps us stand out from the rest. This is our second album to be composed of our strictly acoustic sound and arrangements.  It’s groovy in a way that reflects our vibe together as a live band.  Marc Copely, our music director and lead guitar player was behind the board producing, so there was a very intimate and familiar ear guiding the sound. 

CC: This album has a lot of influences, from folk to blues to rock to gospel and even more. What was the writing process like?

ES: We’ve all been co-writing together for several years. We write together during our time spent on the road and in rehearsal. If someone has an idea for a new song they’ll bring it in to the rest of us and usually we all finish it together. We also like to play new songs live for a while before we take them into the studio. It helps the music feel “lived in.”  That way we know what works, and what doesn’t. For this particular record, we drew a ton of inspiration from our time spent touring in Europe (Ireland/the UK to be exact).  

CC: What’s something that we wouldn’t pick up when we first listen to the album?

ES: There are some hidden influences in our music that are not obviously audible; I guess it would take a very fine ear to hear them all! Some songs have a more transparent reference (i.e. ‘Run for Me’ quoting a celtic melody or “the Ballad of Jacob Marley” referencing early American bluegrass) but others like “Never Alone” (which was written around a melody we adapted from a traditional irish street performer in Dublin) are much more subtle.  

CC: “Good Luck and Good Night” is a beautiful song and has a really pretty part with a choir. How did that come about?

ES: Sometimes you hear something, and suddenly a lightbulb goes off in your head. That’s what happened for JD when he heard the bridge to “Good Luck and Good Night”.  We, the band members, were originally singing it in unison and as we were listening back he had the idea of using a children’s choir instead. We all agreed  — that was it! 

CC: What’s your favorite song on the album?

ES: I have a soft spot for “The Ballad of Jacob Marley.”  I love the energy of the track and the gang vocals on the chorus.  It makes you want to stomp your feet.  Plus, our bassist (and multi-instrumentalist) Byron House plays the tastiest lick on banjo that sucks you right down into purgatory.  You can feel the weight of the chains and the heat of the fire. 

CC: Why should people get this album?

ES: It’s refreshing! and every song tells a story. 

All questions answered by violinist/fiddler/back-up vocalist Erin Slaver.

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Post and interview by Karen Shalev

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