The quartet that makes up Della Mae have had significant achievements with their music, since the debut of their 2013 Grammy-nominated album, This World Oft Can Be. Della Mae formed in 2009 in Boston, and then moved to Nashville to continue pursuit of their musical career. With their self-titled debut album, the quartet have developed new tunes with spontaneous creativity evoking a different kind of musical sound and feel, yet inherit to their true musical prowess that evokes emotion. Della Mae collaborated with Grammy-award winning producer, Jacquire King, who’s best known for his work with Tom Waits, Norah Jones, Buddy Guy, and Kings of Leon.
In addition to creating music and extensive touring, Della Mae are also cultural ambassadors in the U.S. State Department’s American Music Abroad program. This program has given them opportunities to travel to Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. These places give Della Mae the opportunity to share their music with local audiences, collaborate with local musicians, and participate in children’s music education programs (Della Mae, 2015). Be sure to purchase Della Mae’s newest album, released on May 12, and catch them in a city near you, while on tour.
Della Mae is:
Celia Woodsmith—vocals, guitar
Kimber Ludiker—fiddle, vocals
Jenni Lyn Gardner—mandolin, vocals
Courtney Hartman—guitar, banjo, vocals
Zoe Guigueno– bass, vocals
GGM: You all delved into varied creative territories with your new album Della Mae. Where did you all pull your creative outlets from?
Courtney: The songs on this album were all written over the last two years since we released This World Oft Can Be. They were all heavily influenced by our travels, places we’ve been, and people we met along the way. Celia and myself do all of the songwriting for the band, but once a song is written the arrangement process, the real digging into what a song can be, that is collaborative and at times spontaneous in the studio. Our producer, Jacquire King, comes from a very different musical world than we do, having worked with artists such as Tom Waits, Norah Jones and Kings of Leon. Working with Jacquire was an occasion to rise to; he doesn’t settle for par, and that is exactly what we wanted in a producer. They way he mic’ed our instruments also took a different approach for this album. Every instrument was mic’ed and was also sent through pickups and a variety of amps and pedals, depending on the song. Jacquire is truly a sonic visionary and it was astounding to watch as he took our songs and sounds to unexpected places. We also worked with Mark Schatz on bass. He has such a grounding, supportive energy in the studio and his playing is rock solid and funky. Mark has played on so many of our favorite albums and it was an honor to collaborate with him on this album.
GGM: Was there anything surprising that popped up during the production and recording process of Della Mae?
Courtney: While we were tracking “Good Blood,” a thunder storm starting brewing. We had flown in our friend from Elephant Revival, Bonnie Payne, to play percussion on a few songs and it was our last few hours with her in the studio. After the first few takes of the song, Jacquire called us all into the control to wait out the thunder while he backed up the takes. Within ten minutes we lost all the power and were left in the eerie, pitch black studio to close out the night passing whiskey and telling ghost stories. The track that ended up on the album was the one we recorded just before the storm.
GGM: How does the band unwind after performing and traveling?
Courtney: When I get back home after being on the road for a while, it takes a few days to settle in. I love to get in the kitchen and cook food, spend time wandering outside, and set aside hours of writing and reading and making music. I also like to send letters and postcards. I have a postcard project on my website where folks can connect with me through letters: http://www.courtneyhartman.com/contact/
GGM: What five albums and/or artists would you not want to live without?
Alison Krauss – So Long, So Wrong
Bela Fleck – Drive
Bill Frissell – Good Dog, Happy Man
Norman Blake and Tony Rice – Blake & Rice
Paul Simon – Paul Simon
GGM: What is your all-time favorite movie?
Courtney: Spinal Tap is right up there.
GGM: Do you have any guilty musical or entertainment pleasure?
Courtney: There’s no one that I feel guilty about listening to, maybe I should try a little harder! Lately I’ve been digging D’Angelo and Taylor Swift’s new albums a lot.
COVER PHOTO CREDIT’: Crackerform