Americana roots-rocker Erica Blinn’s released a new album Better Than Gold earlier this year. “I like to think of this album as having a little something for everybody,” says Blinn. “It definitely has the rockers but it also has some more intimate songs as well as a couple of just plain fun ones that reach towards a more pop sound.”
For the new album Better than Gold, it was her third time working with producer/engineer Mike Landolt (Maroon 5, Blues Traveler), but her first time recording in Nashville, TN. “About half of the record was done in Columbus [OH] and about half of it in Nashville.” Blinn relocated from her hometown of Columbus, OH to the incredible music community of East Nashville, TN in the Fall of 2015. “This album features a lot of the new friends we’ve made in Nashville, but the most special part for me was having my Dad in the studio. He came up with the bass part for ‘Suzie’ and drove down to Nashville to play it on the record.”
Cover photo credit: Joshua Black Wilkins
Not only can Blinn rock out on guitar and harmonica, she can also build a motorcycle from the ground up. These mechanical skills come in handy while the band is on tour. Learn more about Erica Blinn, her background, inspirations, and recording Better Than Gold.
At what age did you begin playing guitar and harmonica?
I started playing guitar maybe around seven years old. Harmonica I started when I was about 14 years old.
Do you have a process that you follow when writing?
Writing for me almost always starts with lyrics. When I have an idea for some words, I usually try to pick up a guitar right away and just see what chords I might play that feel right for that set of lyrics.
What was the recording process like for Better Than Gold?
It was a long process. We started doing demos in the late summer of 2015 I think. I moved from Columbus, OH to Nashville, TN that fall and our producer moved from Columbus, OH to Bainbridge Island, WA not long after that. We were trying to piece it together in Columbus but finally decided that we would rent Monster Studios in Nashville for a week in November of 2016 and try to finish it there. We got a lot done that week, but a lot of the backing vocals and the horns were done later in Columbus. I’m very happy with how it all turned out in the end though, as frustrating as parts of it were.
Tell us about your gear.
I play a ’74 Fender Telecaster Deluxe and a ’78 Gibson J-200 mostly, through either my ’69 Princeton or my ’72 Vibrolux Reverb. I play Hohner Blues Harps harmonica. I bought the J-200 from Delyn Christian who taught me how to play harmonica and so much about music and life. There are a lot of sentimentalities wrapped up in that beautiful instrument.
Do you play any other instruments?
I try to play bass sometimes. My dad is a bass player, and I really love bass guitar.
What and who inspired you when you were younger and what are you listening to now?
My dad and my uncle were my first inspirations. I really loved the Beatles, the Eagles, and Linda Ronstadt — and I still do. Magic Dick of the J. Geils Band and Delyn Christian were and still are my inspiration for the harmonica. Some of my other favs are Bob Seger, Bonnie Raitt, Susan Tedeschi, Sheryl Crow, Stevie Nicks, Derek Hoke, Aaron Lee Tasjan, and Two Cow Garage. I’ve been getting into Lake Street Dive lately. Their single “Good Kisser” is my favorite song right now.
Who is someone that you would like to collaborate with?
Lots of people. When I first moved to Nashville, I told Derek Hoke drunkenly one night (the whiskey rocks pour at The 5 Spot will get ya) that I wanted to sit in on harp with him sometime. He said, “We’ll get to that.” I’m still waiting.
Who would you want to tour with?
Tedeschi Trucks Band
Have you received any advice about music or business that you would share with up and coming artist?
Probably my favorite thing to remind myself daily was something my friend Micah Schnabel said once, “There’s no such thing as making it. It’s just life, and this ain’t a bad way to do it.” It’s also important to remember as my friend Aaron Lee Tasjan sings, “Success ain’t about being better than everyone else, it’s about being better than yourself.”
What is next?
More of the same, I guess. Play some more shows; hopefully, write some more songs. Make another record. Maybe some more music videos. Go to the beach.