Tone Talk with Heather Anne Lomax

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Heather Anne Lomax - Photo provided by artist

I am Heather Anne Lomax (the artist formerly known as “Michael-Ann”). I recently found my birth family in the last three years, and it changed my life in a profound way. I changed my name back to my birth name as a result of this discovery!

I have been an Americana artist based in Los Angeles for a while now, and am coming out with a NEW record All This Time debuting May 1st. It is inspired by the sonics of Elvis Presley’s Elvis at American Sound Studio and The Sun Sessions.  It will be available on all digital platforms, as well as CDs and (eventually) LPs. I will be streaming a listening party on both Facebook and Instagram.

Who are my “favs” musically? Elvis(!), Maria McKee, Emmylou Harris, Hozier, Linda Ronstadt, Zeppelin, and the list goes on and on depending on the genre.

What is your definition of tone, and how has it changed over the years?

Tone really depends on the type of instrument you are playing. I love the warm, woody sounds of Martin and Gibson guitars. They just resonate with me (pun intended). I also love the dirty, crackly electric guitar sounds that Jack White is famous for. Stevie Ray Vaughan had amazing guitar tone, in my opinion, clear as a bell and like a focused laser.

What has changed? I think that people are more willing to accept DIFFERENCES in tone, and the interpretations of what is still served as art.

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Which guitars, amps, and pedals are you currently using and why?

Oh boy, well, I am currently playing a Gibson J-200, because I love the sound. It’s a workhorse — beefy and strong. (Thanks for the advice Randy Ray Mitchell!) I will also sometimes play my Martin D-118 GE, and most recently, I inherited my late mother’s Goya classical guitar, which is like the Holy Grail to me, and I treat it with utmost care.

I use a Fishman amp and sometimes a Baggs preamp.

What about strings?

I like D’Addario, Elixir Phosphor Bronze, and John Pearse. All light gauge.

Are there certain recording techniques you prefer in the studio?

Yes! I prefer recording live with a band. That’s how I recorded my upcoming record with some overdubs on certain songs. There is a vibe you can capture when you are all exchanging sounds in the same room.

I don’t like a song to sound too “slick” — especially on this record. I chose Electrosound Studios because it has the same aesthetics recording-wise as those great records from the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s. This record was produced and recorded by Jason Hiller, coproduced/edited by Zachary Ross.

I wanted the sonics of Elvis Presley’s Sun Sessions, mixed with American Sound Studios (To Memphis From Elvis).

I just love the sound and presence of analog tape.

How do you keep your sound consistent onstage?

I don’t! Haha!

Every stage is different. Every sound person works differently.

That being said, it helps to use your own amp and microphone.

I like to have certain musicians that I’ve recorded or played with perform with me on stage. It’s important that they practice the music and care about the songs.

What does your practice consist of?

I’m not gonna lie; I have to force myself to practice sometimes. It’s sort of akin to doing the dishes unless I’m passionate about a new song I’ve written. I rehearse at home, then have the band join in at a rehearsal studio.

What is your advice for young women who hope to work in the music industry?

Don’t get discouraged; this is a marathon, not a sprint. Study the music business. No, really. Be DIFFERENT. Be YOU, and commit to that 100% and to your musical vision of what you feel you have to offer an audience.

ENJOY the journey, and steer clear of catfights.

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