AUSTIN DAZE: You guys have reached success with The Greencards so quickly and have virtually exploded onto the scene. What was the defining event that changed the Greencards from being an opener and a Sunday brunch band to being a headliner?
EAMON MCLOUGHLIN: That’s a good question. I think the thing that was a big deal for us was the sensation of our first record, Moving On. We released that in November in 2003. You know it was original, it started to get some airplay on KGSR and that was a big deal, to here our music on the radio. That really changed things for us. The amount of exposure really helped.
AD: It seems odd that a band would move away from Austin with their musical career, doesn’t it usually happen the other way around?
EM: Well I think that’s true and of course we all met in Austin and put the band together there and we had three great years of the band there. The reason for the moving was it felt like we wanted to be more of a national band–tour nationally–and that was one of the reasons we moved to Nashville, for simple touring reasons. That, and we found a record label that was in Nashville, and we were looking at management that was in Nashville, and booking. It was all in Nashville and we sort of made the decision to put the business first. To make that paramount in our lives. And of course Austin is an amazing place to play and to live but we just felt the fact that our music was leading us away from Austin.
AD: Did the move improve your musical career? And if so, how?
EM: Yeah, it really did. It really did a lot of things. Obviously, we moved to Nashville and we made a record and our favorite engineer chose us. We live there and can concentrate which I think helped with the making of the record. Not being away from home. Not having to travel to do a record but being able to do it right there. Living in Nashville, we got the Bob Dylan tour in the summer and I’m not sure we would have gotten that with any other booking agent and that really turned things around for us.
AD: What do you miss most about Austin?
EM You know, I miss Town Lake. I used to go running around Town Lake and it was great to see everyone running and biking and walking and taking their kids out there around the lake. It’s just a very energetic and healthy scene. Nashville doesn’t have that and I miss that.
AD: What are the differences between Nashville and Austin musically? Are they better or worse?
EM: Not to use a cliché, but it’s pretty much like comparing apples and oranges. Austin is all great live music and there is a culture of experimentation and original music and that’s something we all loved and still do. Nashville is an industry town. The recording industry is there and all the business side, the promotion side and booking–it’s mostly all concentrated in Nashville. I think the difference there is people get home from work and they don’t want to really go out to a venue because obviously, they are working in music all day. So this isn’t that live music scene you get in Austin. There are little pockets but you have to look harder to find it, but it is there.
AD: What was it like to play with Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson?
EM: It was an amazing experience and a once in a lifetime deal. They treated us really well and they had the most amazing catering. We could eat three meals a day and more often than not we did. They always gave us sound check and never pressured us to do anything we didn’t want to do. At first, it was slightly overwhelming because it’s just a huge operation. They arrive at the stadium two days before the show and they build stages. Trucks, semi trucks, production crews, lighting. It’s a humungous organization and we were just one small cog in that machine and it was amazing just to go there and look around and see everyone doing their job really well and working really hard. It was sort of an eye opening experience for everyone.
AD: Tell us about your new album.
EM: We released on June 28th, Weather and Water. That was a big deal for us and we really kind of reached high and figured out who we wanted to work with. Our dream engineer was always Gary Paczosa who does Nickle Creek records and has an amazing sound. We just started trying to get Gary to work with us which fortunately he did. We also pulled in a guitar player called Bryan Sutton and he’s played on countless records. He’s played with Ricki SXXX. He was just a really great help to us with formulating ideas and putting everything together.
We are really, really happy with it and really, really proud of it and we’ve had some luck with it so far. It’s been on the charts for our single “Time” that’s been on KGSR and doing well for us. And we have a new single coming out called, “Don’t Walk Forever”. It’s going very well. We’re happy with how people have received it.
AD: The most standout memory of seeing you play was with the Two High String band. How does this ensemble compare?
EM: Well, that’s a good question. I would say the similarities are with the mandolin, bass and guitar. Those are pretty serious similarities you’ve got there already. The THSB had a more traditional feel and was a bit more rootsy, more down home, I guess you’d call it. Music wise, the Greencards is a different deal. Well, it has electric bass, and we draw on many different influences. You know, we are driving in the car and listening to the more contemporary stuff like Nickle Creek, pop music like Shawn Colvin, and that kind of stuff. We try to bring that into our music. That’s part of who we are so it’s naturally in our music.
The other thing you know is that there are far less Americans in this band.
AD: What advice would you give to other musicians starting out?
EM: God, there is so much advice to give. I think preparation and rehearsal were two serious pieces. I don’t think you can go anywhere without those two. Being prepared and you sort of have to be somewhat serious about it and think about it and know what you are meant to be doing and being prepared to correct yourself and others. You need to expect that things won’t go according to plan and having the humility to do that is useful in the music business.
AD: Anything else?
EM: Well, I’ve read your magazine countless times and the only thing, sometimes my bad grammar will show up so if I’ve made any huge grammatical errors I’ll leave it up to your discretion to correct them. ***