bill bodkin interviews one of the top stars of brendan benson’s new label…
Imagine this scenario…
One of your main musical influences e-mails you with a cover of one your original songs. Then that influence invites you to not only work and collaborate with him but also be the first act he signs to his new record label.
For the Atlanta, Georgia born singer/songwriter Young Hines, this scenario, as Hollywood manufactured as it seems, is exactly how he burst onto the national music scene. The eclectic and electric troubador has gone from recording songs in his house in Chicago to becoming one of the bright and shining faces of one of his major musical inspirations, Raconteur Brendan Benson’s, label, Readymade Records.
Pop-Break caught up with Young Hines earlier this summer and chatted about his happenstance meeting with Benson, what he’s learned from the seasoned songwriter and about his album Give Me My Change.
Pop-Break: You have such a unique sound — who are some of the artists that influenced you?
Young Hines: I remember my fifth grade summer learning the opening riff on guitar to “Rock N Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution” by AC/DC. Before that, I mostly sang along with my father’s vinyls of Elvis, Roy Orbison, Marty Robbins and Billie Holliday. For as many rock artists that have inspired me, the same amount of Folk, Jazz, Hip Hop, R&B, Blues, Bluegrass artists have reached me as well. I like to write music as if they all exist, which they do.
PB: Why decide to make music your life’s work? What is/was it about the music you were performing/writing that you inspired you to say “Yes, this is what I was meant to do?”
YH: I’m the youngest of seven. I saw my brothers venture out in to the world first and I saw how tough a place it can be. I’m just thankful I’ve been in working situations with great bands since ’95 and for the most part have kept my head above water. If it continues that would be great. I have no expectations cause she’s fickle. I don’t remember deciding I just always like the idea of creating.
PB: Can you explain how it felt to receive an e-mail from Brendan Benson and have him covering one of your songs?
YH: Keep in mind that his album Lapalco was the main reason I decided to buy a tape machine and record in my house, as opposed to paying someone by the hour to record what I considered only demos. “Only In A Dream” was the first song I recorded on that machine once i set up my home studio. I’ve told people before i fell out of my chair when I saw the e-mail, truthfully I think I just laughed.
PB: Can you talk about what you’ve learned from spending all this time from Brendan Benson — both professionally and personally?
YH: That’s a book to be honest! I’ll give you the Cliff’s Notes by saying that Brendan isn’t one to “admire his shots.” Imagine a tennis match where one of the players during the game kept getting impressed with his own swing so much he forgot to swing at the next ball! That’s NOT Brendan. He’s got a great work ethic balanced with a creative mind.
PB: A lot of people just known Brendan as “the other dude in The Raconteurs” what do you think makes him special as artist?
YH: The songs that he has written. I’m sure all the other guys in The Raconteurs have written some great songs, but none like “Jetlag.” That song sums it all up. I’d bet they agree.
PB: In the same vein — what makes Young Hines a unique artist? There are so many musicians out there today — what is about you that makes you different and someone people should be seeking out and listening to?
YH: Even if it wasn’t me, i would be curious to check out Brendan Benson’s first signee. Right?
PB: If someone wants to listen to you for the first time after reading this interview, what would be the one song you’d recommend them to start out with — one that you feel really captures the essence of your music.
YH: Track 1 on Give Me My Change, “Young Again.”
PB: What can we expect from Young Hines in the rest of 2012?
YH: [I'll] hopefully get in a studio and record some new songs I’ve been working on. If it’s anything like Y2K I’ll see you in ’13 at a venue near you!