The Greencards Immigrate to Americana
by Brett Leigh Dicks
If you were to wander last year’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, the lineup of bands resembled a Sings Like Hell roll call. While it’s a pleasure to revisit old musical friends, the real delight lies in discovery — like stumbling across the dynamic overtones of Nashville-based band the Greencards. This vibrant three-piece brandishes an infectious mix of Americana, which is ironic given the band is two Aussies and a Brit. As the Greencards ready themselves to join the Sings Like Hell alumni with a show at the Lobero this Saturday, June 10, Kym Warner spoke to Down Under ex-pat Brett Leigh Dicks about all things musical and a few things Australian.
Being Australian and playing Americana, how different is it being here in the States pursuing your musical career as opposed to doing the same back home? What we play is predominantly an American music style and that is virtually nonexistent back home. But here it’s a way of life and there are so many venues and opportunities. And playing here is so much different to back home. Going to see a band in Australia is a social event. You stand around with a beer and some friends, whereas here people are listening to the music much more.
How was playing the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival last year? I had a great moment of walking through the park and hearing Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall.” And as I moved through this sea of people and got closer to the stage, I realized that, bloody hell, it’s Joan Baez singing it! The caliber of artists that were on that bill was second to none. It was so overwhelming to be right there in the middle of, but it was also a lot of fun. That was one of the best concerts we have ever played.
You are about to start recording your third album. Does your sound evolve more in between visits to the studio than it does once you are actually recording? Absolutely! That’s definitely the way it is for us and that’s the way it should be too. I like it when a band evolves and grows from record to record and you can feel and hear and sense in their recordings everything they have gone through over a period of time. We have done so much since we went in and recorded our last album. We have been to so many new places and discovered so many different things. All those things will come into play and exert their own influence on the music.
There seems to be an imposed importance placed upon a band’s third album. Is that something tangible or more a mystique? When I look at a lot of bands that I like, their third record is often the one that tends to stand out in their career. So it seems to be an important one. But I hope [the notion is] crap. Just like the preceding records, you just have to back yourself and be who you are. And just keep making the music that you love making.
In venturing across here and affording your music its best possible chance, you guys certainly seem to be old hands at backing yourself. And that’s just what you have to do, isn’t it? If it’s something that you really want to do, sometimes you just have to say “bugger it.” We haven’t set the world on fire, but we are part of a music scene that is incredible and we are honored to be here. If you believe in yourself, I think you can make things happen.
4•1•1 Sings Like Hell presents the Greencards and Caroline Herring on Saturday, June 10, at 8 p.m., in the Lobero Theatre. Call 963-0761 or visit singslikehell.com.