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Interview: Eric Paslay talks live album, UK tour and new music

We caught up with the US country singer-songwriter ahead of his latest UK tour.

Eric Paslay
Credit: Eric Paslay

Intro

Ahead of the tour I sat down with Eric to talk about his love for UK audiences, the new live album, his Level With Me podcast and plans for new music.

Welcome back to the UK Eric! How are you finding it so far?

I love it. We just got back and already getting to hang out with a bunch of friends, so it’s good.

It’s just over a year since we last spoke – what have been your highlights since then?

My wife and I had a little girl, little Piper Lily. She’s eight and a half months. She’s actually here in London right now, so getting to hang out with her. We’ve got the live album, Live In Glasgow that just came out – it’ll be at all the shows so fans can get it at the shows. It will be streaming soon, not out yet. And then just recorded a new studio album, so that’ll be out early next year. So two albums and a baby. A lot going on!

Why did you decide this was the right time to do a live record?

I mean we recorded it in Europe, in Glasgow, so we’re back here touring, so thought, ‘Why not? Let’s put it out now’. And yeah, just seems right. It’ll be fun.

What was it about Glasgow that made it particularly special to record the live album?

I don’t know. I think that was one of the first spots I ever played when I came to Europe, and if it would have been London or somewhere else, who knows if that might have been where we recorded it. But I think there was just such a magic in that crowd, and I just loved it. It ended up we recorded it there.

You’re here for The Long Road Festival and then you’ve got a UK tour after that…

Yeah, I’ll be at The Long Road. We’ll be back also here in London and hopefully all over, yeah.

What can people who are coming to see you on this tour expect?

Just a great show, right? I mean I play my hits that I’ve had, like Friday Night, She Don’t Love You, Song About A Girl, Young Forever. And then I also play the songs that I’ve written for other people that have been hits, like Barefoot Blue Jean Night, Even If It Breaks Your Heart, Angel Eyes, and all those songs are on the live album as well. So I think it’ll be cool for fans to have that with me singing the songs I wrote and that were hits for other people.

This is your fourth trip to the UK now. What is it that keeps you coming back here?

The fans. Y’all keep telling me to come back and keep selling out places, so we come back.

Is there anything that surprises you about the audiences here?

Yeah, everybody learns the album and sings along, which is amazing. And it happens in the States, but not at this level – truly looking out into the crowd and everybody singing along is amazing.

You mentioned the new studio album you’ve got coming out – can you tell us more about that?

Yeah, we’re just finishing up the tweaks. It should be out early next year. 80 per cent of it we didn’t cut to click, so it’s just a live band on the floor. Probably half the vocals I didn’t re-sing because they were just great, and caught the magic. Typical studio albums, you’ll go in and re-record every vocal and re-record every guitar, play the drums separate and then the bass comes in. But we recorded it all live and it just, as it says, when you go in the studio you try to capture magic and lightning in a bottle. And I think we really did that well this time.

Will you be playing any of the new music while you’re over here?

Yes. We have a brand new show ready to rock. The band just landed here in London, so we’ll start off the tour in Amsterdam, go to Germany. We’ll do Dublin, Glasgow and then we’ll be back here in the UK for a few shows, then go over to Norway and Sweden. And then I’ll end up in Australia at the end of this tour. So in a month we’ll be in a lot of places.

Are there any songs you’re particularly looking forward to playing live?

Yeah, we’ve got a fun song called Nice Guy. We’re on the Nice Guy Tour, so Nice Guy and I did a song with my wife singing on called Fingertips. It’s for our daughter Piper. There’s a lot of songs that I’ve been waiting to be released for a while. And great guests – Lucie Silvas is on it. There’s so many names, I’m kind of letting the cat out of the bag. Caitlin Smith’s on it. So many great, great singers and great writers – Sarah Buxton is a great writer and singer that’s on a couple of songs. I’m really excited about it. It’s just a lot of friends I’ve had for years and great singers and songs I’ve loved for years that we’re finally getting to put out. It’s the perfect time for them and the recordings are amazing. I love it.

You’ve mentioned you’ll play some of the songs you’ve written for other artists on this tour. Do you have a different approach to those songs compared to the ones you write for yourself?

No. I just write a song and pray it gets heard by someone. Timing is everything and hopefully it’s a great song if people get to hear it.

Were there any songs that were particularly easy or particularly difficult to write for the new album?

No, I think the majority of songs that I end up recording aren’t too hard to catch. One of them I wrote by myself, and whenever I write by myself it might take three or four writes to get it. You know, you’re in your own head trying to figure out what direction you wanna go, and when you co-write it kind of makes things a little smoother. It just depends. But yeah, none of them were too difficult to catch, and that’s probably why they’re on the record.

The other thing I wanted to ask about was your podcast, Level With Me – how did that come about?

Yeah, I’m a type 1 diabetic so Level With Me is what it’s called. It’s just about living with type 1 diabetes. And the cool thing of just getting to do a lot of interviews with spouses of type 1 diabetics and parents and just people doing amazing things. There’s a triathlon guy that we got to talk to, he was amazing. And just talking about living with type 1 diabetes. A lot of times it’s like, ‘oh, it’s such a struggle’ or ‘I’m overcoming and I’m a champion’. A lot of times you miss the life in between. So we actually go to every person that we interviewed, we go to their home town and their house. You get to hear the sounds of their kids running around and the birds in the yard. And then we fly them to Nashville and we do an interview there. It’s just a really cool adventure every episode. I’m just stoked we got to do that.

We got to partner up with Dexcom, a company that has a great device I’m wearing right now on my arm. It tells me my blood sugar level every five minutes. It’s just truly amazing. And it really is amazing. Just endless things to really talk about when it comes to technology of type 1 diabetes and just taking care of yourself, and that’s what the podcast is about.

Did you have a favourite guest or favourite episode?

I had a favourite episode. My favourite episode was when my wife interviewed me. Natalie interviewed me and I think everyone is just sitting there going, ‘why does Natalie not have her own podcast?!’ And it really is true. She’s just so smart and just amazing and sweet voice and incredibly intelligent. So I selfishly get to say that was my favourite one. But I had a blast with every guest that was on the show.

Are there any plans for another series?

I mean, it’s floating around. I think we should. We probably should. I had a blast doing it and it’s fun to connect people together with type 1 diabetes, and I think it’s great for those with type 1 diabetes or who have a loved one with type 1 diabetes or who are just curious, ‘what is this type 1 and type 2 diabetes? What is the difference?’ I think as we said the more you talk about something the more you’re comfortable with it, and I think the better you’ll take care of yourself, or at least have the option of knowing you’re not the only one struggling with high blood sugar levels or low blood sugar levels. Hopefully that’s what people will get out of it. You’re not alone.

Is there anyone you’d particularly like to work with in future?

I mean it really is wild just with music how many people you get to meet. We’re sitting here in a pub in London by the water – it’s this amazing adventure. I always throw out Dolly Parton just because she’s the unicorn. She’s the liger of them all. She exists but you never see her, only on stage. But I basically wanna hang out and write songs with everyone that doesn’t need a co-writer. It’s like, ‘hey Bono and Edge’. Like hang out with U2 or hang out with Chris Martin. I’m not sucking up to you because I’m in Europe. There’s so many UK and European artists that I love. Like if Imogen Heap needs a co-writer to make a great song, sign me up.

But anyone I ever get to write a song with, I love it. And get to sing a song with, I just sang on a Christmas album with Dionne Warwick. She and I will be singing Frosty The Snowman together. It’s a fun version. It’s just wild. That and Steven Tyler and just all these wild connections, Kenny Rogers, over the years of meeting and hanging out with amazing artists and musicians and just incredible influencers of the world. But yeah, I’ll throw that out there now – if Dolly Parton, Springsteen, Chris Martin, Bono and The Edge and Imogen Heap wanna show up, if you’re listening, if you read this, I’ll be there. Just let me know when.

You played at CMA Fest over the summer – how was that?

I love it. I mean, CMA Fest is always a huge family reunion for all the artists, because it’s like, ‘hey, where you been? What tour you been on?’ We’re everywhere, but it’s fun. People are always like, ‘so when are you playing Nashville?’ and it’s like, ‘CMA Fest’ [laughs]. That’s the only time we all play Nashville. But it’s incredible just to see so many fans from around the world. I’ve seen so many fans from England, Scotland, we meet up in Nashville. Like, ‘yeah I’ll meet you for a drink, let’s go hang out’. So it’s fun.

Is there anywhere you’d particularly like to play at some point?

Yeah, the Royal Albert [Hall]. Let’s go play there. Let’s do that. I’ll keep throwing that one out there too.

What are your plans for the rest of 2019? Is it mostly touring?

It is, non-stop. The beginning of this tour is just really kicking off a whole lot of touring and just promoting the new live album and getting ready for the new studio album that’ll be out. So a lot of playing shows and a lot of getting records set up for fans to hear.

Are you starting to think about the next album at all?

I mean we’re always writing songs. So if it’s not on this album it’ll be on the next. No plans on the next album but getting ready to put this studio album out, and it’s done. But you never know – there might be a song show up that has to be on it. But we’ll see. There’ll probably be anywhere from 12 to 15 new songs on this album that’ll come out.

See Eric Paslay live on tour in the UK and Ireland this September:

Friday 6th September – The Academy, Dublin
Saturday 7th September – The Long Road Festival, Stanford Hall, Lutterworth, Leicestershire
Tuesday 10th September – Oran Mor, Glasgow
Wednesday 11th September – Band On The Wall, Manchester
Thursday 12th September – Bush Hall, London

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