An Interview With Neal Carpenter
Neal Carpenter, the artist behind our upcoming record of the month Good Guys, has a unique perspective on the music industry in his role as a songwriter.
We had the opportunity to sit down with Carpenter to discuss all things music. Check out the full interview below, and be sure to subscribe by July 15th to get your hands on this signed, EXCLUSIVE pressing of Good Guys!
Magnolia Record Club: When did you first start playing music and writing songs?
Neal Carpenter: I started playing guitar when I was 17 and started writing songs shortly after that.
MRC: Which artists' records do you go to for inspiration?
NC: Bill Withers, Bruce Springsteen, and Night Beds.
MRC: What's the craziest thing that's happened to you while in the music business?
NC : The first publishing deal I signed was literally offered to me by a man smoking a cigar in a leather chair. I had already made plans to go to graduate school but gave an old CD to someone at the company so I wouldn't have any regrets about moving away. I had no idea anything good would come out of it. Nine months laters I was back on the street after the company "ceased to exist," but at that point, I had enough confidence to keep at it. My life has been forever different because of that opportunity.
MRC: Do you have a favorite vinyl record in your personal collection?
NC: Bill Withers - Just As I Am
MRC: What has been the best or most rewarding part of your journey in Nashville so far?
NC: I got to hear Alison Krauss sing on a song I wrote. I will never forget that.
MRC: What do you wish would've known before pursuing music as a career?
NC: Make music in an effort to serve someone other than yourself.
MRC: Tell us about some of the inspiration behind Good Guys. How long was this album in the works?
NC: The album became a cohesive thought when I wrote the song "Good Guys". I was working through the pain I'd caused some people in my past. Trying to preserve my reputation and "get my act together" had failed me entirely, so I decided to write a confession instead. A story in John's gospel in the Bible was very impactful. I began to write from a new sense of freedom and an identity not based on someone else's opinion of me. The songs were really a collection of things from a 5 year period of writing.
I was also incredibly privileged to collaborate with several talented co-writers on this record who inspired me. A few songs were written before I wrote "Good Guys" and some were written after, but my producer Todd Lombardo and I felt like they all shared a cohesive spirit about them. Sonically, I was in a place of being inspired by a lot of 70's era rock n roll. The core players on this album were all guys I'd had the honor to play live with over the course of a few years, so there was a spirit of everyone being encouraged to put their own fingerprints on the song. We tracked the record live over a3 days then built out the sounds around that.
MRC: If you could give a word of advice to aspiring artists just moving or wanting to move to a new city to pursue their dream, what would it be?
NC: Take the landscaping day job instead of the office day job.
MRC: This is your first record pressed into vinyl. How was the experience listening back fro the first time?
NC: I am still amazed and confused at how it works, but I love the sound!