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A Conversation with Ferraby Lionheart

Ferraby Lionheart: Hey, you guys.

Sorry about that. We're just on the freeway, and I had to turn the music down.

Puremusic: Yeah, I hear you. Yeah, lots of times I'm calling somebody for an interview at noon and they're trying to order lunch.

FH: Oh, yeah, no problem.

PM: So I'm so enjoying the new CD, Catch the Brass Ring.

FH: Oh, cool. That's good to hear.

PM: It's really a surprising and a very satisfying record. As a Nashvillian myself for some dozen years, I'm curious that although you were born in L.A., you're one of those rare musical natives that grew up in Nashville but went somewhere else to happen, you might say.

FH: Yeah. I guess that's the way it turned out.

PM: What kind of a home and a family did you grow up in, and when did music take hold of you and start to direct your life?

FH: Well, I feel like I grew up in a pretty typical kind of household. It wasn't really that musical, although I had musicians close by. Neither my mother nor my father was a musician. There weren't any instruments in the house growing up. But I had some uncles that were musicians. My mom has four sisters, and they all married musicians.

PM: Oh, that's interesting. They all married musicians.

FH: Yeah. Yeah, in the '70s my grandmother was a music manager in L.A.

PM: Wow.

FH: So she--

PM: What was her name?

FH: Her name was Marsha Day. She used to manage Seals & Crofts.

PM: Wow.

FH: Yeah. Yeah, she had a pretty cool life. She was raising five daughters by herself on Hollywood Blvd., and got in the music business. She actually discovered and developed Seals & Crofts along with--

PM: That's incredible.

FH: Well, yeah, she was amazing. Along with some other musicians, and they're the ones that took off for her. I mean, by the time I came around that was all over, but it was still a familiar story I'd hear about.

PM: But she was around for you growing up, though, as person?

FH: Yeah.

PM: Because I remember reading in the Sharon Stone story that you were with your grandmother at that restaurant? (The gist of which was that the actress complimented him on his look, and he thanked her.)

FH: That's true.

PM: Is that the same one, same grandmother?

FH: Yeah. Actually, when I was 18 or maybe 20, I spent a summer in her basement working on probably like my first batch of recordings that I ever did. So yeah, she was around. And she would come down and give a listen and bring me lunch and stuff.


FH: She was always very supportive of what I was doing.

PM: Amazing.

FH: It wasn't until the end of high school that I really started to get serious about music. But I just kind of discovered guitar along with the other kids when I was in high school and stuff. Because like I said, my mother, she was in mental health, and my father was in computers and stuff. So I feel like a very normal suburban kid from Nashville.

PM: So how long did you grow up in Nashville? When did you leave, and where did you go from here?

FH: We got there when I was little, because we left L.A. when I was small, and I lived in Mexico for a year.

PM: Whereabouts? Where did you live in Mexico?

FH: A place called Cuernavaca.

PM: Cuernavaca, yeah. I'm going to San Miguel de Allende in October, that's why I ask.

FH: Cool. I mean, I was only four, but I have some memories from it. So from basically five to 18 I was in Nashville. I went to art school for a couple years in Chicago, and then after three years of Chicago, it was too cold. After the third winter I said I couldn't do another one.

PM: Yeah, it's really harsh.

FH: The winters are bitter. So yeah, it sort of made a lot of sense because music was really starting to take all of my time--I stopped going to school, and it was too cold, so it just kind of made a lot of sense to move back out to L.A.

PM: So when you were in Nashville, did the singer/songwriter scene of the time have any impact on you, positively or negatively?

FH: People ask that, how much Nashville influenced me. I feel like it was probably a very subtle kind of influence. I mean, when you grow up in Nashville it's a very present thing--the music history, it's pretty deep there.

PM: And there are so many singer/songwriters, I mean, it's like actors in L.A.

FH: It's true, there are. But it's funny, I didn't really connect with or develop any personal inspiration from the singer/songwriters while I was there, strangely enough.

PM: Right, you were doing something else.

FH: I started playing guitar with my friends and like I was into soul music and folk music, and had played in sort of a band. But I didn't really start to identify with the stereotypical singer/songwriter until way later, until I was kind of getting out of the rock music scene in L.A., like three years ago. It's a little bit of a delayed reaction kind of a thing. So it's difficult to say how influential Nashville was on me, because I don't feel like I really started making a Nashville kind of music until nine years after I left. 

PM: It's interesting how sometimes people have got to come through the band thing first before they really hit the singer/songwriter thing and they say, oh, okay, this is comfortable now.

FH: Yeah. It's funny that way. I mean, maybe that Nashville stuff really ended up coming out later on. I don't know. For whatever reason, yeah, once I started to mellow out and really get into Dylan--I had friends growing up that were really into Dylan, and I never really was. I was into different stuff. But once I really developed an affinity for him, it just opened up a whole world. And my whole music making and career just--it was kind of funny how simple it was, it just really started to fall into place real fast.

PM: That's interesting.   continue

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