Every day for the entire month, we’ll be asking (and publishing) 31 musicians the same question. This month, the question is: You’re playing a show in which you’re covering an album from beginning to end. What record do you choose to interpret?
Day 6 for the Month of May is Sam Anderson of Quaker City Nighthawks.
For a complete list of other answers, find the main Month of May page here.
QCNH released their sophomore album Honcho last year and more recently, the single Texas Blues a couple of months back. Like them on Facebook here and follow them here. Listen to “Tell It Like It Is” from Texas Blues below.
If I’m playing an entire album all the way through for an entire set, at this particular moment in my life it’s gotta be Sailin’ Shoes by Little Feat. For me, it touches on everything I’d want to hear at show. Boogie-woogie, ballads, heavy blues. Just a real pot-luck of songs. The backbeat on “Cold, Cold, Cold,” the hope in “Willin'” and the locomotion of “Teenage Nervous Breakdown.” I think that’d make for one hell of a set. If I was lucky enough to get an encore it’d be “Roll Um Easy” off Dixie Chicken. Because I always get encores in my hypotheticals.
How many records did you think about before deciding on Sailin’ Shoes?
Oddly enough, I went straight for Sailin’ Shoes. I guess I’ve been listening to that record quite a bit lately. Even picked up a copy at Record Store Day this year at Doc’s in Fort Worth.
Little Feat seems to be something that’d be in QCNH’s wheelhouse. Have you played any of these live before–solo or full band?
As far as QC goes, we’ve played “Willin'” before at some of those four-hour marathon gigs. We played so many of when we first started out. Personally, I’ve covered “Apolitical Blues” and “Roll Um Easy,” the latter being on Dixie Chicken, at some solo shows over the years.
What song do you think would be the most challenging or be the most difficult to pull off?
“Willin'” and only because of the feel that accompanies that song. You can’t just learn the chords and bang that one out. There’s a kind of working man swagger that has to really shine through that simplicity, Or working woman if you’re Linda Ronstadt, who, by the way, does my favorite cover of the tune.
Would you stay as true to the record as possible or would you really try and reinvent the songs?
QCNH has covered a few tunes in the past. We’ve always tried to stick to the way we felt they were intended. And this would be a particular wheel that needs zero reinventing. We’ve found though, that we can try as hard as we can to sound exactly like a certain song or artist and it still winds up sounding like us. Guess that Quaker City stink is a hard odor to hide.
Assuming you’d be playing this full band, how do you think you and David would split the songs up?
I’d imagine David would sing a good chunk of them. He’s got more trucker in his voice than I do. Haha! In the past, as far as our own stuff goes, we’ve always based who sings what on who sings it the best. The same would apply here. To me it just seems like the phrasing fits his style more naturally than it does mine. I would want to holler on “Apolitical Blues” though. That’s my jam.