Just before their show at The Crescent in York, we caught up with Hayseed Dixie frontman Barley Scotch to chat about whiskey, York and who would star in the Hayseed Dixie movie…
Hello! Let’s start with an introduction, who are you and what do you do in Hayseed Dixie?
John Wheeler aka Barley Scotch – voice, guitar, fiddle.
You’re heading to York soon for a show at The Crescent. By my count, this is your fifth time in this fine city. I appreciate that you play a lot of places, but do you have any stand out memories of York from your previous visits?
Pretty town, old proper castle in the middle of town, awful traffic, more chain stores than I’d normally want in an old historic town but also a few independent places, the Minster is about the most impressive in Europe… Maybe closely tied with the Köln Dom. But you already know all of this. The personal memories are rather more private honestly!
You released a new album, ‘Free Your Mind…’ earlier this year. Can you tell us a little bit about the song selection on there?
Isn’t this in the press release? All of the songs were selected for their lyrical content, as they deal with issues of race and nationality – boiled down the the root core, the album questions what “Identity” means in the 21st Century.
Hayseed Dixie have formed a reputation for being an incredibly entertaining live band. Is there a process you have to follow to try and capture that energy when recording an album?
We can’t capture the same energy on an album that we (usually, depending on the audience) generate live. It simply isn’t possible. Going to a show is a different experience from listening to a studio album.
Do you have a particular favourite song to play live?
Not categorically. It depends on what mood I’m in that day.
You successfully invented a new genre, rockgrass, by combining rock music and bluegrass. Have you thought of creating any other genres by merging two styles that shouldn’t go together? Rap-metal, perhaps?
Rap-metal was basically already done in the late 1980’s by Public Enemy and Anthrax, among others . . . I’m not sure one can intentionally try to create a genre; we sort of did this by accident, just by playing around and having fun. I think to do anything like it again would require starting a brand new act from scratch.
We usually use this question to ask for an obscure musical recommendation or a new band for us to check out, but we’re aware that the team here at One For The Road have something else in common with Hayseed Dixie – a love of fine whisky, so we’ll mix it up a little. Which whisky should we be looking to sample next time we’re on a night out?
Knob Creek, if you can find it. Als Noah’s Mill is a fine Bourbon, but it’s cask strength so don’t feel shy about splashing a bit of water into it – that’s what the distillers intend.
Hollywood calls, they’re making Hayseed Dixie: The Movie. You’re in charge of casting. Who plays you?
Finally, is there anything else you’d like to add for anyone checking this interview out?
If you don’t know who we are, and you’re interested in finding out, just put “Hayseed Dixie” in a YouTube search and you’ll see way more than I would ever want to watch.