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A Conversation With Erin McCallum



Erin McCallum’s slogan is Big Voice, Big Sound. And when she belts it out you know you’re hearing something special. Among her accomplishments, she’s been accredited with an International Songwriting Award for her release, "Complicated Woman" and has 2 Maple Blues Awards nominations (Female Vocalist of the year and Artist/Group of the Year).



Ken Wallis interviewed Erin McCallum for the radio show Blues Source Canada. The following excerpts were taken from that interview.




Ken Wallis

Live music is coming back and bands are getting on the stage and they're starting to record new music and to check it all out we're talking to Erin McCallum. Erin thanks for coming on the show.


Erin McCallum

Hi Ken thanks for having me.


Ken Wallis

Well, I understand you're in the works of writing some material and potentially starting to record a new album.


Erin McCallum

The new album material has been in the works for some time…you know a writer's always writing but the exciting news is the songs are getting filtered down and they're shortlisted and yes there are plans to go full steam ahead with an album.


Ken Wallis

And I understand you have a new bandmate.


Erin McCallum

I do I do…it's an easy thing to talk about Teddy Leonard… guitar player extraordinaire has joined the Erin McCallum Band. He's the number one guy…he is so well known throughout the industry. He's a fantastic guitarist.


Ken Wallis

For those people that don't really know that much about Teddy, can you fill us in a little bit on his background.


Erin McCallum

Teddy's been playing longer than I’ve been alive. He’s got 40 plus years in this business as an actively working blues guitarist and I became a fan of his when I was just maybe a teenager and by then he had already done all kinds of stuff. He's backed Hubert Sumlin …he's opened for B.B. King. He's probably best known for his work in the band Fathead with John May singing…he worked along Morgan Davis…he was a full member of the Kendall Wall Band back when Gary and the band were really nurturing the live music scene in Toronto. The list is endless.


Ken Wallis

So, when was the first time you saw Teddy Leonard perform?


Erin McCallum

The first time I saw Teddy perform was actually before I was on the blues scene as an artist. I was maybe 18 years old, and I was working as a bartender in my hometown and working my way through college like all the bartenders do and there was a little place called The Mill Pond Centre. It was maybe just a few steps from where I worked and I popped in there one night and I took note of his guitar playing and I’ve been a fan ever since.


Ken Wallis

He is so well known for performing with multiple musicians and I understand not only is he a guitarist but he plays other instruments as well.


Erin McCallum

Yeah Teddy is a multi-instrumentalist and another thing to know as well is he is also a really good producer. If you read some of the liner notes in some of Fathead’s albums, he gets full credit. He also got a special mention in John May's solo album as well…he's got an ear and skill.


Ken Wallis

And he's also a member of The Maple Blues Revue band and they are gonna be recording an album I understand.


Erin McCallum

As far as I know they are planning on getting into the studio and on top of that they're actively performing as well. I believe the last thing that The Maple Blues Band did was at The Calgary International Bluesfest at the beginning of August and I’ll tell you that was a heck of a lineup and I believe they headlined.


Ken Wallis

And he's won a ton of awards…he must have an addition on his house to hold all that stuff. Tell us a little bit about that. I know he's won several awards with Fathead.


Erin McCallum

Plenty including a Juno but here's the part I love. Most people work their entire career and when they're successful, one of the greatest things you can receive is a lifetime achievement award… it's elusive and you have to be pretty special. Teddy Leonard has two of those and I love him for that. He's got Independent Music Awards, Maple Blues Awards, a Juno…yeah it goes on there's so many to list.


Ken Wallis

So how is the Erin McCallum Band gonna change with Teddy being on the scene?


Erin McCallum

The reason why Teddy Leonard was my first and only call…you can put together a dream team...his stylings on the guitar just offer a whole new dimension to what we can do so right now. We're operating as a trio and I’ve picked up the responsibilities on the bass and Joe Pace, after 16 years he's serving as the drummer. Bringing in Teddy opens up a fantastic amount of opportunity because he has a depth to his playing…he's got a good ear and a fantastic capacity where he knows what to play and when. It's pretty limitless and because he has that kind of an ear and that kind of experience as a producer, I am happy to say that when the time comes to go into the studio we will be co-producing that album together.


Ken Wallis

How are you guys developing the music? Are you doing all of the lyrics or is he involved with the writing as well as the producing?


Erin McCallum

Well I’m definitely the lyric person… Teddy in this project I know he can elevate it…he's done it with other projects…he hears things in a different capacity than I do as a songwriter so I like to think we both have good ears…they're just very different and so when it comes to hearing a new arrangement or a new groove or a new idea I think Teddy's a great asset in that kind of realm.


Ken Wallis

How did you come to choose him?


Erin McCallum

So back about five or six years ago the Erin McCallum Band was asked to play at Blues Summit Seven with the Toronto Blue Society but our guitar player Brian Harrison was in Arizona so we needed somebody and of course being a fan and knowing that Teddy's super capable I called him and asked if he could just step on in for The Summit Showcase and he did. It was kind of always in my mind at that point that if there would ever be a time that I would be looking to have somebody joining us…like I say it’s dream team…I got lucky.


Ken Wallis

I bet everyone out there is going to be quite anxious to hear the new album and to see you guys perform and it's fantastic news that Teddy's joining you.


Erin McCallum

I think that people who come out to shows and certainly people who will hear the new music, they'll see that the music will reflect this pairing…this group Joe. myself, and Teddy, I think we all work together really well and you get that level of talent and it's really inspiring.


Ken Wallis

Erin thank you so much for coming on the show and it's been great seeing you and talking with you again and we're looking forward to hearing the new music.


Erin McCallum

Thanks Ken...it's always a pleasure and we're looking forward to sharing it with everybody soon.




Website: www.erinmccallum.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/erinmccallummusic

Twitter: twitter.com/Erins_Corner