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A Conversation with Robert Connely Farr



Robert Connely Farr grew up in Mississippi and now lives in Vancouver. He’s a 2019 Maple Blues Awards nominee for Songwriter & New Artist of the Year. His music is steeped in the blues but crosses over many different genres of music. Once you start listening to him, visions of the South flood your senses. He’s been inspired by Mississippi bluesman Jimmy "Duck" Holmes. Robert’s lyrics are deep and insightful. His newest album is entitled Country Supper.


Ken Wallis interviewed Robert Connely Farr for the radio show Blues Source Canada. The following are excerpts from that interview.



Ken Wallis

The album is called Country Supper…. and joining us to talk about it is Robert Connely Farr…Robert thanks for coming on the show.


Robert Connely Farr

Hey y'all…how's it going Ken? Good to see you…it's great talking to you.


Ken Wallis

I'm really excited about your new album Country Supper. Where did the title come from?


Robert Connely Farr

Oh man the title… I grew up in a little town called Bolton Mississippi and it's about halfway in between Jackson and Vicksburg as the crows fly. And if you ever get that way it's some damn good barbecue…it's Exit 21 on I-20 heading between Jackson and Dallas. It’s where Charlie Patton grew up and Walter Vincent and Sam Chatman. I was reading a book on Charlie Patton and it talked about the big parties he used to play back in the day…and he toured around and they called them country suppers. It was a big thing and it kind of started out as a kind of family and fun-filled affair in the early part of the day and it turned into something different in the evening. I kind of felt like that's kind of thing what the last few years was like…at least for me. So, I liked that term and I thought there was a bit of humor in it and it reminded me of home.


Ken Wallis

Every song has a story they say, and so does every album as far as I'm concerned and one thing that I really like about your album is there's 16 tracks on it and in this day and age a lot of musicians seem to be putting out eight tracks. You're telling quite a story… tell us what your feelings were about the album as you were putting it together.


Robert Connely Farr

Well, it was elusive…when we went into the studio…the first time we went in as a four-piece and we recorded ten or eleven songs. After that I'd been diagnosed with cancer and I had a surgery and recovered from that. And then me and the boys we had been down to The Bentonia Blues festival to play…my bass player and the drummer… they sat in with the likes of R.L. Boyce and Jimmy Duck Holmes for their sets and the energy there was electric.

So, when we came back we went right back into the studio laid down another 12 or 13 songs. Over the course of the album we had a lot of discussions and not all of us were in agreement on the length of the album. But I was looking at it from the perspective of…I don't know…I have another surgery coming up and I just needed to get it all out.


When I read about the country supper and what a big affair that was and how it started this way and ended up this way…I felt like the album kind of captured the essence of the last couple of years. My Dirty South Blues album was a fun album to make and I love working with Leroy Stagger and those guys that he had for his studio are amazing. But the hardest thing about that album was it wasn't the guys that I've been playing with for the last decade and so this album Country Supper that was another thing that we loved about it. It’s all of our guys and we're coming right off that Bentonia Blues Festival experience. There was a lot of uncertainty in the air and we just decided all of these songs they feel real good together.


The genre thing is something that when you get into the South it starts to lose itself...you start to get country that sounds like blues…it sounds like R&B…it sounds like hip hop…so i think all of that was a bit of what was brewing under the surface of Country Supper. We wanted to just put it all out there and really kind of embrace and kind of rejoice in the fact that so much of the music that comes from the South is so many different genres. Sometimes you hear Jimmy Duck Holmes…he's playing electric guitar and it doesn’t sound like acoustic country blues. And then sometimes you go hear R.L. Boyce and it's just acoustic guitar and that man singing on a front porch…you know it's really beautiful.


Ken Wallis

That's what I like about your album. You can't just put it in one drawer and say it's blues or it's something else…it crosses a lot of different genres and it's a nice mixture.


Robert Connely Farr

Well thank you. That's kind of what we were hoping for and I could tell you it was a big discussion about whether or not to release 16 songs as opposed to eight because the tempting thing was to just release eight and then have another album to release. But that to me didn't feel honest…it didn't feel right…it felt a little scary but it also didn't feel honest, so I'm glad we did what we did.


KenWallis

When you're creating your tunes, does it come quickly or is it a lot of hard work and effort to put everything together?


Robert Connely Farr

Well, it's a lot of hard work and effort to put the albums together but the songs are coming so quickly right now and they're so fun. I just released a song on my Bandcamp called Ain't Enough and it's a little Americana…this is a song about missing home and John Prine and my mama and my daddy. When you listen to that song the bed track of the acoustic guitar and the vocals that's the first time that i ever heard the song and that's what I love about the songs right now. It's coming so quickly so I just hit record start playing and there you go.


Ken Wallis

So, what brought you to Vancouver?


Robert Connely Farr

Well, I finished school in 2007. I studied architecture at Auburn University and spent a few years after I graduated working for a non-profit down south of Tuscaloosa…building an animal shelter and when we finished that project, I took a road trip up to Seattle to see a buddy of mine and just spend a few weeks there. I'd never heard of Vancouver and I took a little weekend road trip up here one weekend and fell in love with it. It's a beautiful city and there's a lot of music happening in the city.


KenWallis

I get out there. once year and thoroughly enjoy it. What got you interested in music in the first place?


Robert Connely Farr

I think growing up in Bolton…I grew up in the church…I grew up in a Methodist church and the choir and hymns and stuff were always a part of that. What I remember was when I was a kid my papa used to come out and pick us up in Bolton…he lived in Jackson…he’d take us out to the country where he grew up…every Sunday afternoon and we listened to Casey Kasem's top 40 country countdown. I can remember a song now that came on even if I hadn't heard it in 30 years.


Ken Wallis

I've talked to a lot of musicians lately and because of the virus a lot of people are hunkering down at home and I've had some actually positive statements from some musicians. They feel this time has given them a really good opportunity to be creative…to sit down and write tunes. Are you feeling the same?


Robert Connely Farr

Oh yeah definitely. That was the first thing that happened when this lockdown started. It kind of it gave me a chance at least to breathe a little bit and I got to release Gasoline which is a cd of B-sides…the kind of songs that we had just been sitting on from the studio or jam sessions that we really love. We released that and then my drummer and I we did a quick duo kind of heavy blues album called Live In EastVan and then we were able to finish up Country Supper. So, we got a good three albums out of 2020.


Ken Wallis

That's great. So where is the album Country Supper available?


Robert Connely Farr

Bandcamp…Robert Connely Farr…we stay really current on there and I'm always releasing stuff like videos and free downloads. We’re also on YouTube and you can go anywhere…iTunes…Amazon…all that kind of stuff, but hey if you need some my music just get to me at Robertconnelyfarr@gmail.com I'll put a CD in the mail for you. I'll sign it as well.


Ken Wallis

It is well worth having so I would encourage everybody to purchase it…I always say purchase rather than stream…it works a lot better for the musicians. Robert, I thank you so much for your time…it's been really great seeing you and talking with you and hopefully I'll get out to Vancouver someday soon and catch you live.


Robert Connely Farr

Well I hope we cross paths…I'd love that



Website: www.robertconnelyfarr.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/robertconnelyfarr

Twitter: twitter.com/missippilive

Instagram: www.instagram.com/robertconnelyfarr




 

 

 

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