Good People, Cool Things
Good People, Cool Things

Episode 38 · 1 year ago

The Worst Gig and Using Music for Good with Suzi Ragsdale


Musician Suzi Ragsdale talks about her new album Ghost Town, what it's like to record music during COVID, and why it's important to use music to lift people up.

Ewellgo to good people, pool things,the pokast spetion and conversations with entrepreneurs, writers musiciansand other creatives onmere host Sjoe held Anto days guest is Suzi Ragsdale,a musician whose album ghosttown just dropped earlier this month. So we'regoing to be talking all about that Suzie is enjoying some chips and Sultinand Margarita at one of her favorite Mexican places. Well, we are recordingthis and that's the truest way to enjoy life. I always get to have a marknearby we're also talking about how music can help people and bring lightinto their lives. The key elements you need to have a good song and the worstgig that Suzi has ever played lat to Getd Steff, all around Ho'd like tosupport good people. Col things head over it in the Merch Cha, good people,cool things, com, slash shop, buy yourself something comfortable andSpanish, or get a Mug to pour all of your perhaps Marguerita into orwhenever your drink of choice is works. Great for coffee, okscrate, forpretending, its coffee and Yo have something else aid you just do. You canalso always get in touch gpct pond cast on facebook, twitter and instogram. Fornow, the top on into the conversation with Suzie, definitely want to talk about your new album, which comesout it'll, already be out once this Pon castadrops, but as if now and we're talking it comesout tomorrow that correct goes down yeah, yeah yeah. I mean I've already got like abox of of EP CDs to send to my friends and stuff,but the official realy state is tomorrow very cool. Do you have a acelebration plan? Do you have like a typical album waunch day? I processthat you go through last time I released a couple of EPStogether, like two six song things for a twelve song package. I went all out.It was twenty ten I went all out. I got four string players and two horns andcouple of background singers and four piece band and myself on the keyboard,and there were more people on stage than in the audience. Actually, at the basement in Nashville, which islic the coolest place ever one of one of the cople's places ever andwe had like this huge party, El now,of course, everything's different. So I have planned at my house which is out here in thecountry. I've got six and a half acres. This sun tape was supposed to be my e Prelease party, slash bond fire and the teepee, but now Hurricane Delta, I think it's Dedalta is going tocome through, is going to hit ground in...

Louisiana and the Gulf coast tomorrowmorning froly and is going to e like cycle up and hit Nashville froddy Saturday Sunday. So it's goingto be so horribly rainy on my release party plan date that I think it's likeunwise to hold the party. So I've postponed itbecause everybody's scared, you know as they should be, and they want to wearmass and then want to be outside, and I don't want to ask twenty five or fortypeople to come into my house for a Party D and not be Um protected, like they would be theoutside, so I'm Luling the party to I think Friday. The sixteenth may beSunday, the eighteenth TNOT, not too much of a delay. You know, but it's just it's such adrag, that the whole world has changed so dramatically and sodrastically thot. We can't just carry on. We can't yeah. I think that's it's any musician. I've talked to, I think,has had to adapt in some way whether or notthey were releasing an album this year. You know they had concert, dates linedup and it was just I mean for lank of a better word. I say this probably everyepisode, but it required a pivot. Channelling rosts from friends had toPivit, and I think it's it's cool to see how people are are recovering fromallothatandhad. So many wonderful musicicians on this record that playedon it and some of them are like you know in their seventies and beyond anand they um aren't. They are t the best health. So even more careful, we areright around this or seniors man, I'm almost a senior, but for my father,who's in his eighties and Dan Dugmore who's had some issues with health andhe's like the greatest deal player in the world ever, but I want them all tobe able to come and and enjoy, and if it's a dangerous thing with virus contagion. Tu, then I'll justpostpone the party I'm having a really good otime online,like with you right now, just to be able to celebrate the music. We don'thave to all touch each other. It's okay! I hope it ends soon, but I would liketo touch somebody as on peat. So with the recording process, then youhave all these musicians on. Did you still get out to the studio together?was that kind of all done precoved or was it a lot of like them, recordingtheir parts from home and then kind of...

...sending it to you? And you will listento it that way and and then add on top of it? What was at was all that like it was a little bit of both becausethankfully I was able to get my producer Sam Frank. He came from. Hewas moving his family from New Zealand to England. Back to London, hooverswhole family is, and he wanted to stop over and produce this record with me.So he showed up in my hanhouse February fourteenth, which nobody knew aboutcobed. Then it was all fine. We were all fune and he stayed for five weeks in the middle of that all this covedstuff happened and he he got out to go back to hisdaughter and his wife on the very last light that Nashvall would allow toLondon an well at the time so yeah. So we got like befor PENDIMIC, those firsttwo or three weeks before we knew to be careful. The musicians all came to my house outin Kingson springs out in the country where you can't get a Wifi, but you canrecord music and they all came over like Tammy Rogers on the fiddle andAllisand presswot on the Bais amograph and everybody just came to my house andsat there and put their parts on kind of one at a time and then Um. We wentup to Dan Dugmore to his farm about an hour north and Um, my har my car anhour and got him to do all his parts and he's been kind of poor health little bit. So so he's not goinganywhere outside his house, but by the time we knew that it was dangerous toget together. Everyone was had done their parts. Nowwhen we made the video for Livun Til, you die, it was too dangerous, so I hadthem all sending thrlike videos themselves playing along to the recordthat they hav played on, and we put it together like a Zzoom thing and itworked really good its really worked out. Well, I don'tknow if you've seen of him but yeah. I think I think that's a cool wayto adapt to it and it's it's interesting. I even wrote an article onhow fun it is to just see inside of people's living rooms and backyards,and things like that D, when they're playing at homing, you really get likea sense of of personality that maybe doesn't come across in a a standard,music pitas. I think it's a real cool wayto adapt to what's going on yeah. I agree I think everybody has hasenjoyed watching inside your living room like who whoever's on t V, doingwhateverthing, music or just reporting the news or being on good morning.America Itwas, like here's. What I...

...chose to put in my background or it's like you, get to know, and people should be careful too wot.They show 'cause. I think there've been a couple of naked people walking aroundin the back. ICH shouldn't have been naked or like confidential documentsshown in the background where people canzom in and get social securitynumbers, and things like that. It's like, let's pay, let's be a little bitmore careful people. I just 'cause, you have yourself is a small fumb. Now thatdoesn't mean someone else can't blow up your screen and and see what's going on,so I yeah yeah, so I'm trying to try tostick to like minimal whitewall backgrounds. I think it's. It's alwaysa good way to go, even though some people might say it looks more boring,but that's fine as no tat go out at home. I do have aphotograph if I bought Elvis Cocello, but I bought in London back in thenineties and it's really cool he's like making a face it as Omas Castella. So you can seethat that's yeah. That sounds like a good, agood background to have for sure. So I I like to ask this: With musicianswhen they're releasing a new album, because, obviously all the songs arelike children and that you love all of them. But do you have a favorite fromthis ellow? What I thought about this because I'vebeen asked it Omet and also also there's only cynics on this epe. Soit's a short album and out of the sixth I've made three videos of songs. So when the videos are being made andI'm listening over and over again, that's my favorite song right, but I think after all of Saddn done and with input from my friends who arereally great son critics like intelligent people. I Trust I think myfavorite song is the ending the ending, which is a sixth and last song. I thinkit's got the most H, important message to deliver. They're all good they're.Also, you know O, I wouldn't have shown them to you, but I think the ending is yet, if ending on a high note I'd like itI'd like it. So it's always a good way to go sowe'll go from then the high of of your favorite song. I too probably a more negative time that Ithink these oltays make for the best stories. Do you remember your worst Gigthat you've ever played guest? I do it. May may not be the WORSTU, theworst one that I remember. There was a time back in the ninetieswhen Um me and Berlintomson Wereodo and- and I hadn't performed very often on abig stage and to me...

...twelth and porter in Nashville, was abig stage. They had these paper machine angels hanging on either side of thebig stage and and my heroes had always played there like pet, a Ollin andDavid Allyand Jong Hitt, and you know great riters,and I'm like my mistage, my God and I had just written this song. Ery attention was he sam and I wrote iton the piano and I knew how O to play it, but I was so nervous at being afalth and PTER plaingt hand. I totally fumbled the cord progression with myhand and instead of as I do now, carrying on and just covering up to where no one can fell. Iwent I quit. I quitand the whole crowd waslike Ohno and my my husband, Berlin was like Oh Susi,just start over, so I was like okay, I'm going to start this song over, andso I played it from it's only two minutes song anyway, but I started itover and succeeded and I got like a standingovasion so, but still that was the worse, the worst Waw, so fros Wun' do it nsure. You can just like feelphetension within the crowd too, but I'm glad you're persevered. That's agood, a good tale getting over the home th that every performer needs toremember is probably ninety. Five percent of theaudience is on your side. You know they love you they're there for you to dogood to entertain them, and they want you to believe well and do well andthey're going to forgive you and they're going to love you for yourmistakes and the other five percent should just go home. You know I mean people. People are usually good and loving and kind andsupportive, and so if you know that your stage Fri needs to go away alittle bit because everybody's on your side- and I think you can always try and playit off at least a little bit of f if you do mess up like. Maybe you play a couple of wrong notes or hit thewrong cord or something but just kind of play it off. It's like hey. You knowwhat I'm experimenting a Little Bit Li e. This is not th the typical soundthat you'd get from the album. This is a live show, so I'm going to mix it upa little bit and I K to playid off my fot and and that works so well when you'vegot some experience, but that day, back thirty years ago I was so fuckingscared. I was like no ASAT. My entire lineSoria said the F thing.

It's okay, I've heard I've heard worsethings. It's five, Oh, I thought if was theworstworst one, I mean if it's like just the word by itself,but I feel like I've heard other. You know like a string of of words andthings like that, but Hatma be a really funny. Word too, it's not necessarily abad thing. Exactly it all depends how you use it. What it actually means isis kind of a good thing. You know who doesn't want. You know to have sex atsome point whatever now. A question that I like to ask is aquestion that you wish. You were asked more frequently and you you mentioned that you Kindo, had sometrouble with this SOE, which I think is common for a lot of people 'cause. Youdo get asked similar questions like what comes first, the music or thelyrics. I been hearing that question for avowhy.Do People Care about that? A look inside the process? I guess Idon't know. I think I it can be interesting, but I agree it's probably maybe the most overasked question forany son ier a musician, but I did like what you were kind of leaning towardsof how I, how you can give your time and music to causes that you believe inand kind of use your plantform, your music for good, a d ould love to tohear your thoughts around that and if you can expand, I let alone well. Youknow I'm sitting oververhere in paradise in the country. With time on my hands, I can write songs. Ican h zoom with you. I can do things so. Whycouldn't someone ask me as a question hey? Would you come over here and playmusic or teach a song running class or or teach them children how to play thepiano or whatever? Why don't you o? I ask me to help you. I want to help, andthe last thing I did that I felt was really helpful. Ah Wasmy Dog mybl do tex was a therapy dogand I got to bring him to the hospital and and let him make peole happy. He was so good attbut. After that I don't feel like I'vereally been Um Generatoo, giving enough to this world. It needs so much so much.I would really like to see anyone cares to like. Have me justcome and play music with children or Seeng. To Idon't know what is anyone to want?...

I just would like to be more helpful and less soeffish yeah and I the therapy a dog with text coming in.I think that's it. It's such a seemingly simple thing, but, like I I mean I do know, I do know peoplewho don't like dogs, but generally, I think, just seeing a dog like brightensup your day so much and just how happy and loving they are, and it's Iactually a bilt tye yeah I was I I have two dogs and one ofthem. I leaps off the porch every time he goes outside to use the bathroom andit's just like the most carefree joyous thing in the world and I'm like I canwatch this all morning. This is great. I com come op back and then go back outand jump. It's that's a great town yeah. I think there's there's lots of good ways, and especially I would Iwould even argue more so now of of how something like music can brighten uppeople's Day, even if it is virtually even if you can't go and play you canstill play at home, share that with people and I mad them, make them morejoyful, so yeah. I would like for someone to ask me Yau question. Moreoften I would be like how can how can I help? You is my I question and their a questionwould be. Will you come in hellof us in this way or the other where you comeand sing play bring your dogs whatever? Can you possibly help us and I'd belike? Yes? If I were not, I have toneit yeah, fantastic and yeah. I think there are alot of people out there that want to and may not know how toask those questions. So that's that's good that you're willing to be as TATand hopefully a lot of other people are too 'cause again, like music can be sohelpful and- and you know, there's so manytimes- you've heard someone say like this song saved my life or like I wasfeeling so down. I listened to the son, no I' feeling better and I think that'sthat's a great, a great thing and a great gift that not everyone has yeah yeah. I I get messages on facebookand stuff like people who have ar telling me that they felt betterbecause they heard this or that Song of mine- and that's that's beautiful andwonderful, and I just I wanto ramp that up and GIV whatever I can get. You know for sure, and I I think that seasnicely into our top three, which I I'd love to hear your top three elementsthat make us on great honesty is number one, probably so, whether you'retelling your own story or...

...some some story that you've createdsome fantasy, some fictional thing or someone that you know to be honest, ND and how you rerlay it right and then Um and then to be really really simplesimplicity. To be so uncomplicated that it's like hey,ABC. Okay right, you don't need eighteen hundred worrs to say what youcould say in eightwords, so honesty and simplicity and clarity,just to be sure of what you mean to say, and it'snot just all about fun right, even like the most fun songs in the world likeshake it off, tailor swit brilliant. I think she's brilliant. Youknow, but I don't Wan that came to mind there are so many more renowned songs like let it be. Letit be. Let it be let it be whisper words of wisdom. Let it be right, youdon't need to say a lot of stuff to get. The point across is like, as I I've got a message and I'm goingto make it fun to hear, and I'm going to make it beautiful to hear and if youagree with it, you're going to listen to it. If you disagree with it, then go and listen to somebody else. For you know what I mean absolutelyabsolutely good deal well Susi. You are officiallyoff the hook. If people want to hear gost ton want to learn more about,you want to get in touch. Where can they find you well, there's Suzi Ranksdele dtcom and that's the main one where you cantotally get everything I've ever done, and I think that that most of it is onItunes to be downloaded and I'm prettyby sure it's onspotifying stuff, don't know I'm so old, I'm not technical at all, but you cantotally get me on www dot, suzy, rangsdale, not com, spelt esusia,Rasail, wonderful, well, Suzi! Thank you. So much for taking the town tochat is great. Itis fend to talk to you too. I mean we're going to hang ut butB. T hang on and talk to me after we hang up. So I can say a good good. BomO will do and of course, we always end with a Corny joke. So I've got a musicmusicaly themed one. This is probably not my favorite music one, but I can'tremember which ones I've told so I know I haven't told this. One middll see eflat and G walk into a bar. The bartender says: I'm sorry, we don'tserve minors here.

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