Auerbach taps veteran acts in Nashville for solo album
Posted June 12
Updated June 13
NEW YORK — The recording of Dan Auerbach's new solo album was so magical he wanted to film the process, which included him collaborating with some of the most veteran session musicians of all time.
But Auerbach also felt that he needed to keep his recipe safe.
"We filmed it, but I didn't like it. I mean, I don't like to give up my secret sauce. But at the same time, it felt so special, I wanted to document it," Auerbach said in a recent interview.
"Waiting On a Song" was recorded last summer in Auerbach's studio in Nashville, Tennessee, featuring musicians like Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Duane Eddy, 14-time Grammy winner Jerry Douglas and Johnny Cash's former bass player Dave Roe. The Black Keys leader and producer approached songwriting differently this time, adopting the normal style in Nashville.
He called the switch "life-changing."
"We got into this schedule where we'd write Monday through Wednesday, and we'd record Thursday through Saturday every week," he said. "It was really amazing. And I sort of haven't stopped. ... It's just something I'm planning on keeping a part of my diet."
In an interview with The Associated Press, Auerbach — a nine-time Grammy winner — discussed the making of his second solo album, which was released this month and includes musicians such as David "Fergie" Ferguson, John Prine, Bobby Wood and Gene Chrisman of the Memphis Boys, Pat McLaughlin, Kenny Malone and Russ Pahl.
Associated Press: Did you feel any pressure while working with those seasoned acts?
Auerbach: I think you kind of rise to the occasion or you don't get it done. ... Because we're all there to serve the song, that's what's most important, and that's kind of the common thread between all of us.
AP: How did being in Nashville shape the album?
Auerbach: (Nashville) supports the music business, whether you like the music or not, it's the music business there. So it affords a lot of musicians to live comfortably in Nashville and I get to benefit from that because all those guys are there and I get to tap into that energy and do some really creative recording at my studio with these guys who love it.
AP: You moved to Nashville from Ohio in 2010. Do you plan to stay for a while?
Auerbach: I don't ever wanna leave. They had a hard time getting me here (to New York).
AP: The album has an old-school soul and R&B feel, especially "Stand By My Girl."
Auerbach: I mean, Bobby Wood and Gene Chrisman who play on the record played on "Natural Woman" by Aretha (Franklin), "I'm in Love" by Wilson Pickett, "Son of a Preacher Man" by Dusty Springfield — some of the greatest soul records of all-time. That's the thing, it doesn't sound like it, it is it. Those guys are the sound of those records — it's them. It's hard to kind of sometimes wrap my head around it. Like, what you're hearing doesn't sound like a style, it is the root of the style, because the guys who invented it are playing it (on my album). It was kind of a trip when you're there having Duane Eddy play a guitar solo and it's like, 'Man, that sounds like (Duane Eddy). Oh man, it is Duane Eddy.' (Laughs.)
AP: It's just that most people don't know their names.
Auerbach: Of course, and that's always how it's been. In actuality when you look at most of the records that have been popular in the history of American music, it's really just a handful of musicians that made all those records. Motown/Stax, Wrecking Crew, Philly, there were just little camps that made all these records, and I'm just lucky to have a few of those guys in my stable now that work at the studio all the time and have become a part of my process.
AP: How are you balancing your bands the Black Keys and the Arcs, solo stuff and also producing for others?
Auerbach: ... I just work all the time. But it's easy because I like it. I have the studio down the street from my house. I have all these great people. It's a joy really. I love it. It's my hobby and my profession.