I’ve been writing for a Hidden Track for a little over a year now, but it wasn’t until just last week that I finally had my William Miller moment. I had the opportunity to flex my journalism degree by interviewing ATO recording artist and former Better Than Noodling subject Ben Kweller.
The unbelievably likable and laid back singer-songwriter took some time last week to chat with Hidden Track from Omaha, NE – where he was kicking off his 17 city tour – about his new indie-twang-pop album Changing Horses…
Jeffrey Greenblatt: The title of the album is Changing Horses, it seems like it’s a nod to the new sound. Did you set out to make a country-inspired record?
Ben Kweller: I did. I came up with the album back in 2004, I came up with the album title and stuff and I wrote the song Hurtin’ You and that’s the one I was like “oh, I should make an album of songs like this called Changing Horses.” I’ve been working on the songs ever since and I just decided to record ’em.
JG: Did you grow up listening to a lot of country music?
BK: Oh yeah
JG: Who did you grow up listening to?
BK: Well you know in the beginning it was like everything that was on the radio like Garth Brooks and Alan Jackson and stuff like that. [I listened to] country, pop-country in the late ‘80s, early ‘90s and then I got into the older stuff when I got older, learned more about the roots of things, got into Johnny Cash and Hank. So sort of the same way with rock n’ roll you know like when Nirvana came out, and all those bands, all the grunge bands I was really into that stuff. And then you start to learn about the Velvet Underground and punk rock and the roots of it all.
READ ON for more of ATO recording artist Ben Kweller’s thoughts on producing albums, summer festivals and his son’s love of Guns N’ Roses…