Friday, November 12, 2010

Adam Lee and the Dead Horse Sound Company on whiskey, women, and the beauty of lap steel

Posted by on Fri, Nov 12, 2010 at 10:51 AM

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Early on a Tuesday night, dressed like they just stepped off a plane from Marlboro Country, Adam Lee and Johnny Kenepaske, of Adam Lee and the Dead Horse Sound Company, stride into Chez Charlie's in midtown to discuss their second full-length release, When the Spirits Move Me. It's a honky-tonk-heavy album that celebrates whiskey, women and the beauty of lap steel.

The Pitch: Are all the songs about drinking?

Adam Lee: There's a lot. A lot. I would say at least half of them.

Johnny Kenepaske: More than half.

Lee: That wasn't intentional.

Kenepaske: We were just singin' about what we know.

Do you live the life you sing about?

Kenepaske: We've never shot any police officers.

Lee: For the most part, most of them are moderately autobiographical. There are a lot of barroom tunes and stuff. We do live in midtown, know what I mean?

When you wrote these songs, did you picture yourself performing them somewhere in particular?

Kenepaske: Maybe some place that has free drinks?

Lee: They are definitely juke-joint, roadhouse tunes. Or at least, that was what I was hoping for. We play a lot of dirty barrooms.

B-A-R-room or B-A-L-L-room?

Lee: Bar. I would love to play a dirty ballroom, though.

How do you feel the songwriting has evolved since the last album?

Lee: It's a lot more straight country, stylistically.

Kenepaske: On the first album, Ghostly Fires, we were still dabbling in the style. It was more like, here's a collection of songs. Let's put them on a disc. No filter. On this album, we went straight-out country. We demoed 20 to 30 songs and then narrowed it down to what we thought would work best to make it sound like a classic country record.

Do your lyrics match the tunes?

Lee: I think for most of the honky-tonk tunes they do. I consciously strived to do that. There's a level of depth to classic country music, but it's not super-deep. There's a universal quality to it, but I would say that it's deceptively simple. There's a real thin edge to get it to be simple but still have it be engaging.

The new CD drops on Saturday at Davey's Uptown, right?

Lee: Yes, and our buddies, the Blue Boot Heelers, are also doing a CD release at the same show. Johnny [Kenepaske] records their material.

Kenepaske: They are a little more outlaw-country.

Lee: It's gonna be a two-steppin' night, that's for sure.

Adam Lee and the Dead Horse Sound Company are releasing their second album at Davey's Uptown on Saturday, with the Blue Boot Heelers and Crybaby Ranch.

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