“The music you listen to comes out in your music,” Lindell says, speaking by phone from his Mandeville, La. home. “That’s what happens — all of us are music lovers and fans. I’m pretty much all over the map — I like a lot of different kinds of music. When I first started playing, there were bands like Fishbone that I liked for the fact that they never did one particular thing. Nowadays, music is so cross-pollinated.”
Opting to remain true to his sound instead of chasing trends, Lindell admits that the notoriety and appreciation for his music has slowly developed over a long period of time.
“It seems like roots music is getting out there a little bit. In my early 20s, we were kind of obscure — it was all about Pearl Jam and Nirvana. We were kind of a rarity. Nowadays, it seems like roots music is getting a fair shake out there,” he says.
On Thursday, July 30, Lindell will perform at Zydeco. Matt Mackey & The Still Guns will open the 9 p.m. show. Currently, Lindell is touring in support of Gulf Coast Highway, his latest release on Alligator Records. This disc includes cover versions of songs penned by McClinton, Buck Owens and Waylon Jennings/Willie Nelson, as well as original material that Lindell culled over a long period of time.
“It’s a mixture of both. There was some stuff I actually worked on at the studio and some were songs I re-recorded that were 10 to 12 years old. There were songs I’d done in the past that I thought could be done better and could be rearranged a little bit. On every record, it’s cool to revisit songs. Some were pounded out on the road and some were written a few days before we went into the studio,” Lindell says.
A 10-year resident of the New Orleans area — by way of California and New York — Lindell doesn’t take his fertile local music scene for granted.
“There’s so much playing going on. It’s a small musical community — it’s like one big band. Every night of the week I can get a call to play and I love it. There aren’t many places like that,” he says.
True to his old-school ways, Lindell doesn’t dabble in technology but appreciates its place in today’s music industry.
“I’m not good on the computer — I just do e-mails. I don’t even do [websites] Facebook and Myspace — I just have a website that’s real basic. But I think sites like Pandora Radio are good for helping people find music. Technology is a good thing for independent artists these days given the accessibility. It’s amazing that people sell all these records on Myspace,” he offers.
But while he enjoys the recording process and marvels at technology’s place in music, Lindell knows that the truest connection occurs when he’s on stage.
“You record a song and it kind of throws you off. I don’t do things the same way too much — I try to keep it fresh and change things around. After you record a song, it kind of messes with you as a player because it’s been documented and you hear it that way. It takes a while sometimes to get away from that recording because you can’t play it the same way every time. I’ll even improvise the lyrics — I know what I’m talking about, so I don’t have to tell it the same way every time.”
Songwriter Eric Lindell performs at Zydeco
on Thursday, July 30, with Matt Mackey
& The Still Guns opening. Admission is $10.
For tickets, call (205) 933-1032 or visit