“I guess different songs start different ways. Sometimes you get a snippet of melody that comes into your head, or sometimes it’s a phrase. And sometimes songs seem to almost write themselves, which is of course the ideal way. It’s less effort, you know… You know, just coming up with a little chord idea and the song kind of fell into place. And that’s really nice.
On the other hand, I’ve had songs that took several years to complete. Because there’d be a chorus, maybe, an idea for a chorus, and then I’d return to it and try to write verses, and not be successful, and come back later. Luckily that doesn’t happen that often.
Sometimes it’s better to put it away if it’s that difficult. Writing on a deadline, that’s not always possible, but sometimes actually it’s that moment when you’re not thinking about it that suddenly the solution comes up. I feel like that happens in life too sometimes.
When I started, I had trouble describing what the genre of my music was, and somehow I would always get listed as ‘eclectic’—which is a funny description as a genre. Sometimes a good description, but it’s not actually in itself a genre.
I do feel like I have an eclectic influence in things, just as you go back in the catalog through the years. Some songs had more eastern European kind of vibe, or swamp pop. The first three albums I did were primarily using accordion as the songwriting-melody vehicle. With the piano I think it shifted things around a bit. More of a honky-tonk, blues kind of thing, you know?
[Defining genre] is a difficult thing to do, but I think it’s important to do. People want to know what it is you’re going to be playing. Lately I’ve been saying, just because it’s the easiest thing to say, ‘roots rock.’ It seems to cover a broad enough definition.
The first configuration of my band was just called ‘Schatzy,’ which formed basically with the core membership of Jeremy Lyons and the Deltabilly Boys, which is a band I played bass in. Now it’s a little different, everybody’s moved out of town and back over the years.
It’s good to have at least two guitarists, two drummers and also to be versatile in our group arrangement. Sometimes we might just wanna do a trio. Sometimes we might do a five-piece band.
I think my main goal is to keep on…to keep on improving, and growing as a musician and a songwriter, to keep on playing original music. And I guess we all hope that we’re always getting more popular as time goes on—at least not to get less popular!”