New Music: Lindsay Ell

If you’ve been to a Brad Paisley concert this year, you may have seen newcomer Lindsay Ell.  She’s been part of his Weekend Warrior Tour all summer.  Like Brad, Lindsay is what they call a “triple thread,” a singer/songwriter/guitarist.  This week, Lindsay releases her debut album The Project, and Country Countdown USA interviewed her about the album and being on the road with Paisley.

So I see you’ve survived being on the road with Brad Paisley: “Dude, I’m hanging in there with the prankster himself.  Touring with Brad Paisley has been incredible. He is one of the best guitar players in the world, so generous, its like a big family out there. It’s so inspiring for me to step on stage with true experts of their craft. You step into a different place as a player. You forget your fears and leave them outside the door. You play exactly what you’re feeling.  I don’t let my fears get to me. It’s pure adrenaline.

Also out there is Chase Bryant, so between you, Brad, and Chase there are a lot of guitars out there: “It’s been so much fun to be on the road with a bunch of guitar players. Sound checks turn into guitar nerd universe. We’re trying different amps and guitar peddles, so the fact that we speak the same language is a lot of fun. It’s also fun to be the only girl on that stage.  Chase has been respectful of that.”

Let’s talk about the record.  You worked with Kristian Bush, who folks remember from Sugarland.  He had a lot to do with the sound of their records.  Talk about working with him on your record: “He’s a genius.  He’s like a mad scientist. And he’s so sweet, such a good heart. But watching him work as a producer is life-changing for me. I’m a different guitar player, a different singer, and a different artist because of him. I call the album The Project because I feel like it’s been a science project making the album. Kristian’s made me do all these experiments along the way to help me find out who I am. He surrounded me with all the tools I needed so I could figure it out for myself.”  

This record doesn’t sound like any other record.  Explain: “Early on, when we were listening music, Kristian asked me what my favorite record was. I said Continuum by John Mayer. He said, ‘Go and record the whole thing yourself.  You have two weeks, play all the instruments, and do it by yourself. So I cleared my schedule, and recorded my favorite record. So after two weeks, I gave him my version of the record. I learned so much about the way John Mayer plays guitar, how I play guitar, and how I listen to a band in the studio. Doing that experiment taught me so much about how to approach recording. Instead of putting 20 instruments, I realized I liked five. Kristian just laughed and said, ‘Now it’s time to make your record.'”

You wrote most of the songs on this record, but there are two familiar names among the writers: Kelsea Ballerini and Carly Pearce: “Cutting outside songs was another thing outside my comfort zone.  I’m so happy I was able to spotlight some amazing female artists on this record, and through recording this record, be able to feature females I look up to.”

What will it mean to release this record? “I’m so excited. I feel I’ve been waiting for this day for 16 years, ever since I started playing music live, I’ve always wanted to officially release a record on a record label. I got to hold it for the first time the other day and it felt so surreal. I’ve watched friends of mine release records, it’s like built up this angst in me. So the fact that I finally get to release a record, I’m just so grateful.”

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