An Interview With Tupelo Lime

Q: Welcome! Can you introduce yourself to our readers?

A: Hi y’all. This is me, Gram Phillips Co-songwriter, lead singer, and acoustic guitarist for the country rock band Tupelo Lime. I am an American, a child of both the Deep South and the west coast, living in the UK since 2002. I spent many years traveling the wilted back roads of both the USA and Europe, did the whole hippy trail thing to the middle east back in the day, and am now firmly settled in a fairly remote part of the UK. I miss really good Mexican food :).

Q: How would you describe your sound to someone who’s not heard your music before?

A: Tupelo Lime has evolved from being a solo project of raw unfiltered acoustic stories into an alt-country rock band, imbibed with the feel and sound of the Los Angeles/ Laurel Canyon country-rock scene of the 70’s and 80’s. Marty Mahem, the lead guitarist brings with him the searing electric guitar of his rock background, Jamie Scott, the bass player who has the punk edge and Claire Hamburger our incredibly talented sax and keys player brings scents of folk and jazz. Somehow it all works together to create a sound that is both soft and edgy, reminiscent of bands like the Byrds/ CSN&Y/ Flying Burrito Brothers/ Grateful Dead, etc. all brought into a modern alt-country rock genre.

Q: You recently released your new EP ”Roanoke” can you tell us what is about?

A: Roanoke was written during the UK lockdown when it was nigh on impossible to work together. I wrote a lot of stuff in that lockdown period and came out with 5 songs that seemed to reflect the complex sounds of Appalachia and the Midwest, a mix of raw folk and country while also reflecting the mood of the times, So, this past winter Marty, Jamie and I got together and tore those songs apart and rebuilt them, gave them an alt-country edge. We did not want the drama of drums or other instrumentation to get in the way.. we are very proud of what we achieved in creating a unique soundscape.

Q: When did you realize that you wanted to become a musician?

A: I don’t think there was ever a “realization” it just happened over many years of traveling, of having friends who made music or made paintings or wrote stories, and of being a human being who luckily found a way to express himself.

Q: What inspires you the most to write your songs?

A: I have always tried to tell stories that represent the amazing mosaic that is the history of the United States. the America that tends to get forgotten, the veterans living on the streets, the ones who are lost, addicted, and afflicted, who know both love and pain.

Q: Who would be your ultimate dream collaboration with, and why?

A: There is a British blues singer- Alice Armstrong- who has the most amazing voice, with hints of Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Etta James, and Janis Joplin. Currently, she would be our number one collab…

Q: If there’s one song from your catalog that you wish everyone in the world could listen to, which one would it be?

A: From the current catalog it has to be Old Loop Road- a song of spirituality and loss and also of love and hope.

Q: What do you have planned for the year ahead?

A: Touring.. writing Touring writing.. it is what we do best….. we are planning a tour of Scandinavia this summer, back to Germany, and then Eastern Europe in the fall.

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