Gullywasher is an Americana and folk trio from Kansas City, MO, in the musical vein of Uncle Tupelo and early Wilco. Led by singer-songwriter Chris Hudson (who doubles as a music instructor at Kansas City Young Audiences), Gullywasher are about to release a brand new album, Holding the Dawning. Enjoy our interview with Hudson about the new music, his creative process and key influences.
You recently released a new album, Holding the Dawning. How did this album come together? What did you learn from the recording process that you’ll take to future projects?
The recording process has been something I've personally always lean towards about as much as writing and playing live shows. What was different about recording this album is we went into a real studio. Our first demo album was recorded in my project at Kansas City Young Audiences in 2018 and all of my personal solo albums have all been recorded in home project studios. So to have Duane Trower at Weights and Measures Soundlab take the helm on this project was a major advancement in the process, with real analogue outboard gear, great mics, preamps, huge and wonderful acoustic live room and isolation spaces. Duane's studio is just a magical place. I'm currently having Duane master my home recordings, which will be a new solo album coming out in the fall, made at home during this year of Covid isolation, which I've been doing over the internet collaborations with a bunch of local players.
In addition to your other musical projects (The Bard Owls and The Multiverse), you also work with kids at Kansas City Young Audiences as a teacher. How has teaching music to kids influenced your work?
Teaching is my other passion and teaching kids especially and teaching at KCYA where I've been teaching Garage Bands since 2004, has been a huge influence on how I run my adult band projects. Garage Bands have become over the years sort of another band I'm in. It's great seeing kids collaborate and create music together or kid get the bug to taking it to another level and forming their own bands after they been through my program or get into recording and writing songs. It has a really affect on me to keep learning and striving to not get in a rut -- always change but maintain my voice as an artist.
Describe your creative process. Does music come easy to you or are you a heavy editor of your work?
My process is the basic idea that I need to evolve and learn new things. Music and lyrics can be both hard and easy to wrangle into shape. I work on writing everyday in words. Lately I write then sing the lines acapella, then go to the guitar or piano to see what chords I'm singing over. I always try to have no specific genre I stick to as well, listening to everything and always making sure I record my ideas and then just keep shaping them. I'm not really a big editor but then I am -- its always a reflection of the moment I'm in.
When did you first start writing songs? Who were some of your earliest influences?
I started writing songs when I was young. I went to UMKC Conservatory of Music in the 90s, studied classical guitar and got a degree in it. So I had a really strong music theory background developed there. I was really in the poet William Blake and the Beats, listened to a lot bands like the Pixies, Fugazi, Sonic Youth, Nirvana. I was also into all of the old rock n roll bands from the 60s and 70s like Neil Young, Bob Dylan, George Harrison, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple for the guitar work.
What new music are you currently raving about?
Right now I'm really harking back to oldies like Gram Parsons, Townes Van Zandt, Television, Talking Heads, Radiohead, John Fahey, all the old blues guys and old-time music, pretty much anything.
Chris Hudson's recommendations:
Moby Dick by Herman Melville
The Portable Beat Reader
The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot
Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
Days in the Wake by Palace Brothers
Homegrown by Neil Young
GP by Gram Parsons
Red Headed Stranger by Willie Nelson
Blind Joe Death, Volume 1 by John Fahey
Five Leaves Left by Nick Drake
Early Takes Volume 1 by George Harrison
Led Zeppelin 3 by Led Zeppelin
Time the Revelator by Gillian Welch
Moon Shaped Pool by Radiohead
Tago Mago by Can
The Basement Tapes by Bob Dylan
Pizza Tapes by Garcia, Grisman, Rice
A Love Supreme by John Coltrane
Maiden Voyage by Herbert Hancock
Miles Smiles by Miles Davis
Live at the Village Vanguard by Bill Evans