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Published: 2014/05/19
by Glenn H Roth

Levi Lowrey’s Southern Legacy

Everyone says you have gift for being able to tell a story in a song story or express your feelings in a song. What do you attribute that to?

I grew up listening to guys like Mac McAnally and Kris Kristofferson and then when I discovered Darrell Scott it changed my life. We kind of imitate what we hear. I don’t think we have anything original to say. We just regurgitate what we hear and find a new way to say it. My songwriting is directly related to what I always listened to and grew up listening to.

What was it about Darrell Scott?

The first time I heard Darrell, I realized, I was no good at writing a song. He made me want to step it up and perfect my craft. I’m still working to perfect my craft and I don’t think I’ll ever do it – not at that level. I can put on a Darrell Scott record today and still feel inferior.

You also had some guests on the album: Oliver Wood of The Wood Brothers and Ross Holmes of The Noisemakers, What did they add to the studio sessions.

They just did what the song needed. When you call someone to join you in the studio, you want them to do what they do and not to conform to your ideas. They added what we had in mind, which was themselves.

Who’s in your band?

This band is Lawrence Nemenz on drums, Danny McAdams on electric guitar, Jon Daws on bass, and myself on acoustic, vocals and fiddle. And that’s how we tour.

How long have you been with these guys?

Lawrence is the newest addition to the band. Before him, I had a drummer named Daniel McGill for a long time, but this group of guys have been together for eight years.

How did you all meet?

Danny is my uncle. I’ve been playing with him since I was 12 years old. I’ve been playing on and off with Jon for years. He was in an old rock band that I had in high school. I met Lawrence on tour with Joshua James & HoneyHoney. He was playing drums for Joshua and it worked out where we could bring him up.

What kind of fiddle do you play and what kind of guitar do you play?

My guitar is custom made which I built with a friend of mine Blaine Mullinax. He runs a company called Mullinax Pickups in Lawrenceville, Ga. We got together and built an acoustic guitar and it turned out really well. The fiddle is a 1940 Gibson that Clay found for me. He helped him get my hands on that one because I was playing a Zenith and he said to be respectable musician, I had to have a real violin. Before old that I had 200-year-old Sherman but I had a lot of stuff stolen, so Clay helped me out and got me that 1940 Gibson.

Is there anything special about the 1940 Gibson?

The weird thing about it is that Gibson made terrible violins but this one sounds amazing.

Your great great, great grandfather is Gid Tanner from the Skillet Lickers. Did you hear a lot of stories about him growing up?

I did, once I picked up the fiddle. I spent every night at the Chicken House, which was an old chicken house that Gid converted into a jam room and a hangout spot. And they still do it today in Dacula, Ga. I would ask and it would always come up in conversation. Gid’s son Gordon carried on the tradition and then Gordon’s son Phil, who I studied under a lot.

What’s next for Levi and the band?

We’ll see. Not sure yet. It’s all up in the air at the moment. The plan is obviously to play as much as we can.

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