Podcast Transcript

Speaker 1: Taking a Walk.

John Oates: I think it’s pretty timeless. So some of those songs are have that already, you know, withstood the test of generations. Great songs endure. I’m very proud and happy to know that I was part of something that will endure, and you know, which is fabulous, and you know, it’s a blessing. It’s something that most musicians and songwriters would hope that they would have won much less than you know, multiple songs that fit that description.

Speaker 1: Welcome to the Takin a Walk podcast Music History on Foot, the podcast where your host Buzz Knight talks with musicians and gets their inside stories behind the music. On this episode, Buzz is joined by John Oates, co creator of the iconic pop rock duo Hall and Oates. John was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in two thousand and four and into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Hall and Oates in twenty fourteen. He recorded his first single in nineteen sixty six and continues recording to this day, and on this episode he’ll discuss as many influences and his new release called Reunion. Buzz Knight host the legendary John Oates on Takin a Walk.

Buzz: Well, John, Oates.

Buzz: It is a terrific honor to have you on this virtual edition of Takin a Walk.

Buzz: We’re going to take a walk down memory Lane a bit.

John Oates: We’re going to talk.

Buzz: About your new project, Reunion. But I’m grateful to have you on.

John Oates: Thanks, Thanks, nice to be here.

Buzz: So Reunion is the new project. The singles out.

Buzz: The album is coming out on May seventeenth.

John Oates: We want to get into.

Buzz: A lot about that project, but can you just talk about how the creative process worked for you for this new Reunion project and any differences in the creative project to the way you’ve done it in the past.

John Oates: Well, this, this particular project, I think is in a sense a culmination of my Nashville experience moving here, being embraced and participating in a lot of the Americana music you know, communities, not only in terms of musical relationship, but friendships and all sorts of things like that. So in a way, I think this record really kind of crystallizes all those things. There’s many many of my amazing musicians who have become my good friends over the years, who we’ve recorded and toured together with, you know, people like Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Bela Fleck, Jim Lauderdale, you know, some great amazing also players like Guthrie Trapped, Tom Bukavac. So it’s really chock full of this kind of all star cast, Sierra Hall on mandolin, just more recently, Russ Paul, you know, people like that. I could go on and on, but it’s really and a lot of I think what makes this record unique too is there’s songs on this record that are that were written a long long time ago, some some as early as the early nineties and on up to songs that I knew that someday would see the light of day, but I didn’t have a project that they seemed to fit. And finally I had this body of work that seemed to embrace some of these other songs that have just been sitting around in the in the archives. So really it’s it’s I think in a way, it’s a little bit of a retrospective on my on my singer songwriter side, on my folk acoustic side, all of which are very important in my in my background, in my musical DNA.

Buzz: And back here you can’t quite see it, but there’s a photo of the great John Prine back there from an album cover, and you do an absolutely beautiful, beautiful rendition of the song long Monday. Congratulations on that. Tell me about what John Prime that song and his music means to you, Well, I.

John Oates: Think there’s a you know, probably you know, a fact, a hidden unknown fact that John was doing, if not his first album, one of his first albums at Atlantic Records Atlantic Recording Studios in New York City in the early seventies with the producer Aarif Martin, at the exact same time that Darryl and I were doing our first albums in the same studio with the same producer. So there’s a lot of a lot of synergy there in terms of, you know, we’d be passing each other in the hallways as you know, him going to his session or coming out and vice versa. So you know, even though I wasn’t super close with John in the later years, we did play together once or twice, just casually. And I’ve just been a huge fan, you know, one of the great American songwriters. And and I was asked to celebrate to his birthday at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville a few months ago. They asked me if I would participate, and I said, of course, And you know, I picked long Monday, and then I thought about it, you know, and I thought, well, here’s a challenge, you know, because I have a great respect for songwriters, so I wouldn’t want to mess with the beauty of his lyrics and his melody for that matter. So I thought, well, the only way I can make this my own is by in terms of the arrangement. So I dug into the arrangement and I tried to make the arrangement a little bit more personal and a little bit more comfortable for me. And then when I played it live on stage, everyone seemed to really like it. Then I said, well, I guess I should record it, so I did, and of course I included it on the album.

Buzz: It really is beautiful.

John Oates: Thanks. Yeah.

Buzz: Tell me about collaborating with Aj Croce

John Oates: Well, it’s a perfect segue because I met Aj Croce at that exact John Prine event at the Ryman Auditorium. We were put into the same we were assigned the same dressing room, and of course I knew I knew of him, but we had never met, and we hit it off immediately. He’s just got a very very He’s a really warm, engaging guy, and and I could tell from immediately that there was there was something going on. We had a reel, you know, it was very compatible, and I could just sense that we could do something together. I didn’t know what that was going to be, but we did talk about, you know, getting together to write. And when we did, I had this idea for a reunion. I had the concept. I had the part of the chorus, and I had a key line the lights at the party burned bright, but I’m leaving early tonight, and to me that that kind of symbolizes the spirit of the whole song. We talked about it. I told him about my hundred year old father who gave me the inspiration for this song. We start discussing, you know, what it’s like to really find the essence of yourself, and of course he related I think in a lot of ways due to the fact that his father there was such a famous and well known songwriter and he was in the midst of doing a tour Croce Sings Croce, there was a lot going on that really we were both able to relate to the idea of the song in our own personal way, and it really it was beautiful. It flowed really quickly. I think we wrote the song in a few hours.

Buzz: Had you encountered his father through your career.

John Oates: No, not personally, no, but of course I was a fan. What a legacy, right, my god?

Buzz: Yeah, I think really in a way it’s sad, but many times people’s legacy is more appreciated after they pass away, and it feels like that was the case with his father.

John Oates: Well, you know, I think he was also appreciated, you know, in his own time this you know, he had big hits. He had big hits with a very kind of acoustic, folky kind of recording style and which was unusual for the time, which was great. It made him stand out for sure.

Buzz: So put you on the spot here and ask you maybe five quintessential albums that have really mattered to you and had an influence on you.

John Oates: Well, I don’t know where to begin, Okay, sure, I would say, you know, going back. The first, the first long playing album LP that I ever heard, other than early rock and roll single forty five’s was Ray Charles Ray Charles’s Greatest Hits. And I did not have a long playing record player at home. I only had a little forty five recording record player. And this was probably late fifties and I remember a friend of mine’s parents had a console record player and they had this Rach Charles record and I just absorbed it. You know, it had what I say, and it had you know, you know, all some of his early classics, and it was just it just grabbed me immediately. So I would definitely say Ray Charles was a huge influence on me. And then you know, when the folk movement, the folk revival hit in the early sixties, I was exposed to music that I had never heard from, never heard before, roots music that was being rediscovered and spread around the college campuses in the early sixties. So I would say Dave Van Ronk, who was a big, big influence on me because I loved his voice. It was so gritty and he had this powerful personality. Also, the first Doc Watson record on Vanguard was a real touchsdowne for me because it was the first time I heard virtuosic acoustic guitar playing. So I absorbed that record. I try to learn, as you know, eventually over the years I learned all the songs on the record, but you know, that was a challenge and a real inspiration for me. And then you know, you know, there’s so many more, the Temptations. They had a particular live Albu that was incredible that they recorded at a club somewhere, which was amazing. And then of course the classic James Brown Live at the Apollo, which was probably the most kinetic and exciting recording that I had ever heard. The tempos were all jacked up. It was a it’s just James Brown at his best at the Apollo Theater. And then moving on later on in the sixties, you know, the band. The band was a big influence on me and I, you know, and I just thought that it was music that I had never heard before. It was a style of music, but I understood the roots of it, I understood where the influences were. But their unique take on it and their unique well not only the songwriting but they’re playing and singing was so unique. There was no one that ever sounded like them, So that was highly influential to me. And then the record that I consider the classic of all time is Blue by Joni Mitchell. I think that’s the perfect album. I think every on every level, there’s nothing I’ve never heard anything bettering her playing, the production, the engineering, the songs themselves, even down to the album cover. It’s the perfect the perfect combination of sensitivity, sensibility, music, lyrics, creativity, all all wrapped into one perfect album.

Buzz: Brilliant list, Brilliant list.

Buzz: How did you feel watching Jonie at that Newport Folk Festival event?

Buzz: Wasn’t it beautiful?

John Oates: You mean most recently? Yes, yeah, well, you know, congrats to her, kudos to her. I’m really you know, I’m just glad that she she left her house and decided to make that step. You know, a very good friend of mine who was my guitar tech during the eighties and also who’s current currently the guitar tech for the Edge and you two, he was asked to go to her house and help her with her acoustic guitars and help her kind of of prepare for that show. So he gave me a lot of inside scoop on what she was like and the and the you know, I’m sure the the you know, she was concerned and I’m sure she had a lot of trepidation about what she was going to do and how she was going to do it. As you age, you have certain limitations to you to your skill set, whether that be vocally or instrumentally. And I think, you know, she was concerned, but she had an amazing group of people to support her, and it was great to see her honored and appreciated by a newer generation.

Buzz: Yeah, it was a magical moment for sure. Speaking of magical moments, first concert that you experienced as a fan, what was it?

John Oates: When I was four years old it was Bill Haley in the Comments. I saw them play at Willo Grove Amusement Park in Pennsylvania in a bandshell, and I had just my family had just moved us from New York City to Pennsylvania, and it was one of my first memories of Pennsylvania to go to the amusement park and hear this band. I had never heard live music before. Well, of course I was four years old, four or five, maybe four and a half, and I remember running down to the bandshell, down to the stage, and the stage was probably only, you know, two feet high, so I was even as a little kid, I was able to stand there. And I remember standing right in front of the upright bass player and then went at a certain point in the show, which was a kind of a rockabilly tradition, which of course I didn’t know at the time. You know, he put it on its side and rode it like a horse while he was playing. And of course to a four year old, that was big. That was that was that was the the apage of a show business there right there?

Buzz: Did that cement you for life that you’d be a musician.

John Oates: I was already a musician, believe it or not. I have recordings of me at four years old singing songs that we did at the Coney Island Amusement Park in the little booth, in the record booth where you put a coin in and you’d go in and sing. So for some reason, I just had this ability to sing. And my parents, my mother in particular, was you know, she really pushed me and supported me about that.

Buzz: So do those recordings still exist?

John Oates: I got them? Yep. Wow, that’s amazing. First one, the first one was here comes Peter Cottontail when I was about three or four, and then the second one was later a few years later. It was all shook up by Elvis tremendous.

Buzz: Who were some of the mentors in your career that have really mattered to you, well a few.

John Oates: I had an English teacher in seventh grade who gave us an assignment to write a poem and It was at the time of the Cuban missile crisis, and I was kind of aware of the kind of the early days of the protest song movement with phil Oaks, people like that Bob Dylan Phillips. So I wrote this poem about the Cuban missile crisis. And the teacher knew that I played guitar and said, you know, you should put this to music. And I never I had never thought of the idea that I could write a song, and that was kind of an you know, that was an incentive to try it. So I would have to count that English teacher as an early mentor. But my real mentor was a guy named Jerry Rix, who I met in Philadelphia in nineteen sixty seven. He or sixty six. I can’t e spride sixty six. I had my first year of college. I was I needed a job. I needed a part time job. Of course, I’m too lazy to work. So I went to a place called esther Halpern’s Folk Music School in Philadelphia and I applied for a job as a guitar teacher, and she auditioned me and I played her a few things and she said, okay, you’ll be you’ll be good to teach like the beginners in the intermediates. And I said, okay, fine, I just needed a job. The guy who was teaching the advanced lessons was a guy named Jerry Rix, and he he was unbelievable, and he also had been involved with helping a guy named Dick Waterman. Dick Waterman was the manager to a lot of the early blues men, people like Sunhouse, Sonny Terry, Brownie McGee, Robert Pete Williams, Mississippi, John Hurt, Doc Watson, people like that kind of helping them because when a lot of these these performers, rural performers came to the big cities and were performing for the first time at these folk festivals and things, they had no clue what to do. They had no money, they couldn’t stay in a hotel, so they would stay at Jerry’s house because Jerry lived right across the street from Dick Waterman. And a little fun fact sidebar, Bonnie Raitt was Dick Waterman’s girlfriend. So if anyone ever wonders why Bonnie Raitt is so good and why she’s so authentic, it’s because she sat in the living room with some of these great authentic performers and learned directly from them. But anyway, and actually one day Bonnie and I had to drag Robert Pete Williams out of a bar in South Philly and bring him back because no one could find him. These guys didn’t know it. They did tend to like to drink. But anyway, Jerry became my Initially, when I realized how good he was, I asked him if he could teach me some things. So I became his guitar student, and eventually we played together. In fact, Jerry is playing Jerry Rix is playing on the first two Hall and Oates albums with me on acoustic guitar on some of their songs. And interestingly enough, here’s another sidebar. After Mississippi John Hurt died hit, his guitar that he played at Newport Folk Festival in sixty three was given to Jerry. And when I asked Jerry to come to New York in the early seventies and play on the whole of Notes albums, he asked me, he said, do you want me to bring Mississippi John’s guitar so you can play it? And I said absolutely, So the guitar I’m playing on the first two Whole Notes albums is Mississippi John Hurts acoustic guitar, which I now own, by the way, Wow, I know it’s crazy, and it’s on display at the Phoenix Musical Instrument Museum as we speak, and I’m playing there as well in a week or so. But so, Jerry was incredible, and not only you know, he became a good friend, a teacher, a mentor, and I really learned so much from him, not only about actually how to play some of these songs and how to authentically finger the finger picking in the styles, but also just some basic just basic learning about musicianship and listening and a more sophisticated way of of of he may be a more sophisticated musician in a way. So so I would say they’re they’re my real mentors.

Speaker 1: We’ll be right back with more of the Taking a Walk Podcast. Welcome back to the Taking a Walk Podcast.

Buzz: Well, throughout your career, you’ve always had an eye on, you know, rising talent and how to help them and work with them. We had one of those talents on this podcast named Honorly, who was a delightful person for us to encounter and very talented tell us about how that collaboration came about with honorly.

John Oates: Well, she’s my niece, all right, she said, yes, she’s my wife’s brother’s daughter. And she was always a very you know, I watched her grow up from the time she was a baby. Uh, and she’s always very outgoing. She had always had a real big personality. And she began to sing. And I when I first heard her sing, you know, I knew that she could really sing. And I remember she came. She came to Nashville quite a while ago when she was just out, maybe in high school or just in college, and she really wanted to come to Nashville, and she said she wanted to make it and all this stuff. And I remember we went to a restaurant with her parents and we were sitting there and I said to her, look, I said, you see all these waitresses. They’re all trying to do exactly what you’re trying to do. I said, so, if you’re going to come here, you better be prepared because the bar is set very high and it is not easy. And I thought maybe she would get scared off or maybe just lose the vibe. But she came and she worked her butt off she went down on Lower Broadways, she sang in the bars, she did all the cover songs. She really really worked hard. I didn’t help her very much, to be honest with you, but I did help her when she needed it, and we wrote a song together. I put her with the great Nathan Chapman who produced Taylor Swift, and Nathan myself and Anna Lee. We wrote a song together, and I think that was the first time she got a chance to write with professional songwriters. And we wrote a really cool song called Hey There Walls, which I believe she recorded. So I mean, I didn’t, you know, I just I’ve always there for her, but didn’t really want to be, you know, like kind of pushy. And it was really her career, and I just I’m so proud of her for really doing it herself and really finding her way. She’s making some new music now out in California. She’s found some producers who she’s working with, and she runs things by me. I give her my two cents, but she knows what she’s doing and she’s amazing.

Buzz: Is a good soul.

Buzz: Good tell yeah, good, tell tell me about the Nashville community. You’ve been there a while and it is a unique and I think special community. Talk about what it means being part of that community in the way that you are.

John Oates: Well in the nineties, when Daryl and I weren’t doing very much, I started going to Nashville and meeting some people. I did a few demo sessions and things like that, and immediately the first thing that struck me was the caliber and quality of the players, the musicians. I realized that they were really, really good. And you know, I had spent my whole basically my own you know, I was in bands and playing playing by myself prior to meeting Daryl. But once Darryl and I started, you know, it was all Hall and Oates all the time, twenty four to seven for you know, for fifteen twenty years whatever. So I was used to playing with a certain in a certain style, with a certain band, with a certain ensemble. So all of a sudden, I was playing with different people in different settings, and I was really impressed. And I also realized that that I couldn’t kind of kind of skate and kind of I couldn’t make it on my reputation. I really had to up my game. So to be honest with you, I started practicing really hard. You know, in the late nineties early two thousands, I realized that I needed to really up my game and if I wanted to be in that caliber player. So it’s really been an incredible incentive to me to get better and to really realize my full potential.

Buzz: You know, there’s a couple of historic moments in your career that I wanted to get your memory of Live Aid and the We Are the World sessions, those two in particular. Any reflections you could share with us about those two historic events.

John Oates: I don’t think you have enough time, But Okay, where you want to start with Live AID, I guess we can start there. Yeah, well, you know, the American version was going to be in Philadelphia, of course, Darren I being from Philadelphia and being of course at almost you know, at the top of our commercial you know, we were at the top of the pop pyramid at the time, so we were we were asked to basically close the show, and we wanted to do something really special and something you know, above and beyond. We had just played the Apollo Theater with Eddie Kendrick and David Ruffin who were the lead singers and the Temptations, and we did a Temptations, you know, kind of retrospective of songs metally and it was great. So we thought, well, why not bring Eddie and David and we’ll do some Temptations songs in addition to our own set, of course, and then Mick Jagger reached out and he was doing a solo album at the time and he didn’t have a band, so he asked if our band were backing, So of course, you know, we said, yeah, of course. And I remember, you know, one anecdote it’s really amazing to me, is we were rehearsing at SIR, which was studio instrument rentals in New York City, so you know where they have a sound stage and you could rehearse and all that. And we had rehearsed the songs that Mick wanted to play, and so we knew the songs. We had learned them, and then Mick was going to come in and just go over them with us. And I thought, you know, well, he’ll just come in and you know, we’ll go through the motions and we’ll play the songs and he’ll say yes or no or change whatever. But what I didn’t expect was for him to literally jump on stage grab the mic and count the song off and go into his full Mick Jagger routine in rehearsal with nobody in the room except us. I mean, I’m talking about the full thing, the chicken wings, you know, the jumping around doing He did it as if he was playing you know, Madison Square Garden. It was unbelievable and you know, and it was incredible and it was exciting and I immediately said, okay, well, this is why this guy is who he is. And then of course he didn’t tell us. We didn’t know that he was going to bring Tina Turner out on stage. That was a surprise, and literally he didn’t we didn’t know. And when he brought her out on stage, and then of course he ripped her leather skirt off, which was kind of cool too. I guess they had it all planned, but you know, but it just made it so exciting because it was like it was happening all, you know, for the first time. So that was that. That was an amazing night and I believe that was the biggest rock concert to ever be a simulcast around the world, you know, at the time. And then you know, on We Are the World. That was That was scheduled to be done after the American Music Awards, and back in those days, you know, there was really only the American Music Awards and the Grammys, so everybody who was anybody in pop was pretty much at that show. And they carted us all over to the studio and put us, you know, on those things. And there I was standing next to Bob Dylan and Ray Charles, to my heroes. So I thought, hey, this is pretty good, pretty good spot to be uh and yeah. And then I went around and got everyone to sign my manuscript, my music, the music, the lead sheet, the sheet music which they handed us. I got everyone to sign it, and I have that frame now, So it’s a it’s a definitely one of my prize possessions. Love it.

Buzz: How do you think the musical Hall and Notes will be viewed for years to come?

John Oates: I think I think it would be.

Buzz: Uh.

John Oates: I think it’s pretty timeless. So some of those songs are have that already, you know, withstood the test of generations, so I don’t see that they’re going to go away. Great songs endure, and I’m very proud and happy to know that I was part of something that will endure. Uh and uh you know, which is is fabulous and you know it’s a it’s a blessing. It’s something that people, you know, people would you know, most musicians and songwriters would hope that they would have one much less than you know, multiple songs that fit that description. So I’m proud of it. At the same time, I’ve I feel like, I think those songs should be respected and heard in the in the context of the records that were made in the seventies and eighties, and I really don’t feel like I’ve moved beyond it now. I’d rather hear those songs the way they should sound, as opposed to kind of, you know, a live reproduction of them. At this point in my life, I’ve kind of moved away from that.

Buzz: You moved to Colorado to just sort of change the pace of your life a bit and sort of go into a different mode.

Buzz: And as part of that move.

Buzz: I think you did encounter the great Hunter Thompson while you were out there. Can you share anything about an experience with Hunter?

John Oates: Many many, some of which I can’t tell you, but well, you know, I have been going to Colorado since the late sixties when I was in college, and I finally finally moved there. In the late eighties nearly nineties, I met my future wife and we were looking for a place to live. She found a little piece of land in place called Woody Creek outside of Aspen, Colorado, and it was like a little little farm, a little ranch. And I remember the first time we went to see it with the real estate agent. We’re standing there on this kind of there was only a horse barn and a little log cabin, and we’re standing there and all of a sudden we heard, you know, boom boom, and then we heard shotgun pellets all on the metal roof of this little barn, like you know. And I was like, whoa, what’s that? And then real estate agent was like, oh, that’s your neighbors. That’s on her that’s your neighbor. And I said, well, is this something we should be concerned about? And he said no, no, he’s he’s fine. He’s fine. He’s just sending a warning shot, you know. So I thought to myself, well, this is either really good or really terrible. As it turned out, it was really good because he slept during the day and worked at night. I did I work during the day and slept at night, so that worked out pretty well. The interesting thing that I noticed immediately in the little log cabin there was the big There was a big red convertible, which was that land shark that he used in fear and loathing. His his car because no one had been on the property for years, so he even though he didn’t own the property, he just put his car in the cabin and put a padlock on the door. And I said, what are we going to do with this guy’s car? Because we wanted to turn the cabin into it into a little apartment where we could live while we built the rest of our house. So I would go and knock on his door and he never answered. Then I’d go again, I knock, and I didn’t even note because I because we wanted to, you know, we wanted to have the carpenters come in and start rebuilding this cabin. So the keys were in it. I jump started it, I backed it out, I drove it up on his lawn. I put it directly in front of his and I just left it there. And I knew him for twenty five years, and he never said a word to me about it. I guess he just thought the car just appeared one day, you know. So we went to his funeral that Johnny Depp organized and it was amazing. We played at his funeral with Lyle loved and Johnny Depp and it was just absolutely amazing. He was an amazing guy and one of the great you know, a classic journalists, you know who invented a style of journalism. Really, you know, he loved being Hunter Thompson. He loved the image of himself. And I think what happened when he broke his hip in his leg and he couldn’t really be that guy anymore, I don’t. I think that’s when he decided to pack it all in. But he we used to go up there and watch Monday night football with the sheriff and we like, it’s just kind of crazy.

Buzz: Let’s come back to Reunion here.

Buzz: I want to get your take on a couple of the specific songs here. We’ve already touched on Long Monday and Reunion. I want to talk about Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee, who you mentioned earlier in the conversation, So talk about them and that song.

John Oates: That song was written during the pandemic when I was out in Colorado. I’m spending more time in Colorado during the pandemic, just to get out of the city, breathe some fresh air and all that. And I ran into a guy who his neighbor, who I knew for years and years, but we never did anything together. His a guy named Joe Henry who has written lyrics. He’s an author, he’s written books, and we were just shooting the breeze and he said, you know, we should write a song. Did I said, yeah, we should, And so he came up to my little cabin and the cabin where that car was by the way, and we’d start talking about, you know, ideas for songs, and he told me he related this story about Sunny Terry and Brownie McGee, how as time went on in their career they were together for over forty years, they began to really dislike each other and they didn’t want to play together anymore. So obviously there was something going on that resonated with me. But he said that the interesting part was that one of them lost his ability to see and the other one lost his ability to walk, and it brought them together in a way, and they needed each other to get on stage. And when I thought about it, I said, well, you know, we could write about them specifically, or we could use their story and their experience as a metaphor for highness and lending a helping hand and helping your fellow man, so to speaking. I thought that was a more broad subject. So in the end, Sunny Terry and BROWNI McGee became more of a metaphor for the meaning of the song.

Buzz: How about the song All I Am that you co wrote with Adam Ezra.

John Oates: Yeah, Adam’s great. He and I just did a song that we just played together in New York just a couple of weeks ago. He’s He’s great. He’s from the Boston area, a really good soul, talented guy, and we played. We’ve done shows together over the years. We’ve written a few songs together, and All I Am is probably my favorite of the ones we’ve written. It’s just a song. He came to Nashville, we sat down and we wrote it. It just worked, and I love that song we played all the time.

Buzz: And how about the song that This Field Is Mine? Which is just wonderful to talk about that one?

John Oates: Thank you. That song was supposed to be included on the Arkansas album, which came out in twenty eighteen, but it just didn’t. There was something about it that I didn’t think it was right for that album. So I held it, but I knew that I was going to release it someday. That song was inspired by my wife’s family who they own a farm in southern Illinois and they’re very, very passionate about keeping the farm as the surrounding area gets developed by suburbs and houses and developments. And when I know the passion that they have for their land because it’s a you know, it’s been in their farm family for generations. So I thought about it and I thought about what that really means. I thought about what owning a piece of land. Do you really really own it? Or are you’re just the caretaker for a while, you know. And so that was the impetus for it, and I I ran the idea by Sam Bush and the great Jeff Black, who’s an incredible Nashville songwriter, and we wanted to try to write something together. So the three of us got together and we wrote that song together. Yeah, So that was that was that was really great to be able to. I had never written anything with Sam and it was first time, and I think we did pretty good.

Buzz: Did awesome and closing, You’ve always explored diverse influences.

Buzz: In your career and you continue to do that.

Buzz: Are there some influences that you have not explored that you’d still like to explore.

John Oates: I wouldn’t say there’s any particular influence like style I I but I still have a lot of interest. You know. I just wrote a song with a young artist named Devin Gilfillan, who’s fantastic. He’s an R and B singer from Philadelphia and once saw him live and he’s great, and I introduced myself and we hit it off and wrote a song. It sounds like a vintage soul song. And so I’m not going to be stuck in any particular style. I’m just going to, you know, do whatever it feels right at the time. That’s a song that I want to release this coming fall, and it’s a really cool song. So and then you know, I just recently I was on the Joe Bonamassa Blues Cruise and I got a chance to sit in with a band called Robert John and the Reck They’re a California based rock band and they’re really really good and I really like them and got together and wrote a song just a few days ago with him and Dave Cobb is producing him. Hopefully it’ll make it onto the album and so you know, I’m I’m just open to interesting ideas.

Buzz: Congratulations on reunion, the singles out the album coming out soon. I’m so grateful that you took the time to be on Taking a Walk. I’ve been a fan forever and thank you for the music that you continued to give us.

John Oates: John. Thanks, it was a good interview. I like talking about that stuff, so thanks.

Speaker 1: Thanks for listening to this episode of the Takin a Walk podcast. Share this and other episodes with your friends and follow us so you never miss an episode. Takin a Walk is available on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, and wherever you get your podcasts.

About The Author

Buzz Knight

Buzz Knight is an established media executive with a long history of content creation and multi-platform distribution.

After a successful career as a Radio Executive, he formed Buzz Knight Media which focuses on strategic guidance and the development of new original content.