We spoke with the amazing musician, singer songwriter and mandolin extraordinaire about his latest solo album release “Stray Clouds“. We introduce you to his musical career as well as his inspiration. We thank Erik for the interview, and I can’t wait to hang out with him on our next trip to Nashville, TN.
B Chord: Hey man, tell us a little bit about how you got into music and your career so far?
Erik Stucky: I started playing mandolin around the age of 10. I grew up in Colorado and my Dad was a big music enthusiast especially in folk and bluegrass. We used to attend bluegrass festivals .I grew up listening to Bluegrass Revival, James Taylor, Lyle Lovett, and Mary Chapin Carpenter. I began playing mandolin after hearing Mark O’Connor play it at a bluegrass festival. I took lessons and got to playing the mandolin for a while and then got into singing and song writing around the age of 18. I live in Nashville now and just released my first solo album. I play mandolin for a couple Americana artists as well.
B Chord: You had the privilege of opening for John Oates. Can you tell us a little about that?
Erik Stucky: John Oates produced a friend of mine, David Starr’s latest album. When John was playing at the Station Inn, he asked David to open for him. David asked me to play some mandolin for that show. Playing at the Station Inn was a really cool setting.
B Chord: I see you play a lot of instruments? Which ones? What is your favorite?
Erik Stucky: Mandolin and guitar are the instruments that I play at my shows. So that’s pretty much what I do. I do play bass and fiddle when I am recording my albums, but as far as my performances, I play mandolin and guitar.
B Chord: Tell us a little about “Stray Clouds” and the songs on the album?
Erik Stucky: “Stray Clouds” is the first solo album that I have done. There are songs on there that range from new to about 5 years old. I also included the ones that I had a real desire to put out. One song on the album I wrote two weeks before entitled “Old Habits Never Die.” This was because I wanted an upbeat bluegrass tune to pay tribute to my upbringing. There is a span of 5 years of songwriting on that one album.
B Chord: I love “For Old Times’ Sake” can you tell us a little about the writing process?
Erik Stucky: That was actually one of the older songs that I wrote when I was out living in Santa Barbara, California and that was a reflection from being from a small town in Colorado and reminiscing about that. There is a line in there “a drive-in movie screen” which we still have in Montrose, Colorado which is a rare thing. I was thinking a lot about home when writing that song.
B Chord: Do songs come to you easily or do you have to get away to write?
Erik Stucky: It works all sorts of different ways. I think songwriters are always discovering their process because it seems to be changing for me. I’ve written songs where I have had to sit down night after night to write them. I have also written songs….Well I wrote “Holding Back the Rain” without a guitar driving a tractor in Kansas and I saw a cloud and just started singing it. I went in at lunchtime and worked it out on the guitar, but everything was written while driving. I moved to Nashville full time a year ago and before that I made trips down here. I now do a lot of co-writing here.
B Chord: What do you have lined up for 2018 so far?
Erik Stucky: Well I am actually playing a gig tonight and then I have a string of gigs coming up in California next month…….some are solo and some I am playing with Nathan McEuen. We also are doing a trio thing with Nathan, Paul Allen and myself. They are both incredible musicians and songwriters in the LA area. In March, I have a big month-long Texas tour where I am playing live radio shows to listening rooms.
B Chord: You have a very nice distinct folkie American sound that is all your own. I do hear a little James Taylor in there. Who are some of your inspirations?
Erik Stucky: Well thank you very much. James Taylor. Lyle Lovett is just an artist that I really dig. His creativity is just very expressive. Darrell Scott. Paul Simon is someone else that I grew up listening to a lot. On my album, I did a couple covers and Don Williams was one of them to pay tribute to that older country era. John Hartford is also someone I grew up listening to. He wrote “Gentle on My Mind” that Glen Campbell performed. He was a fiddle and banjo player and a very creative guy. There are so many, but those are the ones that were prevalent when I was growing up. I also like the band Nickel Creek. John Moore, the guy who produced my album, who plays a lot of guitar and the banjo player are in a band called Bluegrass, Etc. They had a huge influence on my music through my teen years and I still hang out with them and am still learning from them.
B Chord: You are stranded on an island and you can take only one instrument with you. What would the instrument be and why?
Erik Stucky: I’d take my Collings mandolin which is the model that I play. The mandolin was just my first intro to music and set fire to me wanting to play. The guitar came much later. Collings MT2 A Style mandolin and I might take an F style as well. I really like the Collings mandolin.
Thank you again Erik for a fantastic insight on your musical career and your current projects. Please check out the links below and download “Stray Clouds” today, come on what are you waiting for it is just below!