While singer/songwriter Dodd Ferrelle is a native Savannahian, he left for the greener musical pastures of Athens, Ga., over ten years ago, and has been playing and recording up there ever since.
His most notable achievement was 2000’s Carriage on the Hill, a remarkable collection of tuneful but rough–around–the–edges songs with a distinctively evocative and bittersweet Southern sensibility. Four more releases followed through the years.
Ferrelle has topped himself with his latest release, Hide the World. Like Carriage on the Hill, it’s produced by legendary Athens music figure David Barbe and focuses on storytelling with themes of regret and redemption. But this CD is even more mature and musically interesting.
Ferrelle plays a release party this Friday at the Jinx. We talked to him about it last week.
You clearly took this CD to the next level. How do you explain that? New attitude, new you, what?
Dodd Ferrelle: Not a new me, but I guess I’m continuing to evolve and doing more experimenting in the studio. A lot of the music is in my head and the trick is going into the studio and finding the right sounds. I’ve been working with David Barbe for so long, we’ve sort of developed a shorthand together to get those sounds.
The songs are really strong, and there’s a lot of sort of dark imagery. And I’ll always carry Savannah with me. There’s always a little of that.
You mention dark imagery, but your songs always offer a way out.
Dodd Ferrelle: I intend to do that. I leave songs open for hope at the end. I’m that way in life in general. I’m always open to hope. It’s such a powerful word. I try to use sounds and melodies to convey that.
I love the Mexican trumpets on the first single, “Control.” Where did you get that awesome idea?
Dodd Ferrelle: It was just in my head. At one point we couldn’t get the sound right and I told the trumpet player, imagine yourself on a castle wall sounding the alarm, sort of humming it to him. He got it and just did a beautiful job.
I did want to mention my new band. These guys are so great and I can’t wait to introduce them to the
hometown crowd. It has really turned into its own thing, so the next recording I do will not be solo. We’ll go into Barbe’s studio in 2012 as a band. We just need a name!
Well, you’re pretty much a certified Athens music veteran at this point.
Dodd Ferrelle: There’s about 330 bands here! It’s a thriving community artistically, both visually and musically. I’m proud to be a part of that. There are a lot of great new bands, like Futurebirds. I just finished writing a new fight song for the Bulldogs, and they sang backup for it in the studio. I wrote it and turned it over to the UGA music business program — Barbe is the director — as a teaching tool for the students. It’s a big old hip-hop stadium shaker.
Dodd Ferrelle CD Release Party
When: Friday Nov. 18, 9:30 p.m.
Where: The Jinx, 127 W. Congress St.