Happy 3rd Birthday Speakers in Code! (And a Show Preview)

We really appreciate our comrades over at Speakers in Code, a St. Louis/Chapel Hill, NC/Nashville/and now New Orleans-based music blog. I’ve discovered a bunch of new artists thanks to their Jam of the Day feature; I’ve attended their always great hosted shows in STL. Moreover, Jason Gonulsen and Katie Guymon (our hometown writers and the founding members of SIC), have been concert pals for a couple years now. I’ve watched their writing mature and develop, and SIC has been a source of inspiration for my own music scribbling. So it was my pleasure to ask Jason some questions about Speakers, the upcoming Tift Merritt/David Wax Museum Birthday Celebration concert at Off Broadway, and what he’s looking forward to throughout the rest of 2013.

Tift Merritt Poster
Congrats on 3 years of Speakers in Code. Tell us a favorite memory based on your SIC experiences, be it a show, interview, festival, etc.

Thank you. There have been many great memories, and the last one that really stood out was covering the 2012 Austin City Limits Music Festival this past October. Nate Burrell from Before the Blink shot the festival for us, and the whole weekend was a thrill.

On the first morning of the festival, Nate and I waited around two hours (which may or may not have involved drinking) to interview and shoot LP, and when it was finally our turn with her, she was about 30 minutes from performing her festival set. Nate did a quick “backstage” shoot, and I ended up interviewing her in a moving golf cart on the way to her performance. Nate later got to shoot many artists/bands, including The Roots, Neil Young, Iggy Pop, and Gary Clark Jr. http://www.beforetheblink.com/concert/austin-city-limits-festival/

What’s it like to run a music blog from two (three?) different locations in the country? How do you balance coverage and stay organized?

It has been three (STL, Chapel Hill, NC, and Nashville) since August of 2012, and we recently added two writers from New Orleans. So, I guess it’s now four. Matt Smith, Aggie Donkar, Mary Broome, Rachel Puckett, Johanna McManus, and myself are the current team, with Dylan Newcity also contributing. And, of course, Katie Guymon (from STL), currently on hiatus, was a co-creator, and always will be a part of SIC.

Balancing coverage has been a breeze because we’re all in it for the love of music, and no one is in it for himself or herself. That’s my feeling, anyway. I’d like to think that anyone has free reign to post whatever, whenever. When we do get a lot of content at once, we’ll just schedule it out over email.

Aside from the birthday show (we’ll get to that one in a minute), what concerts are you most looking forward to in 2013 so far?

Night Beds + Cassie Morgan and the Lonely Pine at Off Broadway (2/11), Kishi Bashi at The Firebird (2/16), Kentucky Knife Fight Album Release show at Off Broadway (3/2), Tegan & Sara at The Pageant (3/10), Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell + Richard Thompson at The Peabody (3/17), and Josh Ritter at Plush (4/20).

Jason of Speakers in Code.

Jason of Speakers in Code.

What’s the best song (national or local) to be released in January?

There have been many, but I’ll go with Phosphorescent’s “Song for Zula.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FcdOLKx2XG8

For those who are unfamiliar with Tift Merritt, what should we know about her music? How did she end up headlining the SIC birthday concert?

Tift is such a real artist. And when I say real, I mean I’ve seen her stop a song mid-performance and ask the person on sound to cut the crap and turn off the reverb. Musically, she’s a mix of Lucinda Williams, Emmylou Harris, and Brandi Carlile. A little country, a little soul, great songwriting. Her words are gold.

I met Tift about a year-and-a-half ago, and we talked for about an hour, and doing a show came up in our conversation. I later came to her with an idea of headlining some kind of showcase in St. Louis, and with our 3rd Birthday (January 4th) being close enough to where her tour routing worked out for this show at Off Broadway, we decided to officially celebrate on February 9th. She’s absolutely someone whose music is a gift to us all, and her songs mean the world to me.

Give us a playlist of five TM songs that should be required listening before heading out to the show.

“Traveling Alone” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OiNBswDcIHQ
“Stray Paper” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bx4OvZCd3Ks
“Mixtape” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVsmrDhD_3k
“Broken” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jE5S7dVpXC8
“Good Hearted Man” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PqTvp3TTFxY

What do we have to look forward to from SIC this year?

We’re open to anything. More writers, photos, interviews, songs that you absolutely can’t live without. More cowbell.

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