I managed a brief chat with the lovely Connie Lush just before the Christmas 2009 mayhem began. She’s a joy to speak to ebullient and full of life and enthusiasm. We touched on several topics, the Liverpool music scene, the latest album, why we make music at all, Liverpool FC and so much more. We had a much more in-depth chat a few days after Christmas and this is the result.
Has it been a good year for and was Christmas OK?
Had the best ever! The gig in Liverpool on Boxing Night was one hell of a party, the New Year went with a bang so looking forward to 2010 and gigging
So you had a good holiday what are your plans for 2010 especially in the first months of the year?
Yes it started great with a holiday and I’m just doing some recording for a BBC TV show so see how that pans out, working on new CD and of course the best of all, loads of gigs coming up !
We understand that you have a new album in preparation what’s the present situation with that?
At the moment we’ve come to a stand still. We’re going through a bit of a dry patch writing wise so am leaving it alone for the moment. We’ll go back to it, but the guys have come up with some great stuff so I am listening and seeing what I can do with it. It’s a process and I prefer stage and live to studio, just want to sing and run about!
I know that you’re Liverpool based, how’s the music scene up there? And in particular how’s the blues scene?
The scene up here is very healthy. Jazz is more popular than blues but we have some strong Blues Venues, The Warrington Blues Club and The Yacht Club at our Marina. Also big blues artists down at the Albert Dock on a regular basis plus every style you can think of. We have a lot of people who do their own thing up here and put on their own gigs so its incredible sometimes and not so incredible others! But viva la difference! It’s quite a scene if you know where to go.
Is there much harking back to the golden era of the Liverpool sound? This might sound daft, but you know how some places we play seem to be hallowed by the musicians who’ve played there, almost like there’s a music vibe ‘in the air’ so to speak. Do you get that vibe in the ‘pool?
Of course there is a going back to the Liverpool sound as luckily we still have a lot of the venues etc around from the 60s and we are now in the top 5 of tourist attractions. So we get a lot of Beatles tributes around and general 60s music so there is an underlying beat always around in the air! I think I’m getting too romantic now…but I do feel it sometimes in my city.
Ok I’d like to ask you about your song writing; firstly do you write with an instrument say piano or guitar?
No, drum machine sometimes, the beat is important to me
Do you have a method of writing or do you just run on inspiration?
No. I just go with the flow. I don’t find it an easy thing to do.
When do you write and have you a personal favourite of all your songs?
Love ‘Dog’ although its tongue in cheek it’s quite personal and I love the slide guitar it makes me weak when I hear one.
Are all the songs written for the next album?
No, don’t remind me!
Let’s turn to your musical inspirations – who was the first one that inspired you to want to sing?
Probably Ray Charles
You obviously take a lot from the soul and gospel ‘end’ of the blues, who else inspires you?
John Lee Hooker is the man for me! No one can touch him but listening to him makes me want to sing all night long., he is organic rhythm on legs!
Anyone else from the purer blues end of things any favourites?
I love Elmore James but I am not a purist. For me the blues is all things.
Is there favourite cover song that you like to sing.
Yes, ‘Out of the Rain’ by Etta James which I am thinking of putting back in the set.
I listened to some of the snippets on your website and I was reminded of Tina Turner in her early days when she was with Ike Turner and the Ikettes a real wild edge to the music. Can you comment on that?
I would kill for her legs! [So would I; VM] but thank you; I think she is one of the best and yes I do go over the edge on stage too
Are you much influenced by the pre-soul era of American female singers, I mean people like Laverne Baker (‘Tweedle Dee Tweedle Dum’) Ruth Brown?
Yes, big time!
And what about what I would describe as the pre-Stax era, like Doris Troy, Betty Everett, etc.
Well Betty Lavette was a big influence and Dorothy Moore too. We’re moving out of the blues / soul field here but recently there has been lots of very good publicity about two singers who really are troupers in the best sense of the word, Shirley Bassey and Vera Lynn.
I would describe you as a ‘trouper’ as well, how do you see your own music and performance in relation to such artistes?
I think ‘trouper’ is code for ‘I’m still here’! I love what I do and don’t want to stop so I guess I am the same; I’ll stop when the audience decides they want me too.
We’ve covered a wide spectrum there, let’s turn back to you and your album, tell us how it’s being recorded – it is live, or part live, track by track… who is producing?
Track by track. We always use the same guy, Ronnie Stone, he’s a bit of a soul mate now for me and for Terry too!
How do you see the producer’s role?
Just on the side lines giving advice when needed and providing a little lubrication when necessary!
I can tell, from our brief conversation that you do it for the real love of the music and performing and I think your performances have great integrity, but putting that aside what do you want to achieve
I am achieving it; to perform live on stage and earn my living by doing it. The life style is wonderful but it’s not for the queasy and it’s certainly not for the money. I have a few more festivals and gigs on my wish list which keeps getting bigger, I always have goals, that I would love to do and of course to write the song of my dreams just for me…
Looking at the current music scene in terms of mass media and thinking of things like the X Factor, all of what I call Mariah Carey clones with that artificial exaggerated ‘soul’ style. Do you have any comments on that style of singing and what can a real singer like you do to counter that influence?
It all leaves me cold; people do what they have to do but sometimes it’s for the wrong reasons. What I like and what you like are two different things and that’s the way it should be but its tough in the music world and you do need to be allowed to make mistakes and find your feet.
Of all your songs and/or recordings which one are you proudest of and why?
Hard question that one! I truly don’t have any favourites as I really don’t think I am that good anyway: I am just happy to get on stage and sing me heart out!
What are you looking forward to most in 2010?
I am a lucky girl; I have got lots to look forward to. I love travelling and we will certainly be doing that, especially Europe but most of all the Shetlands as I have never been there and the festival sound like loads of fun…. God is good.
Should Liverpool sack Benitez?
Hey, you will get me slaughtered up here if I make a comment! But I like him!
Thank you Connie and have a great year.
Here’s lookin’ at you too! We’ll Speak soon, love Connie xxx (blown kisses)