Lonna Kelley is a member of the seminal Americana band Giant Sand, and has also worked with its founder and frontman Howe Gelb on two albums of 50's-tinged ballads and duets, 'Future Standards’(2016) and ‘Further Standards’(2017).

As well as being a member of a short-lived but well-received psychedelic group Cherie Cherie who put out a six song EP 'C'mon Let's Share' in 2013, Kelley, who is from Phoenix in Arizona, also has had an on-off solo career.

She has self-released two long now deleted solo albums, 'Broken Hearted Lover’ (2007) and ‘Go Away Closer’ (2009), and also a six song EP, the acclaimed 'Take Me Home, Spiderman'.

Her latest single, 'Will I See You?’, came out on 7" vinyl in a limited edition of 500 copies on local Phoenix label Moone Records in April. '

Both 'Will I See You?’ and its B-side ‘Time Waits for No One’ were written and recorded at about the same time as 'Take Me Home, Spiderman', and not long after her partner and the father of her small boy had died suddenly. Slow-building and hazy-toned, and pushing Kelley's crystal voice to the fore in front of Deerhof's John Dieterich's noise effects, they are enshrouded with a deep sense of loss and grief. As the last line of “I’m never, ever gonna stop believin’” on 'Will I See You?' in particular conveys, they are also about finding the strength to carry on after fate had dealt the worst of blows.

With her new band Ard Eevin which includes Sonic Youth's Steve Shelley on drums, also in the process of finishing recording its-as-yet untitled debut album, Pennyblackmusic spoke to Lonna Kelley.


PB: ‘Will I See You?’ and ‘Time Waits for No One’ were recorded at about the same time as the ‘Take Me Home, Spiderman’ mini-album. Revisiting them is an experience that you have described elsewhere as being “intense.” Why did you not use them at the time? They are slighter darker-shaded than the other tracks on ‘Take Me Home, Spiderman’. Did you feel that they didn’t fit in with the rest of that recording?

LN: Those songs were recorded earlier by David Nichols. I wanted to do a 12” at 45 RPM. That meant only three songs would fit on each side. The six songs that made it on the record were recorded a little later by Ryan Breen. When I listen now, I think they fit. So, I’m not really sure what I was thinking.

PB: ‘Will I See You?’ ends with the line “I’m never, ever gonna stop believin’” and the essential message of ‘Time Waits for No One’ seems to be that one should grab at life while you can. For all their themes of loss and sadness, do you see them as being ultimately songs of hope?

LN: At the time I wrote them, there was no thought. The entire record, including the songs on this 7”, were completely steered by grief. When I look back on them now, I do see some hope, although it wasn’t my intention. I also think hope can be a tricky thing. Hoping for this or hoping for that. Hope can get in the way of seeing what’s right in front of you.

PB: You brought in John Dieterich from Deerhof to mix and master these two tracks. What do you think he brought to the recordings?

LN: Magical noise! John Dieterich has a definitive ear. He hears the tiny waves behind the music…he exists outside of the status quo. He can manipulate the unknown and bring it to life. He brought these songs to life and he’s one of my heroes.

PB: Do you have any other unreleased material left over from the ‘Take Me Home, Spiderman’ sessions?

LN: There was 1 other song. I didn’t like it. I even listened to it a few times recently. Nah. Nope.

PB: You have tended to focus on vinyl with your recent solo releases, and both with this and ‘Take Me Home, Spiderman’, which also had a cassette edition. Why have you avoided CD editions of these?

LN: I don’t buy CDs. I like records. That’s what I listen to.

PB: You have done a lot of work with Howe Gelb in recent years, appearing on both the ‘Future Standards’ and ‘Further Standards’ with him (the latter for which you shared a joint credit with him) and are also a member of Giant Sand. How did you first become involved with him and what is the main appeal to you of working with him?

LN: When I was 24, I saw my first Giant Sand show. After the show, I went up to Howe and told him he changed my life. He laughed at me. This moment defined the rest of our friendship. Three years later, I was opening up the ‘Sno Angel Tour in Europe. That first tour was terrifying. Howe loved to dismantle songs…especially live and on stage when none of the rest of us knew what was going on. The timing, the structure, and sometimes the entire song was completely unrecognizable. He would look at me and nod, “Ok, girl, take it from here”. Total panic. I had no idea what I was doing. He loved it. He still surprises me. Howe is forever taking leaps into the unknown – no plan and no destination. He floats in on his train wreck of a cloud and it’s going to go really well or really bad. And there’s the appeal…the magic.

PB: You have self-released two other long deleted solo albums, ‘Broken Hearted Lover’ in 2007 and ‘go Away Closer’ in 2009. What are they like and how do you feel they stand up in comparison to your latter work? With this growing interest in your work, would you ever conceive releasing them again, even digitally through Bandcamp?

LN: This is a tough question. Comparison sounds dangerous. The main reason why I haven’t re-released those – it’s totally personal. And I’m cool with the letting the dust collect.

PB: You were also in the short-lived, but seemingly very fondly remembered group Cherie Cherie. Who were they?

LN: The best humans to walk the land – Jay Hufman, Ann Seletos, and Matt Wiser. I got to use a Rat pedal. What??? And I turned my guitar all the way up. It was epic and I miss the music.

PB: You have now got a new project Ard Eevin with Ryan Breen who played bass upon and engineered ‘Take Me Home, Spiderman’, and Lonna Kelley is a member of the seminal Americana band Giant Sand, and has also worked with its founder and frontman Howe Gelb on two albums of 50's-tinged ballads and duets, 'Future Standards’(2016) and ‘Further Standards’(2017).

As well as being a member of a short-lived but well-received psychedelic group Cherie Cherie who put out a six song EP 'C'mon Let's Share' in 2013, Kelley, who is from Phoenix in Arizona, also has had an on-off solo career.

She has self-released two long now deleted solo albums, 'Broken Hearted Lover’ (2007) and ‘Go Away Closer’ (2009), and also a six song EP, the acclaimed 'Take Me Home, Spiderman'.

Her latest single, 'Will I See You?’, came out on 7" vinyl in a limited edition of 500 copies on local Phoenix label Moone Records in April. '

Both 'Will I See You?’ and its B-side ‘Time Waits for No One’ were written and recorded at about the same time as 'Take Me Home, Spiderman', and not long after her partner and the father of her small boy had died suddenly. Slow-building and hazy-toned, and pushing Kelley's crystal voice to the fore in front of Deerhof's John Dieterich's noise effect, they are enshrouded with a deep sense of loss and grief. As the last line of “I’m never, ever gonna stop believin’” on 'Will I See You?' in particular conveys, they are also about finding the strength to carry on, after life had dealt a knock-down blow.

With her new band Ard Eevin which includes Sonic Youth's Steve Shelley on drums, in the process of finishing recording its-as-yet untitled debut album, Pennyblackmusic spoke to Lonna Kelley. He was apparently a fan of your work and bought ‘Take Me Home, Spiderman’. How did you persuade him to join your band?

LN: There was no persuasion. I just emailed him, “….you wanna??” and he was “Um, yes!!”. I did jump into the air and scream. But there’s not much more to the story. And yes, a total dream come true.

PB: Ard Eevin have just finished recording an album. When will that be released and who will be releasing it? What does Ard Eevin sound like and do you hope to be touring with them or either solo or with Howe Gelb in the US or Europe this year?

LN: I’m hoping to do more touring in 2020. I’m taking a break this year. The record still needs a little work. It is very different from 'Take Me Home, Spiderman'. This project is very much Ryan and I. Speaking of venturing into the unknown - I’ve never done anything like it. What a relief though. Doing the same thing over and over sounds boring, right?

PB: THank you.











Related Links:

https://lonnakelley.bandcamp.com/
https://moonerecords.com/
https://twitter.com/MooneRecs
https://www.facebook.com/moonerecordlabel/
https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Musician-Band/Lonna-Kelley-198879033475025/


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