When the blues-rock band Southern Hospitality recorded its debut, singer/guitarist Damon Fowler learned pretty fast that bringing a demo to producer Tab Benoit is a big no-no.
“And from dealing with that,” recalls Fowler, “I found that the best results from working with Tab were to let it organically happen. Instead of coming in with a completely finished idea, come in with a skeleton and be open to change.”
That’s the basic approach Fowler took with the Benoit-produced Sounds of Home, Fowler’s third solo album for Blind Pig Records.
“At the end of the day, it’s more teamwork involved, and it seems like a more fun process,” Fowler adds. “There were a couple of tunes where I had some lyrical ideas, and there were a couple of tunes where I had arrangement ideas. I would play them and work on them with the band, and then Tab would come in and say, ‘I think this one is working’ or ‘I don’t think this one over here is working.’ ”
Sounds of Home was recorded last summer over the course of a week at Benoit’s home studio in Louisiana. Benoit also had a hand in writing four songs; they used an approach similar to the one Fowler does when he writes with regular collaborator Ed Wright.
“We kinda just hang out and toss the ball back and forth, trying out ideas,” Fowler says. “Some of them work, and some of them don’t, but that’s the creative process — figuring it out.”
Fowler’s latest also includes two covers: a version of Johnny Winter’s “TV Mama” and a take on the Elvis Costello classic “Alison,” complete with a tasteful, succinct guitar solo.
“Personally, I think it’s fun to do a couple of covers on a record,” Fowler says. “It gives people a look into what you’re into and where you’re coming from.”
As far as where he’s going in 2014, Fowler says he’ll be on the road supporting Sounds of Home, and his Southern Hospitality bandmates JP Soars and Victor Wainwright will be out promoting their new solo projects, too.
“But at the same time,” says Fowler, “in August we’ve blocked out some time to do a tour, and we’ve been tossing around the idea to do another record. SoHo has been way too much fun for us to just drop it.”
— By Chris M. Junior
Damon Fowler on tour (schedule subject to change):
* Jan. 31: Skipper’s Smokehouse — Tampa, Fla.
* Feb. 2: Earl’s Hideaway — Sebastian, Fla.
* Feb. 6: Chan’s — Woonsocket, R.I.
* Feb. 7: Black-Eyed Sally’s — Hartford, Conn.
* Feb. 8: ArtsQuest Center — Bethlehem, Pa.
* Feb. 12: Rockwood Music Hall — New York
* Feb. 14: Saint George’s Country Store — Saint Georges, Del.
* Feb. 15-16: Rams Head On Stage — Annapolis, Md.