“Our music benefits most from Louisville, Kentucky’s ‘Do It Yourself’ attitude” says Patrick Hallahan, drummer for My Morning Jacket.
Founded in Louisville in 1998, My Morning Jacket has embraced its rock and country roots while continually experimenting with unexpected genres. My Morning Jacket proudly claims Louisville as its home and embraces all aspects of Kentucky culture, from the bourbon to the horses.
While Buffalo Trace Distillery makes Hallahan’s favorite bourbon, the jury is still out on his favorite Thoroughbred racehorse. And how did Hallahan celebrate the 2013 Kentucky Derby? From a backyard party.
Patrick kindly took the time to talk about how Louisville has shaped My Morning Jacket’s music, the band’s much-anticipated album, and of course, his favorite part of Derby season in Louisville.
Mary Frances Dale: Since My Morning Jacket has roots in Louisville, a town that goes Derby crazy every year, the Kentucky Derby must practically be part of your blood. What’s your favorite part about the city when Derby time comes around?
Patrick Hallahan: I have to say my favorite part of the city during Derby season is the spirit of the people!! The one-two punch of springtime in Louisville and the Kentucky Derby Festival is pretty hard to beat.
Mary: You’ve got a busy year with the upcoming AmericanaramA Festival you guys are playing with Bob Dylan and Wilco, as well as the Forecastle Festival. What other projects and events are you looking forward to most?
Patrick: We are VERY MUCH looking forward to making a new album this fall. The live performance gods have been extremely kind to us over the years, but diving back into the recording realm is always on our minds.
Mary: You guys definitely show some Kentucky pride, with the Forecastle Festival in Louisville that your band helped organize and your continued support of the Kentucky music scene. How has being from Louisville influenced your music?
Patrick: I say this with great pride: our music benefits most from Louisville, KY's "Do It Yourself" attitude. Geographically we are neither "northern" nor "southern," so we can go throughout life with our own identity. I think this is a reason Louisville is such a fantastic city, and also why My Morning Jacket can exist without being pigeonholed.
Mary: As far as the Kentucky Derby goes, are you more of a Millionaire’s Row or an Infield kind of man?
Patrick: Hahahaha, I'll meet you in the middle. I've been to the infield a few times, and its something I'll never forget. With that said, I'd love to get a box with some friends next year. I'm not interested in Millionaire's Row, but if Michael Jordan invited me, I wouldn't turn him down.
Mary: Since you are a Kentuckian, what’s your favorite Bourbon?
Patrick: Rock Hill Farms, or anything from the Buffalo Trace Distillery. They make all of my favorites (Pappy Van Winkle, Blantons, Elmer T. Lee, etc), and give one of my favorite tours of anything ... ever.
Mary: Do you have a favorite Thoroughbred racehorse?
Patrick: The jury is still out on that one ...
Mary: Jim James told Rolling Stone in an interview that Floating Action is one little known band that deserves a lot more attention right now. What other musicians should we be on the lookout for?
Patrick: The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, The 23 String Band, Laura Viers, Shabazz Palaces, The Heartless Bastards ... I could go on and on.
Mary: Who was your biggest influence for getting into music?
Patrick: My parents, Tim and Kathe Hallahan, my grandparents, Gene and Joni Brohm, and my first drum muse, Bruce Morrow.
Mary: You guys recorded your 2011 album Circuital in a pretty interesting place—a Louisville church gymnasium. What is your favorite memory from recording the album?
Patrick: I loved the problem-solving aspects of recording in a space built for other purposes. The creative energy required to get the right sound in a gymnasium bled over into the songwriting process as well. Our brains were firing from start to finish every day. It was beautiful.
You can listen to My Morning Jacket's Circuital here: