10 Questions: Kym Warner of The Greencards

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The Greencards are set to release Sweetheart of the Sun their 6th album of new material.  In between tour dates Kym Warner, one of the founding members of the band and mandolin player, sat down and answered 10 questions.

Q: The new album “Sweetheart of the Sun” is soon to be released.  Produced by Gary Paczosa.  How easy, or hard, was the effort to get everything recorded, mix, mastered and shipped?

A: Any album requires a great deal of effort and focus, particularly when you are independent artists, like we are. We’re responsible for every detail, every step along the way, from the songwriting right up to the album release … and beyond. The recording process with Gary Paczosa is just so good, though. He’s a genius when it comes to engineering vocals and acoustic instruments. Basicially, we moved in with Gary for a month into his Nashville home and made music. We had many good times making this record.

Q:  Wikipedia describes The Greencards as a “Progressive Bluegrass Band” although the new record has elements of folk, bluegrass, country.  How would you describe the band.

A: It’s difficult for us to call ourselves a bluegrass band. Bands like The Infamous Stringdusters and Della Mae… they’re more what i call progressive bluegrass.

We’re comfortable under the Americana or Progressive Acoustic umbrella. We write all of our own material, we don’t record older songs, which many bluegrass bands do. Americana is a very broad genre… we feel at home there as much as anywhere.

Q: Everyone has always been big on labels.  If one were to go into Waterloo records what bin would the new record be in? Bluegrass? Folk? Country? Americana?

A: You gotta love Waterloo Records in Austin, Texas. They get it. Everything is in alphabetical order, not genres. Genres just get too confusing. I think you’ll find us under ‘G’ for The Greencards, or the ‘Local Texas Artists’ section.

Q: The record Sweetheart of the Sun flows from one song to the next as a collection of songs and music. Was that the idea from the start?

A: The idea came from the title track to our 2005 album, Weather and Water. I’m not sure if it’s because we’re Australian but we feel such a strong connection to the water and the ocean. As a response to ‘Weather and Water’ came the first song we wrote for this album, ‘Black, Black Water’. Once that song unfolded we decided to create a theme. Water. Travel. Motion. The songs just flowed from then on…

Q: The Greencards recordings have run from indie, to a signed band, to fan funded,  What advice would you give a band trying to get a record released in this day and age?

A: I’d just say make the best record you can. If it means funding it yourself or through fan-funding, do that.. if you feel you belong with a label and can make a great record, do that. From past experience we’ve learned to make sure an attorney looks over any contracts you sign with anyone, whether that is a label or an investor. And if you go the fan-funding route.. be good to your pledgers and follow through with what you’ve promised!

Q: I once saw a performance in a small San Antonio club with Pat Flynn on guitar that was just incredible.  Will Carl Miner be onboard for the support of the new recording.

A: Yes, C-Miner will be on tour with us… we don’t leave home without him!

Q: Musicians have always wanted to talk about their gear moreso than their recordings.  When your on the road what the one piece of gear that you cannot live without?  

A: True. I have become reliant on my live rig, whether it be my Avalon pre-amp, G7th Capos or effects but nothing is more important on the road than my Collings Mandolin.

Q: You toured in support of Bob Dylan a few years back.  So, I have to ask, what was he like?  

A: Our tour with Dylan was magical in every possible way. He treated us extremely well on that 31 date tour. He’s the greatest!

Q: How has the move to Nashville from Austin a few years ago worked out for the band?  You probably had a little backlash from your Austin friends. ed note – The Greencards have since moved back to Austin

A: It was a pretty positive move for us. Austin has been supportive every step we’ve taken in our career. We did move back to Austin a year ago so I think we won extra points for returning.

Q: The Greencards have played lots of dates and toured extensively across the US. things are bound to go wrong at some point.  Care to share your worst tour experience?

A: We had a serious accident in our van a few years back where we rolled after hitting black ice, just out of Austin. We did miss only one show (sorry Dallas!). A close second is when our gear didn’t arrive in France, where we were booked to play a huge festival. Nothing like stepping on stage in front of 20,000 people with borrowed, foreign instruments you’ve never laid hands on before!

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