Gimme Your Answers: An Interview w/ Tupelo

Irish folk band Tupelo released their amazing rhythm and roots album Push On this morning. However, if one release isn’t enough for you Tupelo fans, the foursome’s newest single Old Country is also now available! To celebrate the new album, Tupelo are also playing a headline show at Whelans on February 23rd, along with a show in Galway on March 1st. Before the celebration, AMBY spoke with the band about tour highlights, other artists from Ireland, a terrible beard, and the exciting year ahead of them.

AMBY: Welcome to AMBY, Tupelo! Please introduce yourselves to our readers.

Tupelo: Hi guys and girls we are the Irish Alt/Folk band Tupelo. We are a 4 piece with a lineup and some musical chairs going on that include, dobro, double bass, volin,4,5+6 string banjo’s, harmonica, bozouki, acoustic guitars and mandolin.

AMBY: How would you describe your sound to those unfamiliar with your music?

Tupelo: Our sound is different to most ”Folk” bands because yes we play acoustic instruments but we are not trying to be traditional at all, there is jazz, folk, Irish, punk, Rhythm and Blues, Country, Gospel in there so if you like any of that style you might like Tupelo, yes we tip the cap to the past but it’s about making new sounds, writing new songs and putting on great shows and PUSHING ON !!

AMBY: You release your new album Push On on February 21st. What’s a favorite memory from the writing and recording process of the record?

Tupelo: When sussing out where we were going to record the album, we looked at some amazing recording studios but the band and our producer the mighty Joe Chester decided to rent a big mansion down the country in Ireland in a place called Wicklow. We thought it would be good to get the band out of the city and hide away for a few weeks and to immerse our selves. So we were not looking at the clock when to start and to finish, we set up the mics in this massive old style dining room and set up the control room in the sitting room. Joe has a great portable studio, so every day we started at 11am and worked all day on the record and every night we would sit down and have a big dinner together at a table fit for knights and kings and a roaring fire to accompany us, good times..

AMBY: What’s the significance behind the LP’s title Push On?

Tupelo: James who writes the songs in the band had a song called ‘Push On’ which we decided was definitely one of the songs for the album, as we went on and we were looking for a title we kept coming back to ‘Push On’ Like any band or anybody trying to do something in life, you start on your own and you finish on your own, you have to do it yourself and you go through all the ups and downs, the only way is to keep going is to ‘Push On’ so we thought it was perfect. Then as faith had it James came across the amazing painting ‘Garland’ by Jake Reller when we were trying to think of an album cover. It is an image of two bulls colliding, its a beautiful piece so it just fell into place perfectly with the title.

AMBY: Having recently played sold-out shows in Denmark, Sweden and Norway, what were some of the tour’s highlights?

Tupelo: Yes Denmark, Norway and Sweden are fantastic countries to play. We went and put the work in over the last few years and the last tour which was in early January was 13 shows, they all SOLD OUT. Such was the demand we played extra matinee shows and we could of done an extra night nearly at every venue we played. We couldn’t believe it, the graft is finally paying off, but as any band worth their salt will tell you, you have to go out to every nook and cranny that will have you and play, play, play and show people what you can do, if you’re lucky it will spread. The highlights are people turning up to hear you play and knowing the songs word for word.

AMBY: Where did the name Tupelo come from and what other names had you considered for the band?

Tupelo: The name Tupelo comes from the Van Morrison album ‘Tupelo Honey’. We listen to Van a lot on the road and he is a big influence on the band in different ways, it was the one name we all liked and its quick and easy to say!! Except some Dublin people say Cheewwpelo!! We threw around all sorts of terrible names, one was The Wild Knights, holy jaysus!!

AMBY: Which other artists from Ireland should our readers keep an eye on?

Tupelo: As always Ireland is bursting full of music, art and poetry. If you like your roots, bluegrass and folk there is a fine band from Dublin called ‘I Draw Slow’ they have new album out in a few weeks, lovely songs, beautiful playing and they are well worth checking out. If you like your catchy indie bands with hooks flying at you there is a new band called Darling who are ones to watch, they will be making waves over the next year for sure, check them out at

AMBY: If you could trade places with another artist in the music industry for one day, who would it be?

Tupelo: We would trade places with Bob Dylan and his band, they play ‘The Never Ending Tour’ that’s what it’s all about, right??!!

AMBY: What has you most excited for 2014?

Tupelo: Well we have our new album ‘Push On’ hitting the shelves and we can’t wait to go out and play it live. We are touring all over the world in 2014 so ‘People get ready, there’s a train coming!’ Also we are looking forward to starting the 3rd album, we have loads of songs so we will be working on that throughout 2014 too.

AMBY: Lastly, what’s something about Tupelo that nobody knows yet?

Tupelo: Well our fiddle and mandolin player Kevin Duffy has had a terrible beard for the last few months that we kept at him to shave but it wouldn’t go away, we turned up at rehearsal the other day and it has somehow ran away from his face. We don’t blame it all to be honest, so he looks 40 now instead of 60!!


Thank you Tupelo, for giving us your answers!

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Alicia Atout | @AliciaAtout

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