Bleu’s early years were spent focused on sports rather than music. He picked up a guitar for the first time during his college years, learned a few chords and his future was set. Bleu soon discovered that some of his favorite musical acts – Robert Earl Keen, Radney Foster, Uncle Tupelo – shared a common thread: Lloyd Maines either produced or played steel guitar on their recordings. A short time later, using a tape player in his dorm room, Bleu made guitar/vocal demos of some of his songs and sent the tape to Maines. Quickly recognizing the raw talent on that homemade cassette tape, Maines contacted Bleu and ultimately became his producer. The pairing made two records together – Southland and The Band Plays On – and Bleu credits Maines with giving him his start in the music business.
“Writing is like holding up a mirror to those darkest corners of our lives that we keep hidden,” confides the raspy-throated singer. “It’s not always a pretty reflection, but it’s real and it matters.” His collection of songs ministers to the saint and the sinner in each of us. It is a conglomeration of those touch points and influences that give us permission to question, confront and raise a little hell on Saturday night.
Bleu’s lyrics convey a worldly perspective of one who has lived a life balanced on the edge – of success and failure, love and hate, elation and despair – with his trademark grit and unselfconscious vulnerability intact. There is no sugar-coating in his songs; he simply calls it like he sees it.
He also knows how to crank up the amps and throw down hard. His raucous live show has earned him street cred and respect among his fans as well as his musical co-horts throughout Texas, a state that can lay claim to more than its fair share of the musical talent gene pool.
Edmondson’s rapidly growing fan base, “The Southland Mob,” takes its name from his debut CD, produced by Texas musical royalty, Lloyd Maines. His road-dog touring ethic, coupled with his management (Greg Henry) and booking team (True Grit Talent Agency), keeps him running down blacktops and back roads in excess of 200 days each year. As Edmondson’s popularity has grown so has his touring radius, much to the delight of his out-of-Texas fans.
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Q&A; WITH BLEU EDMONDSON
Q&A WITH BLEU EDMONDSON
October 2010–Interviewer: Brad Brite
What is your favorite venue to play?
I like to play Gruene Hall: it’s close to home and there’s always an energetic crowd and I like a high energy crowd.
Who are some of your influences?
Bruce Springsteen, Lyle Lovett, Lynard Skynard, Robert Earl Keen, The Allman Brothers, Guy Clark. There are really too many to list, but that’s a few.
What has been your most memorable moment since you started performing in front of a crowd?
Playing in New York and seeing the fans get the music – it was a great feeling.
Is there anything about you that would surprise your fans?
I am extremely private and quiet away from the stage, almost introverted.
What is your hometown?
Dallas is where I grew up. I live in New Braunfels now.
How did you get started in music?
I was going to school in College Station and my roommate had a guitar. He taught me two chords and I taught myself a few more. I started writing and going to open mic nights and playing any place that would let me. I went home and told my family I was going to start a band and pursue music and, now, here I am.
How would you describe your song writing process?
I would say (in the past) it’s usually kind of piece mill. If I have a thought or an idea, I write it down. A song may come from something I wrote down a month or even a year ago.
When you decide to do an album, do you have a number of songs that you chose from, or do you write enough just for the album?
When I have enough quality songs written to make an album, I go in the studio and record them. I don’t sift through songs and say ‘I’ll record this one and not this one.’ I feel that’s the best way to stay honest to my fans and myself. Not all of the songs will hit and I may hear something I’ve written after the fact and wonder if I should have done this or that, but hopefully it will impact someone in a good way. I just put myself out there and it is what it is. I’m not smart enough or good enough to write any other way – I just try to be true to myself and to my fans.
Is it hard for you to collaborate with other artists when writing?
It’s very hard for me because I’m so guarded in my personal life away from work. Songwriting is personal to me and it can be difficult to set with another person and say “Ok – here are some of the most painful times in my life…or, this was a special time – now, let’s write a song about that.” I have co-written before – I wrote “Resurrection” with Wade, but it was really on a fluke. He lives in New Braunfels so I invited him over and after a few beers I said, “Hey I’ve got this song I’m working on…what do you think?” and we finished the song that night. Sometimes, it happens by accident – like the time I was sitting on Ragweed’s bus talking to Cody about a song he was writing. He read a few lines of it, I threw out “fire in a hole, look out down below.” Cody liked that and gave me co-writer credit for a line-and-a-half. The last few months, I’ve been spending some time in Nashville co-writing; and I gotta say, so far, so good. There are some incredible writers in that town.
Where did the name (“The Future Aint What It Used To Be”) of the new album come from?
It’s about a change of perspective. When you’re twenty-five you look at the future one way, and then when you’re thirty, you look at things differently.