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Interview: Charlie Ballantine's "Cold Coffee"
Posted June 30, 2019 by Mina Keohane
WRITTEN BY
Mina Keohane
ON
June 30, 2019
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Indianapolis-based guitarist Charlie Ballantine has a new album  called "Cold Coffee" coming out. He's had a wide range of styles in compositions and cover tunes in his album history, including one entirely of Bob Dylan instrumentals. I was able to chit chat with Charlie about his new project and the direction he's heading in with "Cold Coffee".
 
You've got a new album coming out (hooray!). Your last album was a re-interpretation of Bob Dylan songs. Is this new record going in a different direction from that one, and if so how? 
 
CB: I did decide to go a different direction with this one. It was tough trying to figure out what to do after we did “Life Is Brief: The Music Of Bob Dylan”. We actually recorded a full length album of jazz standards shortly after the Dylan album and it really just felt like we needed to have some more original music. So we decided to scrap the standards record, find some inspiration, and write a new record. 
 
The new record is titled "Cold Coffee". So...what's the story with that?
 
CB: So after being immersed in the music of Bob Dylan for a year I was having a lot of trouble writing. My ear was so used to his sound that everything I wrote just didn’t feel right. I’ve always been a quantity over quality kind of writer and I wrote so many bad songs in that period haha. But around The middle of October in a 2-3 week period I wrote the entire record “Cold Coffee” and was really writing heavily every night from midnight-4am being fueled entirely by half drunken cups of coffee from earlier in the day that I had left around the house. 
 
I saw your video for "Strange Idea" highlighted on the JazzTimes website. Congratulations on being featured there! I really love that tune. It has a vibe that's a little different from some of your other original tunes I've heard. What was your approach with that one?
 
CB: Yeah, that one really came out of left field. It was the first one I wrote for this record and It’s a really tense tune with some dissonant harmonies which probably came out of the frustrating writers block I was having at the time. But as soon as I wrote the opening riff I immediately started thinking of all the cool things that Chris Parker (Drums) and Jesse Wittman (Bass) would add to it. And they absolutely killed it! They created a really cool vibe on that one and we were lucky to have Fred Miller there to capture us tracking it on video. 
 
How was the recording process/experience at Postal? Is it the same band you've used previously?
 
Yeah, this was our third record at Postal and we all three really love the vibe over there.  We decided to record all in one room without headphones which was a little scary knowing we couldn't go back and fix anything but it also rendered some very cool and organic musical results. Also Alex and Tyler, the engineers at Postal, order the best Thai and Indian food for lunch. Seriously.
 
I know you've been touring on this record for a minute, how has that  been going and how is the reception to this new record from people who may know you just from the Bob Dylan joints?
 
CB: Yeah, we are pretty close to wrapping up the first leg of touring on this record and the reception has been great so far.  One thing the Bob Dylan record really helped with was just introducing our sound to a huge group of people who may not have heard it if it was just another original jazz album. It really still blows my mind how vast his reach is  and the sheer volume of people who follow everything about him (including obscure jazz cover albums). So that has still helped us a lot with drawing people to venues and connecting with fans even though we aren’t playing that music currently. 
 
When/where is the release party and where can people find the tunes out in the universe? 
 
CB: We are playing a vinyl release party at the Jazz Kitchen on July 6th! Two shows 7 & 9:30. Our music will be everywhere digitally and otherwise on July 12th and you can still pre order at my website charlieballantine.com
 
Anything else you'd like people to know about you and your new album "Cold Coffee"?

CB: Under no circumstances should anyone check out this record. 

Well I would beg to differ. ;) ESPECIALLY if you want to check it out second set on July 6th. That's where I'll be.

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