New Music Monday! Featuring Gayle Skidmore

by Jamie Deering

New Music Monday! Featuring Gayle Skidmore, a respected San Diego musician performing her recently written song “Movin' On” with a style all her own on a Vega #2 banjo. This is the first “Deering Factory Sessions” video, directed by our friends The Joelsons.

“Movin' On” is not yet recorded…we will let you know as soon as it is! However, you may have the chance to see Gayle perform live coming up as she is heading out on a West Coast tour in a few days! You can check out if she is playing at a venue near you here . If you get a chance to see her on the road, give her a big hello from Deering!

As part of this week's "New Music Monday!" I also had the chance to ask Gayle a few personal questions to get to know more of who she is beyond the typical standard questions musicians are asked every day. May you enjoy a step into the world of a creative woman…

J- What capitalizes your time when you are not working on your music?

G- I spend most of my time doing something related to music, but in the rare hours that I’m not working on it, I enjoy painting, drawing, swing dancing, and reading nerdy fantasy novels. I’m also learning Italian. I toured in Florence a few years ago and fell completely in love with the language.  I hope to be fluent, eventually, and can’t wait to return to Italy.

J- It is a known fact you are quite a cook and baker of delectable cookies that you bring to your shows for friends and fans, what is your favorite thing to make?

G- My favorite thing to bake is blackberry pie. Growing up, whenever my family would visit our relatives in Seattle, we’d always bake pies together.  My aunts and grandmothers had berry patches in their back yards, and my sisters and I always loved picking baskets of blackberries and making pies together.

J- What would be your place of choice and activity when out on a Saturday night with friends?

G- I really enjoy having game nights with friends.  I used to do that pretty consistently, but it gets difficult when I’m touring a lot.  Music requires me to be very social all the time, so when I get a chance to hang out with friends and do something mellow I really enjoy that.  For instance, I’ve been having Dr. Who nights at my house with a group of friends and initiating them into the weird world of “Whovians”. (You know all about this, Jamie!)

J- Tell me about one of the most amusing, or special moments that comes to mind that you experienced while on the road.

G- Traveling as much as I do, I’ve accumulated a myriad of crazy stories from the road.  A few of the most memorable moments have come from my travels in the UK and Europe. My favorite show of my life was in Munich, Germany… but I think I’ll share one of the strange ones.  While living abroad in Oxford, England, I played a show in Jericho at Freud’s.  During one of my songs, a drunk old man apparently snuck up on stage behind me and leaned over my shoulder. I shrieked with surprise and jumped away from him and security ran up to escort him out of the building.  It was probably a little scary and awkward, but it struck me as really funny and I couldn’t stop giggling because it was such a strange surprise.

J- How many states have you gotten to visit in touring so far?

G- I’ve gotten to visit 25 states so far, and have also hopped across the pond a few times. I hope to get to a few new ones this year! I’ve never been to Florida and I recently received an invitation to play a few shows in Miami, so I’m considering heading there this fall.

J- Seeing how much you have already done…what things or places are still on your bucket list?!

G- Finland is still glaring at me from my bucket list.  A few years ago, I applied for a Fulbright Grant to the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, which I sadly did not receive (it’s quite competitive).   I began learning Finnish with my mother, who is half Finn, and researching the country extensively.  My grandma and great aunt both spoke a bit of Finnish, and I grew up making oholeipä and rossoli (Finnish beetroot salad).  I hear amazing things about the indie music scene there and can’t wait to get over there and tour around a bit!

J- What question have you been asked the most throughout your career?

G- “What’s your real job?”

J- Right now, what is your favorite song to play on the banjo?

G- I love playing my song “Unfamiliar Lights,” which I wrote while touring in Paris. My strings players, Marta Blalock and Erdis Maxhelaku, came up with a beautiful arrangement for the song and I can’t wait to record it!

J- Tell me about 3 musicians who have greatly influenced your music and why?

G- Damien Rice broke my heart with “O.” My old flat mate gave me a copy of it and I listened to it for months on end.  I had just gotten my heart broken, and that album got me through the heartbreak, or maybe it made it worse.  I don’t know. Anyhow, it helped me to cry it out.  It also inspired me to pursue my ideas for string compositions.

Clare and the Reasons, my absolute favorite band of all time, has inspired me to be more free with my writing.  Clare is such a creative lyricist, and writes the loveliest songs I’ve ever heard, but what really strikes me is her arrangements.   She uses eclectic instruments and just gorgeous string arrangements… and they put on one of the best live shows I've ever seen.  I had the privilege of seeing them play at The Standard Hotel in Manhattan at a secret show, and it was definitely an inspiring show.

Lhasa De Sela’s voice and inflection has influence the way that I sing. I sound nothing like her, but the way that she sings is so smoky and sultry that it draws me in in a way that not a lot of other singers have done.  I got really obsessed with her song “Con Toda Palabra” for a while, and considered writing a few songs in Spanish. I wrote a few in Italian instead.  They didn't have the same effect, and it’s likely no one will ever hear them.

J- Is there a memory that whenever it comes to mind you cannot help but smile?

G- I am fortunate to have many memories that make me smile.  One that makes me laugh when I think about it is my birthday this year. I had a wine and cheese party that ended with my best friend and her sister and I roller-skating around inside my house at three in the morning laughing ‘til our stomachs hurt.  I've gone through a lot of trials over the last few years, and have written literally hundreds of songs about loss, death, heartache, confusion, and hopelessness, so I value moments like that more than I can say.  It was super ridiculous.

J- If you could describe the current state of the world in 5 words, what would it be?

G- Whoa, that is a tough one. I’ll have to say, without much concern for tense:  Chaotic, Broken, Striving, Creating, Hopeful.

Those are the first words that come to mind. I’m going to be thinking about that question for a while….



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