Sophie & The Broken Things Premiere New Single, “Churches & Bars” Ahead Of New Album, Delusions Of Grandeur
I was just getting to know Sophie Gault in January of 2020 when the band released their eponymous ep and played our last Local Brew Live show. It doesn’t seem like two years have gone by, but here we are in January of 2022 with the band’s sophomore release, a full length called, Delusions Of Grandeur set to be released February 25th on Petaluma Records. The first single from the album is a duet with Logan Ledger called, “Trouble” and WMOT premiered the new one, “Churches & Bars” yesterday on the Daily Local Brew. I caught up with Sophie about the new album, playing some lead guitar on it and how a chance encounter with Americana icon, Julie Miller led to the band’s name.
AnaLee: From the title, “Churches & Bars” sounds like you could have been anywhere in Nashville and found the inspiration for this song, but it’s about a town in upstate New York where you used to live and actually started writing this song. I love the fingerpicking in the beginning and the electric guitar too! Take us through this song’s beginnings to its evolution after your move to Nashville, and about playing some electric on this one.
Sophie: Yeah, the song screams Nashville. The themes and imagery are definitely all there— the drinking, broken hearts and petty jealousies. But that’s everywhere. I added the Patsy Cline “She’s Got You” reference the year I moved to Nashville. Twon came up with the riff that repeats, and that added a nice touch. Jules tore it up on guitar. I had fun recording some electric guitar of my own - playing the fuzzed out riff and dueling a little bit with Jules in the solo.
AnaLee: The first track you released ahead of the new album is a duet with Logan Ledger called, “Trouble”. Cool slide in this tune and I like that you worked “broken things” into the lyrics, and we’ll get to the significance of that phrase in a bit, but first tell us about this song and how working with Logan came about.
Sophie: Trouble was another one I took with me from Oneonta. I’m glad you liked the slide! The guitar I did on this song was sort of a love letter to all my favorite guitar players like Bonnie Raitt and Jorma Kaukonen. I met Logan shortly after I moved to Nashville in 2014. I’d seen him sing at Santa’s Pub and we had mutual friends. When I heard his debut album I was really impressed and we all collectively agreed he would be a great fit to sing on Trouble. He’s such a sweet person, and an absolute professional. It was fun working with him.
AnaLee: Would you tell us about meeting Julie Miller at Bobby’s Idle Hour and what moved you to name your band after her album, Broken Things?
Sophie: The funny thing is, it’s not unusual at all to run into your favorite songwriters in town. But what was kismet about it is that I’d just been listening to the song “Chalk”. I remember being so moved by the song, and then just moments later at the Idle Hour I got to stand next to her and tell her that. A few days later I was driving to work and reached over to grab a random CD to listen to - my mom’s old copy of Emmylou Harris’ Stumble Into Grace. The first song comes on, and it’s Julie Miller singing harmonies. I’d never known she was on that album, and I’d heard it a thousand times. It was an “ah-ha!” moment and that’s when I decided to name my band after one of her songs. I chose “Broken Things” because I love the album and its namesake song - it just clicked. In a world that’s extremely lacking in empathy, where mental illness is so widespread, the phrase “broken things” is significant to me because there are so many ways that people are broken these days.
.AnaLee: Can you talk a little about your dad’s influence on your music and your playing?
Sophie: My dad was a pest control technician for years, so he used to spend his days going under crawl spaces and carrying around chemicals and equipment. He is also a Vietnam vet, so music was always a healthy outlet for him. He’s a great guitar player and he loves Muddy Waters and early Rolling Stones. He used to jam out in our basement in Temple Hills, MD where he had a picture of Robert Johnson on the wall. I’d hear him playing his guitar and blasting the Stones’ “Beggar’s Banquet”. He didn’t have a teacher; he’d just play along with his favorite musicians. I learned that from him. Both my parents had eclectic taste in music. In the house I’d hear anything from Earth, Wind, & Fire to Sting to Antonio Carlos Jobim.
AnaLee: The new album, Delusions of Grandeur is set for release February 25th on Petaluma Records. Can you talk a little about recording the record, your crew and how Grammy winning producer Ray Kennedy (Steve Earle, Rodney Crowell, Lucinda Williams) helped out.
Sophie: We’ve been waiting almost 2 years to release it, so we are so ready to share it with everyone! During the tracking at Ryon Westover’s Grey Gardens studio, we all just had fun tossing ideas back and forth. It was a good distraction from everything going on at that time - June of 2020. We exchanged lots of excited glances as we were listening back in the control room. The chemistry was great.
Ray Kennedy did the final mixes. He was so supportive throughout the entire process and treated the record with a lot of care and respect. I grew up listening to music he’s either produced or mixed, so there were times talking to him that felt kind of surreal. And he taught me a lot about the mixing and production process, so I’m really grateful to have met him.
The icing on the cake is that we were lucky enough to have additions from veterans like Siobhan Maher Kennedy, whose voice is so majestic, and Russ Pahl who’s a well-known session player and has played on countless recordings.
AnaLee: Thanks for chatting today, I hope to see you at a show soon! I know it’s all up in the air again, but have you been able to plan anything like a tour or hometown show around the release?
Sophie: Thank you so much AnaLee! The only thing we have planned right now is our Delusions of Grandeur release show at the 5 Spot on 2/12. Navigating touring these days is challenging, but making this record has taught me that when there’s a will there’s a way!
“Churches & Bars”
“Trouble” featuring Logan Ledger