After a battle with cancer, a devastating divorce, and a nervous breakdown, DL Rossi is about to release his third album, Lonesome Kind April 16th. While Rossi has built a following on his brand of introspective singer-songwriter rock, this album explores some different, sort of more loose, even uplifting sounds to accompany the melancholy. He’s released two singles from the album so far, “Whiskey” and “Tumbling”. DL fills us in on the video for Tumbling, making the new album in Nashville after having just moved back to his home state of Michigan and what he’ll be doing to celebrate its release in a couple of weeks.
AnaLee: Congratulation on a beautifully sad yet uplifting collection of songs. Obviously, everyone’s had a rough year but it seems like things were coming down especially hard on you, yet you have managed to see your way through to a very relatable, easy to listen to and even comforting album. Can you talk about the making of Lonesome Kind? Your collaborators, where you made it and if your process of preparing for and recording this album differed from past efforts.
DL: Thanks, AnaLee! Making this album definitely seemed like a question mark at first. When the pandemic first really kicked in and things were shutting down it didn’t feel like it was going to happen. But after a few months my co-producers Nolan Rossi and Tyler Chester had put together a plan where we could record the record at my brother's studio in Nashville, socially distanced and remotely at the same time. We worked in separate sections of my brothers studio and over Zoom so we could talk with Tyler who was in LA. Ross McReynolds, who played drums on the album would come in at the beginning of the day and we would just leave the front door open for him so he could let himself in and walk to the drum room in the studio and my brother and I would be in the control room and we would all communicate via laptops and iPads over zoom. It was a different experience because none of us had really been working on anything for a few months so the spirit in the studio was very open and collaborative. I was so happy to be working on the album with such talented musicians and they all brought a positive spirit to the process. Each day we would just start from scratch on each song, I’d play it a few times on acoustic and we'd throw ideas around until we felt like we had a skeleton for the song. Then Ross and I would track a live take of us playing, and from there, Nolan and Tyler would start working their magic on ideas and parts. By lunch Ross would lay some percussion over what we had and we essentially would have a song that was 75% done. We did this for about two weeks and then added the work of Laura Jean Anderson and Felicity Williams on backing vocals and the talented Juan Solorzano added a few lead guitar parts. Then my brother Nolan Rossi just had to mix and edit.
It was a really rewarding and once in a lifetime experience to be able to make the album in the midst of what was going on in the world at the time. In many ways it was the highlight of my year and something that lifted my spirits and brought me a lot of hope. Going into the album, I didn’t plan as much as I normally do. I really wanted each musician who played on the album to feel like they were being given a chunk of true real estate on the album. A place they could speak for themselves. Ultimately the sound on this album is a result of that effect and the way everyone responded. They really brought the best of themselves and again, I’m extremely thankful for them.
AnaLee: Your latest single, “Tumbling” has a great nostalgic almost summertime feel and the video compliments it perfectly! Tell us a little about the song and working with Jax Anderson on the video.
DL: Yes, the song and music video came out beautifully. Writing this song, I was really listening to a lot of songs in the vein of The Book of Love by The Magnetic Fields and Could it be Another Change by The Samples. I wanted the song to feel the way the words felt to me. It’s melancholy but it’s also at peace with itself. The song is basically saying: “Yeah, my life hasn’t turned out the way I thought and finding a person I can spend my whole life with isn’t panning out, but I’m ok with it and I’m not going to be mad about it.”
When I sent the album to Jax Anderson (who directed, shot, and edited the music video) she was drawn to the song for those exact reasons. We shot the video in downtown Detroit and I remember us getting a coffee before we started shooting and talking about what drew her into the song and the concept behind the video. She really felt drawn into that idea of seeing the traditional norms we all were taught and we both were just sharing personal stories that connected. I knew the video was in good hands. It’s always nice when you know you are working with a person who is not only a world class talent but they also connect to the heart of a song. I think Jax created a wonderful story and world that connected to the song perfectly.
AnaLee: I’ve been known to buy albums in stores solely based on the artwork. I’ve been disappointed and I’ve been pleasantly surprised. This album art drew me in and this would’ve fallen in the pleasantly surprised column. It’s lonesome feel fits for an album titled Lonesome Kind, with songs and sounds to match.
DL: Andrew Berkemeyer did the artwork, he lives in Nashville now and makes music under the name Van Andrew. (https://dribbble.com/andrewberk) I was really taken by a painting by Casper David Friedrich called “The Lonely Tree” while I was writing the album and it’s still the background to my iPhone home screen. It seemed to translate the feeling I had about this album of being lonely but content. I wanted to have that come out in the art. I chose Andrew because we had worked together before and I knew he could add his own spin to it with a southwest flair and bring a color palette in that would make the idea his own. I love the way the artwork brings you directly into a mood, one that is relaxing and calming. Which I hope the music does as well.
AnaLee: As we slowly ease back into live shows, it looks like you’ve got something outdoors at the original Basement in Nashville. Can you fill us in?
DL: Yes, I’m super excited to be back in Nashville at one of my favorite venues The Basement on April 17th playing with some wonderful artists: Elijah Ocean, The Danberrys, Phoebe Hunt, and King Corduroy. It’s all in partnership with Sweetheart Pub and will be socially distanced. I am excited to have some of the guys who played on the record in my band. It will be super fun to be able to play these songs for the first time. I’m really looking forward to it!