Stoney LaRue gets mellow with new album "Velvet," playing College Days tonight in Stillwater
A version of this story appears in Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman. To read my interview with the reunited Great Divide, click here.
Stoney LaRue gets smoother, mellower with new album “Velvet”
The red dirt standout will play a CD release show Monday at the Wormy Dog Saloon and open for the reunited Great Divide tonight at College Days in Stillwater.
Stoney LaRue hopes his fans can feel the love and artistry he has put into his long-awaited new album “Velvet” from the moment they get it in their eager hands.
After all, the CD cover comes draped in rich red faux velvet. Such finger-pleasing fancies are a rarity in the download era, and the red dirt standout said he and his management company spent hours figuring out how to make it happen.
“If you have a record deal or something like that, they try to cut costs and corners and then give you a product that is to the lowest bidder. But since I don’t have a record deal and I’ve been self-sufficient my entire career, I get to call the shots on how my product is packaged. So whenever we came up with the ‘Velvet’ thing, I said, ‘Wouldn’t be cool if the whole cover was velvety,’ and believe me we had to pull some teeth to get it done,” LaRue said in a recent phone interview from the road in Montana, far from his Edmond home.
“You know, I figure if I’m going to take about six years between my last (studio) album and this one, it’s gotta be something great, it’s gotta be something that’s art in every way. And I hope that’s something that comes across.”
The Taft, Texas-born and southeastern Oklahoma-bred singer-songwriter can’t quite articulate why it took so long for him to make a follow-up to his first studio effort, 2005’s “The Red Dirt Album.” But he has been fairly busy.
“We recorded ‘Live at Billy Bob’s’ (in 2007) two weeks after I put my band together, which is kind of unheard of. Then after that we released the album and it kind of took off from there. And I spend a lot of time touring — and what I mean by a lot of time is 262 days … last year — and when you’re traveling that much, it’s hard to find time for other things,” said LaRue, who also issued a live acoustic album in 2009.
But he also has philosophical reasons for not rushing into his sophomore studio album.
“People are trying to put out quantity instead of quality, I think. A lot of people are putting out … three or four albums a year or something like that. I think as a result, you know, music is kind of suffering because it’s not really quality some of it. They don’t take their time on it. It’s just like, ‘Oh, I’ve got some of the same stuff that we did before, here, try this.’
Although he has been honing his craft onstage for 12 years, the indie musician considers “Velvet” is first truly professional recording experience, and he was able to line up top-notch talents to help him. Frank Liddell, who has helmed projects by Tishomingo resident Miranda Lambert, Jack Ingram and Lee Ann Womack, signed on to produce “Velvet.”
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