Jeremy Garrett, of The Infamous Stringdusters, returns with a solo release recorded in his RV.
A few years back, my older son and I were camping outside of Asheville and we met a retired couple who, following the end of their working days, sold their house and all of their belongings, bought an RV, and hit the road. The couple told me of calling Florida home base but spending the spring, summer, and fall at campgrounds throughout the country. After their stint in Asheville, they said, they were going to the New York’s Adirondack Mountains for a month before heading to Pennsylvania.
Admittedly, I was fascinated by the freedom of this lifestyle. I chatted about it with my wife when I returned home and told her how cool I thought it was.
“Don’t get any ideas.”
But Jeremy Garrett, fiddler for The Infamous Stringdusters, and his wife, Connie, had just that idea. They traded their traditional house in Nashville for a home on wheels in 2013 and have spent 2015 pointing their RV towards destinations all around the U.S.A.
Last month, Jeremy released The RV Sessions, his first solo record since 2009’s I Am A Stranger, and – as the name implies – the record was recorded, and often written, within the confines of his traveling home.
I recently chatted with Jeremy about the new record and his new vagabond lifestyle.
BRO – Giving up a house for life in an RV couldn’t have been an easy decision. Whose idea was it and how did you make it happen?
JG – About five years ago, Connie and I rented a Rialta, a small RV, for a two week trip around the West to visit some relatives. We thought it would be fun and we wanted to save a little money on the trip. We had the time of our lives and we both expressed to each other that we had to figure out away to do this all the time. We started making plans and sold our house in Nashville and bought the rig. We practiced living in it for a year in Nashville and launched it full time in January. We have had a blast discovering more and more of this great country together. My schedule with the ‘Dusters keeps me away a lot and this has actually given us more time together because of the way I can leap frog with my touring. We are a little over half way around our circle of the U.S. and are already talking about another.
BRO – In five words or less, finish this sentence. “The best part of life in an RV is . . . “
JG – . . . being location neutral.
BRO – In five words or less, finish this sentence. “The worst part of life in an RV is . . . “
JG – Connie says, “Laundry!”
BRO – You have had the opportunity to record in some pretty amazing spaces. How do the acoustics of the RV stack up against your favorite studios?
JG – I think it sounds amazing in the RV. There’s a live sound that comes with it. Sometimes you hear that occasional bird, or once in a while some other sounds gets picked up by the mic. You might even hear a cat meow in the background of one of the songs. I tried to pick the quietest camping spots to do my recording. It may not be the Sound Emporium, but these days, with gear the way it is, I think there are a lot of people that couldn’t tell the difference.
BRO – We are featuring “Lean On Love” on this month’s Trail Mix. What’s the story behind the song?
JG – This was co-written with my frequent songwriting partner Jon Weisenberger and was written about exactly what we were feeling that day. We had gotten together to write and, as we often do, got to discussing what was going on in our lives that we could write about. There was a theme that kept surfacing and it had a lot to do with the admiration that we had for people in our lives that love us, look out for us, and support us. If you lean on it, that love really does make life easier and richer. It you let people lean on you, it makes their lives easier and richer. Love is the ultimate.
BRO – Be honest. How often do you look at your recreational vehicle and say, “That there, that’s an RV.”?
JG – It feels like home to me. When I get off tour with the ‘Dusters and play my own shows, I always have my home – my king sized bed, hot shower, coffee pot – with me. I’ve owned a house and an RV now and, I have to say, my experience is that it is way less hassle and cheaper to do the RV thing. I never have to put on a new roof or mow the lawn. I never have to pay for garbage or water or sewer. Once in a while we have a mechanical problem, and that can be a pain, but the trade off for that is that last week Crater Lake was our backyard. We love it. We’ll probably end up getting some real estate again at some point, but I can’t imagine not always having some sort of RV at least for leisure travel. It’s not for everyone, but it fits us great.
Jeremy just wrapped up some solo dates and will soon hit the road with The Infamous Stringdusters. You can catch Jeremy and his ‘Duster mates at the Grey Fox Bluegrass Fest, Northwest String Summit, and Rockygrass later this month.
For more information on Jeremy Garrett, how you can grab the new record, or when he might come to a town near you for a solo show or with the ‘Dusters, please check out his website.