Lennie Loftin
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Lennie Loftin

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Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

Lennie Loftin - The Cape Fear Sessions

One of my most vivid childhood memories is of my mom cooking in the kitchen, patting her thigh and swaying to the songs on the Country radio station… songs like Ode to Billy Joe, Tall Dark Stranger, and Coat of Many Colors. Pink Floyd, The Beatles, and The Who were more my style… but the hick-soul sounds that cried out of our little counter-top radio were undeniable. Both genres influenced the way I write songs today… howling dogs… love found and lost… and the things that go bump in your mind.
I grew up next to the railroad tracks on a dead end street in a tiny North Carolina tobacco town. My mom and dad weren’t happy together. At age eight I knew I wanted to be an actor. I started doing the little kid roles in the local high school plays. I needed to be out at night, out in the world, even then. Maybe it was the tension at home. Maybe I was just born with an acting jones. I don’t know. But, I wanted more… more attention… more everything. I never felt like I choose acting. It chose me. I had a chatty little monkey on my back. I loved music and played in bands in high school… but by college I was sure that acting was my real ticket out. Skip forward four years…
The day I graduated, I got into a car and drove six hundred miles north to New York City. In eleven years, I only had two different Manhattan addresses: Amsterdam between 95th and 96th, and 9th Avenue at 44th. Those neighborhoods were like exotic, tight knit small towns dropped onto an urban concrete grid. There was protocol among the locals. There was opportunity or danger at each corner. Ever see the film “After Hours”? It was just like that, I swear. The streets were populated with pizza shops, stockbrokers, painters, swank restaurants, rats aplenty, pimps in dive bars, doll-faced prostitutes… and the pregnant one with the cigarette clamped in her teeth and a halo brace screwed into her skull. There were con men, cops on horseback, cats in alleys, needles on my doorstep… and there were actors… actors everywhere. They came. They went. They worked… or, they never did… the barmaid from Montana who came seeking fame but only found another place to disappear. Without my friends from college, I may not have made it there two years. Who knows? But, I stayed and I worked on the stage, and I worked in restaurants. I flourished and I floundered. It was home for a while.
In 1993, I landed a job in the film The Quick and the Dead. I can’t completely tell the rest of this story without mentioning my buddy Russell Crowe. I already know that he would prefer that I simply talk about the music… but our friendship and our connection through music definitely influenced this project…
We met on the movie set, the scene where Russ wakes up shackled to the fountain in the town square. My dirty hand reaches into frame. I strike a wooden match off his grizzled beard, light my cigar, and challenge him to a gunfight…
We worked all day until just after dark, then rode back to Tucson in a film company transportation van. With the radio blaring, our conversation naturally veered towards music. He told me about his band, Thirty Odd Foot of Grunts. I told him I had played and written songs in high school, but nothing since… and I told him about my brother, J.K., a monster guitarist with his own recording studio in Wilmington, N.C. We ended up having a couple of pints and talking about work and music all evening.
Over the next few years, I hung out at a couple of recording sessions with the Grunts as they tracked their albums. I sang backing vocals on The Photograph Kills and Swept Away Bayou. That time in the studio got me itching…
In late 1997, a song popped into my head out of nowhere. That Christmas, I asked my brother to grab his guitar and help me work on the song in his studio. He did. The next Christmas, I had a few more songs. This time my brother gave me his old Alvarez acoustic and told me I should learn to play again… said my songs were pretty good.
In 2002, Dave Wilkins (Grunts) and I sat down a couple of evenings and talked about my songs and about the instruments I imagined inhabiting the arrangements… “Acoustic guitars, sweeping pedal steel, and a lot of Hammond B3 organ… something between Willie Nelson and Pink Floyd.” He agreed. I worked on the film “Daredevil” that June and July. In August, we went to record at my brother’s studio for a month.
I could yammer on and on about how everything came together, but maybe it’s time to shut my pie hole and let you check out the tunes. I’d like to mention a couple of the main players first: Terry Nash learned to play keyboards on the Hammond organ. He’s a wizard. Donny Wynn (Robert Palmer) and Jon Blondell laid down drums and bass respectively at Willie Nelson’s Arlyn Studios… Amazing! Clyde Maddocks, a local N.C. pedal steel and Dobro player bent some tasteful, twisted notes… check out Tarantulas Dancing, Rat on a Wheel and The Deadest Man Alive. Derwin Hinson, t