On April 20, Eric Corne will release his new studio album, Happy Songs For The Apocalypse. Known for his production work for blues greats like John Mayall and Walter Trout, Corne has also become an integral part of Los Angeles’ country scene, having had a hand in projects from up-and-coming artists like Jaime Wyatt and Sam Morrow via his label Forty Below Records.
Corne pulls together the sum total of his influences on Happy Songs For The Apocalypse, an album that, true to its title, confronts today’s complex social issues with a critic’s eye, careful optimism, and a fusion of rock, blues, country, and folk. To help pull off such an ambitious project, Corne called upon musical friends like guitarist/fiddle player Freddy Koella (k.d. lang), keyboardist Bo Koster (My Morning Jacket), and bassist Joe Karnes (Fitz and the Tantrums), to name a handful.
Stream the new album and read a short Q&A with Corne about the project below.
Lyrically, this record tackles a lot of current societal ills. Why was it important to you to write about that?
I’ve always been drawn to songs with socially conscious lyrics, especially ones that tell a story or paint a picture while making strong points. There’s a lot of injustice, corruption and manipulation of the truth in our world today and I think it’s important to speak out in a democracy.
Especially with your label Forty Below Records, you’re a big part of the revitalized L.A. country music scene. What has been like for you to watch it rise again?
I was very lucky to meet Dusty Wakeman and become his head engineer at Mad Dog Studios. Dusty is directly connected to the rich history of California country music. He played bass with Buck Owens, engineered all of the seminal Dwight records and co-produced Lucinda Williams’ first two records.
The vision with Forty Below was to build a bridge between all of these legendary musicians I was working with at Mad Dog and the talented young up-and-coming artists I was also working with. So, to now see artists like Jaime Wyatt and Sam Morrow have national success and in turn bring that attention back to the scene is a really exciting thing to be a part of. We’ve got something special cooking in LA again.
This record draws from a lot of different inspirations, yet still has a cohesiveness overall. What do you feel is the through line for the record?
I wanted the scope of the record to be quite broad and varied in terms of style and instrumentation yet cohesive. So, I used only organic, vintage instruments and equipment and then combined them with more modern sonics in terms of a bigger bass and a crisp, clear mid-range.