CMO: I see that you wrote or co-wrote all 11 songs on the album "Waitin' on Joe." Where do you find the ideas and inspirations, when writing a song?
SA: They can come from any conversation I may have with somebody. Or watching somebody go through watching friends. Or people I meet go through a little bit of a crisis in their life. I came from the Mississippi Delta where the blues always make you feel good about your pain. For some reason, I just inherited that thing about writing where I find something kind of wrong. Write about it, and create a silver lining where people know it's going to be alright. I get all my inspiration from you guys.
CMO: What is your favorite song you've written and why?
SA: The most important song I've ever wrote was "Waitin' on Joe" because I've been writing songs since I was eleven or twelve, a lot of them were preparation for songs like "Waitin' on Joe." For this record, it was the most important song because I really feel like it helped me land my record deal as well as get focused. It gave my album a focus. From the cover, to inside, everything written inside that I wrote and it brought me home to the Mississippi Delta which is another huge influence on my songs. So the Mississippi River, hard-working people, Underdog, people who are working their tails off. Every song on the record has a direct title, "Waitin' on Joe." So, I suppose that would be the one.
CMO: What inspired you to write "Waitin' On Joe?"
SA: My uncle Joe who passed away. He died of cancer and so to me the train was the cancer. I think everybody has their own Joe that their waiting on. Whether it is somebody or some thing and that's what the narrative of the video with Morgan Freeman was about. That people know that try not to lose focus on what you got, why you want take for granite for those great beautiful things you have in your life, while you're waiting on other things. It becomes a juggling act. It's hard to do.
CMO: How long did it take to make the video "Waitin' on Joe?"
SA: It took about three days to make it and about a day to edit it. It was quite a chore. The Delta was hot. It was a little over a hundred degrees probably every day so we were sweating up a storm. I'm not real big on make-up or anything. I'm not that guy. Just an occasional thing. Some times, on TV they make you, to keep a glare off. The gloss off or whatever. The shine, they call it. I fight them on that. The great thing about the "Waitin' on Joe" video was I was too hot. They couldn't put any on me. I just got to sweat. That was the good thing. I felt like a man.
CMO: I know that some of your family members where in the video. Who was in the video?
SA: My son was in the video. My seven year old son. He was six then. Strack. He did a great job. The guy that used to own the club, that we used to play so much, called the Junction. Mark Collie, myself. It was a pretty cool place to play. It was grounds for me to learn how to play. It was home for us. It marks Mississippi. It attracted people from Delta State, Northwest College in Memphis, and then it attracted all the locals. It was a cool thing to see the mixture of crowd people that wouldn't be necessarily hanging out together, hanging together in total harmony. Those were great times.
CMO: Does Music run in your family?
SA: I don't think it does. I don't know where I got it from. I always used to tell my family that I must have been adopted. I'm just joking. I fell in love with it very young. Sports pacified me. I played every sport I knew. Football, basketball, baseball, tennis, golf. I played everything. It just kind of pacified me while I was growing up. Once I got to college, and was still playing some sports, the band was just in full swing. We never looked back.
CMO: What are some of your likes and dislikes about touring?
SA: No dislikes. I love working. It's one thing when you write the song, but it's another thing when you record them, but if you don't get to go play them for people, so if there's any dislikes, I don't pay attention to them. I guess there is one thing. It's being away from my family. Obviously, that's a dislike at any time. We all have to go to work, and we all have to walk out the door, and go do what we do. That we all do, so I can't really gripe about that part.
CMO: What do you do on the road to take up time?
SA: Right now, I've been writing my next record. Been putting it together. Other than that, my band and I really get along. We are like a family on the bus. With 11 of you on a bus, you better get along and there are no clicks or anything. I play golf if I get time, but I haven't had much time.
CMO: What goals have you accomplished and what do you still want to accomplish with your music career?
SA: When we do what we do, we really can't set a goal, I don't think you can. I just think you take it a day at a time and be grateful for having an opportunity. When you find an opportunity, you work really hard. Twice as hard. You give everything you got and if you can't go anymore, you go again. I've never been a goal-setter, if you take care of the music, it will take care of me. If we all take care of what we are doing in our lives and really work hard at it, it may not promise you riches in the word, but it does take care of you. That's what my dad always said so I've kind of stolen that phrase now.
CMO: What motivates you to do this everyday?
SA: I just love it. When what brings you down, of not getting an opportunity to do this thing and you can go and write a song about it and it makes you feel good. That motivates you. First of all, it's medicine for your own soul. Second of all, people out there need it. They need music especially now. We're out there doing it.
CMO: How would you describe a typical day in the studio?
SA: With us, it's late nights. Some times we come in at daylight, so it'd dawn. It's relaxed. It's enjoyable. We're patient. We spend more time on parts and making sure things are right and they feel right. It's actually very relaxing. I've been in the studio all day yesterday, and time flies when you are in there, which is cool, because that must means you are enjoying yourself.
CMO: Do you ever plan to work with the production on your albums?
SA: Oh, yeah. I'm heads on. I don't necessarily care about taking the credit right now. I think if you are an artist, you gotta be really hands on. I wrote the "Waitin' on Joe" video. I had a lot of help to close the doors. I had written that video. Basically, I deserve credit, but you don't necessarily deserve credit to be a director because the director does his job but, if you are an artist, you write songs, you go demo them, you put them down, and if you come up with great guitar hooks, and things that are going to matter in a song, then a producers job is just to take it and redo it and make it better. You are always kind of being involved in the production. You don't have to have your name on it.
CMO: That's it. Thank you for the interview!
SA: Thank you. I appreciate it.