AUDREY AULD: THE TREASURE OF SONGWRITING

By Paul Freeman [July 2012 Interview]

Audrey Auld didnít begin writing songs until she hit her late twenties. But that form of self-expression quickly became indispensable to her.

The singer-songwriter has released numerous albums on her own Reckless Records label. She has recorded with such outstanding artists as Kieran Kane, Fred Eaglesmith, Mary Gauthier, Dale Watson, Kasey Chambers, and Carrie Rodriguez. She's had songs recorded by various artists, as well as placed on the FX TV shows "Justified" and "The Good Guys."

Auld was born in Tasmania in 1964. Her father and stepfather were gifted amateur musicians. She heard classical music and traditional jazz around the house. She learned to play violin.

In her late teens, while in art school, a teacher handed Auld a cassette with the recordings of John Prine, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Bob Wills, Dwight Yoakum and Patsy Cline.

Auld had been writing prose since early childhood. A friend convinced her to try to play country fiddle and that led to experimenting with songwriting.

She moved to Sydney, Australia, where a 24-hour country radio station was starting up. Auld hooked up with Bill Chambers, musician and father of Australian country music star Kacey Chambers.

In 2003, Auld married an American, Mez Mezera, and relocated to California. They lived in Bolinas, then Stinson Beach.

While she was living in the Bay Area, her friend, singer-songwriter Fred Eaglesmith, turned her on to the book ďTransforming The Mind,Ē by the Dalai Lama. That led to her contributing her musical skills to Bread and Roses.

She has performed in drug rehab centers, shelters and prisons. Now based in Nashville, Auld has played San Quentin. In fact, her reason for setting up her latest California tour was so she could return there. She conducts songwriting workshops with the inmates.

Her honest music has earned her an ever-growing legion of fans. If you havenít yet discovered her work, begin with her latest release, ďResurrection Moon.Ē The 20-song collection features highlights from previous albums, including such elegantly crafted gems as ďLosing Faith,Ē ďBolinas,Ē ďEverything Be AlrightĒ and the title track.

As both a writer and performer, Auld continues to grow.

POP CULTURE CLASSICS:
Youíve been mastering? Are you working on a new album?

AUDREY AULD:
Iíve made an acoustic, five-song EP called ĎWood.í Iíve got a song called ĎWoody.í I re-recorded that. I woke up one morning and had a song for Woody Guthrieís 100th birthday, which is July 14th. And I play at the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival. So I just recorded five songs that are Woody-related or in that style. So Iím just getting that together.

PCC:
And are you going to make it available on your site as a download?

AUDREY AULD:
No, itís kind of the opposite of digital. I donít want to do anything digital. It was recorded to a hard drive, but Iím making a handmade CD cover and itís just going to be available at shows. Itís not in a jewel case. Itís very handmade. I gave my husband a record player for his birthday and itís made me realize that to hold something in your hand, it makes the music more tangible. And I think musicís become devalued. The fact that it doesnít exist as a tangible thing, but only as an MP3, that adds to its lack of value in the minds of people.

So Iíve got these really nice, recycled, unbleached cardboard covers and Iím rubber-stamping the cover art. Itís just very handmade. Iím sad at what musicís become. A friend of mine, calls it an accessory. And it still costs the same amount to make it. Itís not any cheaper to produce it. But people donít want to buy it. Now, with Spotify, they just tap, tap tap on the keyboard and there it is. They donít have to do anything at all. Iím an independent artist. How can you carry on, viably, as an independent artist in business?

PCC:
Did you grow up with a lot of vinyl around you? What were the early musical influences?

AUDREY AULD:
Yeah, a lot of vinyl. Mum and Dad were very strict, very limited about television exposure. And Dad is a Dixieland jazz piano player and cornet player. And I grew up playing classical violin. We had a lot of music in the house and it was very much about listening to it. It wasnít about it being wallpaper, having it on while we were doing something else. We would make plays or dances to different records. It was a lot of classical, some opera and trad jazz.

PCC:
So at one point did you become more interested in roots and country music?

AUDREY AULD:
I didnít hear any country music. Itís not mainstream in Australia. And certainly not in Tasmania. We had a Woody Guthrie childrenís record, but I didnít know who that was. I just heard this gruff, strange voice and always thought, ĎThatís really strange.í But the songs really are imbedded in me.

I first heard ĎStand By Your Man,í when I was 10. My mother and father had broken up. And Mum started going out with all these party girls and sometimes weíd go, if there was a party at someoneís house and there were all these women, standing around, singing ĎStand By Your Man.í I thought that was really weird. [Laughs]

When I was in art school, probably in my late teens, one of my art teachers gave me a cassette - John Prine and Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Bob Wills, Dwight Yoakum, Patsy Cline, a real mixture, swing and Texan and good songwriting.

Itís funny, because Iíd grown up playing instrumental music, classical music. And Iíd always been a writer, as a child. Iíd always written and read. Prose and all sorts of stuff. But it wasnít until later, when this girl was trying to get me to play country fiddle - and Iíd never done anything like that before, and she was doing her own songs - that I realized these two things could come together. And it was the very traditional country. Gram Parsons and Emmylou, that was also among the early things I heard. I started reading the history of where it all came from and who started all of this.

This was all old music. The kids in high school would all rave about Neil Young and I didnít get it. I didnít relate to what all my peers at school were listening to. I didnít hear it. I didnít get it. So when I heard country music, I just went back to, ĎWell, where does this music come from?í And thatís what I loved. I loved the pathos. I loved the humor, the storytelling, the honesty. All of that appeals to me.

What I realized about Loretta Lynn and Hank Williams and Jimmie Rodgers, they werenít exposed to a whole lot of artists, like we are today. They could just be who they were. They were probably influenced by people in their immediate vicinity, a very regional influence. And thatís what weíve lost, in this international world. There is nothing really regional anymore thatís current, because itís all sort of homogenized.

This guy that Iíve just been recording with, John Willis, heís a Nashville session guy, like he plays on Toby Keith and Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw and Faith Hill records, and heís got his own studio. He said, ĎPeople come in and they sing like Taylor Swift or they sing like Adele or they sing like the auto-tune fix. They do that in their singing. So, what appealed to me in those early country artists is that theyíre original. Itís an original motivation and itís an original inspiration. Loretta Lynn was writing about her life. And Hank Williams was writing about his life. And we feel that. Thatís what we respond to in music, is the truth.

PCC:
So did it soon become your focus to write songs?

AUDREY AULD:
No, no, no. I kind of drifted away with music. My father and stepfather are both great musicians, who played every weekend. But they always had nine-to-five, Monday through Friday jobs. Music was never presented to me as a full-time occupation. Tasmaniaís tiny and I donít know if there are any full-time musicians there [Laughs], because itís such a small place.

So it wasnít until I moved to Sydney. And I didnít know anybody that liked country. I liked punk. During my teens, punk music was blossoming. It was wonderful to be exposed to that music, when youíre a pissed-off teenager.

So when I moved to Sydney in my early twenties, I kind of listened to country music all on my own, whatever I found or read about. I didnít know anybody that liked it. None of my friends did. And then, as I traveled around the outback, I started listening to peopleís vinyl records and hearing some Australian stuff and just starting to hear more and more stuff. I like to have that academic approach to the history of the genre. So I would read about stuff and then try to find and listen to whoever it was, whether it was Grandpa Jones or Lonzo & Oscar.

And then, what happened in Sydney is that this 24-hour country radio station started. And it was like, ĎWow! This is radical... for Australia.í And so there were a few artists that did really well out of that. And that helped the scene blossom. But I didnít really start writing until my mid-to-late twenties, I guess.

I was born in Ď64 and it was probably about 1995 that I first got up on stage and sang my songs.

PCC:
Did that come naturally, to become a performer?

AUDREY AULD:
I was really shy and awkward and I realized that I didnít really know how to sing. Weíd always sung in the family, traveling or when we all did the dishes. Iíve got three siblings that I grew up with. Mum was always singing around the house. So, not that I was shy about singing, but when you put a microphone in your face and youíve got to interact with an audience, itís a whole new venture. So I joined an a capella group that met once a week, and learned to harmonize and to sing out, a capella. And that really helped my singing confidence, I think.

I learned to sing, because I write songs and I wanted to deliver my songs. I did start to record my demos. And recording is unforgiving. You listen back and thatís it, thatís the best that youíre at right then and there, so you learn a lot about your voice and your style. And then you spend years and years on stage.

The catalyst for me, on stage, and musically, was meeting Bill Chambers, whoís Kasey Chambersí [Australian country music star] father. So he had been working with his family band. The kids, Nash and Kacey, were going in a rock direction. His heart was in traditional country music. And Iíd been looking for a producer. And, in Australia, theyíre all about just trying to be Nashville, so it was all about trying to be upbeat and positive. And I liked traditional country, which is kind of sad. So nobody was really relating to where I was coming from in Australia, until I met Bill and he kind of got it. In Ď97, we put out an EP. And then we did a duet album the next year. And we ended up living together as a couple for about five years and playing together a lot.

Heís very seasoned in every facet of the business - fans, labels, media, music, performance. I learned so much from him. And also to be in such close proximity to his daughterís ascension to stardom is a very unique position to be in, as another artist. And a lot of people think, ĎOh, thatís the latest thing, Iíll do that. Iíll sound like that.í And it really helped me to understand that, as an artist, youíve got to find your own path and your own voice and really appreciate that and not get all screwed up, because youíre not getting what somebody else is getting. You know?

PCC:
So was it connecting with Bill that brought you to the States?

AUDREY AULD:
No, it was actually breaking up with him that brought me to the States [Laughs]. I planned a tour on my own. I remember landing in L.A. and I had six weeks in America. And I was on my own. Iíd been to America a couple times in the late Ď90s with a friend. But Iíd never been on my own. And I had dates set up. Most of it was in Austin. Some of it was in Nashville. It was very empowering. And then I came back again in 2003. And some of those dates were actually with Bill. We continued to have a good relationship, since all those years ago.

And thatís when I reconnected with a man that Iíd met, an American guy, a sailor that Iíd met when I was 18 in Tasmania. We had kept intermittent contact over the 20-odd years. And we met up again and fell in love. And I married him later that same year. That was in 2003. And I moved that same year to California. Thatís what brought me to America - I fell in love with him.

PCC:
So you had originally met him when he was on shore leave?

AUDREY AULD:
Yeah. They came in. They were celebrating the battle of the Coral Sea or something and they had a couple of weeks in Hobart. Actually, I had a romance with his friend. And I met Mez through his friend John. And the three of us spent a couple of weeks together in Hobart, And then, 10 years later, we had a day together in San Francisco. That would have been in the late Ď90s. And then, in 2003, we hooked up and wham, bam, fell in love. And here we are, very happily married, nine years later.

PCC:
And one of his emails inspired one of your songs?

AUDREY AULD:
Yes, yes. Heís a dyslexic romantic, I call him. Heís not one for pen and paper. But he has very inspired moments. He leaves me messages at home, little notes. If Iím away, he sends emails. Very simple. Very few words. But theyíre very heartfelt. And one of those, I took and turned into a song called ĎJust Love.í

PCC:
That must have been a thrill for him.

AUDREY AULD:
I think so. Heís pretty understated. He doesnít go, ĎOh, yeah, I helped write that!í Heís not that kind of a guy. Heís a plumber. I joke with him, ĎOh, sure, you come to Nashville, now youíre a songwriter.í [Laughs] Everyoneís a songwriter here... Now weíve got two songs. He left me a note one day, ĎIím starting a support group and itís at the bar, if you hate your job, come down and join us.í So it turned into a great country song [Laughs].

PCC:
Was your time in the San Francisco area creatively nurturing for you?

AUDREY AULD:
Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. My first year was in Bolinas. And then Stinson Beach, where he spent many years. Heís originally from Chicago. He found, when he moved to California, people didnít try to beat him up, when he walked into a bar. Heís a big bloke and heís covered in tattoos and they think, ĎOh, yeah, hereís a fight!í He was glad to get to a place where people were much more accepting and open-minded.

Bolinas was mind-blowing, really. I lived by the sea, on the Central coast of New South Wales, out of Sydney, a beachside town. But Bolinas is just so kooky. So I got a song called ĎBolinasí and I put out an album called ĎLost Men and Angry Girls,í which is a line from that song.

And I discovered the aggression of California women. Theyíre very assertive. A lot of drug use. But a lot of tight-knit community and helping your neighbor. Stinson Beach is a beautiful place. Thereís a lot of love there.

And I went up to Santa Rosa and Sebastopol and Santa Cruz and thereís a lot of great radio stations and promoters and music fans. I was really embraced into that scene, in a way that I never felt in Australia. I never felt part of any kind of scene in Australia. I was not like an Australian country artist. I wasnít what they call folk. Bill and I sort of started a roots music scene, in a way, in Australia, but the industry took quite a few years to recognize that as a market.

So coming to California was great. It was like, ĎWhoa! Iíve got to start my career over.í This countryís so big and the seasons, when the festivals are, all of that youíve got to kind of relearn.

PCC:
Getting involved in Bread and Roses, what drew you to that organization?

AUDREY AULD:
When I broke up with Bill, it was one of those sort of fundamental, life-changing heartbreaks, breaking up out of that relationship. And you flounder for a couple of years. And I was developing a friendship with Fred Eaglesmith [singer-songwriter]. He was very, very supportive to me, during that time. And he suggested reading a book called ĎTransforming The Mind,í by the Dalai Lama. And that really set me on a path of delving into philosophy and, in particular, the Buddhist philosophy. Iíd been raised with no religion. We were free to choose and we were encouraged to choose what was right for us, when we were mature.

I guess Buddhism kind of resonated with me, because itís very much about your own experience. And itís about finding truth. So I think what drew me to Bread and Roses is somewhere along that path of understanding. Understanding that community service is really important. Itís really important to focus on other people. The Dalai Lama says that depression comes from too much self-reflection.

Itís funny, because I had gone to their website and it said, ĎWe would like performers who can present an upbeat set of music.í And I thought, ĎWell, thatís not me.í [Laughs] My songs, theyíre not all down. I think I was being a bit harsh on myself. But eventually I met someone who worked for the organization and he had accompanied me on guitar and he said, ĎOh, yeah, absolutely, youíd be great.í Because I do actually like to have a good time when Iím playing. I think itís good to just have a laugh and make people laugh. I think itís good to feel things with music.

And there are a lot of people who are in institutions, who, as I discovered while doing shows for Bread and Roses, theyíre just having a really crappy day. And you just come in and you reach out to the room with some new energy and some laughter and feeling a connection with people through music. Itís healing. And itís uniting.

This trip Iím doing to California, is because I wanted to get back into San Quentin. Itís hard to get into the prison. The warden changes. the admin changes. Itís like youíve got to start back again and prove that youíve got something to offer. Last time I went in, under this current administration, they loved what I did. And Iíve got to get back in quick, because theyíre receptive. So I basically just set up the tour so that I can cover my expenses to get back to San Quentin. [Laughs]

PCC:
The first time you played there, did you feel confident about the connection or was there some trepidation about trying to reach that audience?

AUDREY AULD:
Oh, yes. I was nervous, because Iíve never been in prison. And Iíd watched the TV shows. And itís real life. Itís not play-acting or anything. Those are peopleís lives. And these are some screwed-up people. You see the prison a lot, when you live in the Bay Area.

I donít know what led me to it. I think itís just that little bit of wanting to go outside of your comfort zone and do something thatís a little scary. Itís good for you to do that stuff. Especially as an artist.

So I ended up writing a song called, ĎBread and Roses,í which came from my anticipating what prison would be like. One of the rules was that you canít give anything to the inmates. I hadnít really thought of giving them anything, until they said that rule. So I did think a lot about, what would I give an inmate, if I could take something in. Thatís where that song comes from.

So weíve gotten a few songs out of these sessions. Iíve done about seven now, I think. I started in 2006.

PCC:
What are the songwriting workshops with the inmates like? It must be a great outlet for them, as a way to get their feelings out.

AUDREY AULD:
Yeah, I think, in time, I have learned that they put a lot of stock in the fact that I return. Because they talk about things I talked about a year ago or they talk about the fact that I didnít turn up one time, when I couldnít get in, because there might have been a lockdown. And they write songs to sing to me, when I come back. And Iíve got some songs written from our collaborations.

So I go in with an exercise and I try to squeeze blood out of stones. Some of them are quite poetic and verbose. And some of them, you can tell that itís hard work. Last time I went in, I said, ĎYour truth will set us free.í Youíre all living in a very unique situation that we can all learn something from, if you can find a way to express this experience. This is a unique experience. Letís really get something out of this.í But itís not necessarily just going to come flowing out in the few hours that I have with them.

PCC:
But having the opportunity to delve into that, some of them must have told you how rewarding thatís been.

AUDREY AULD:
Oh, yeah. They give me gifts. They give me paintings that theyíve done or books that theyíve made. One guy, heís pinning his hopes on getting out at this next parole board meeting. I hope that he does. I donít know. But heís become an incredible guitar player. Iíve joked with him, like ĎOh, you can come on tour with me, when you get out.í I think itís important. One guy wrote this incredible song about, ĎWe feel like weíre trees in the forest that people have forgotten. And when we fall down, nobody knows.í

And it was so good for me to say, ĎThere are people on the outside who think of you and who know that youíre here,í just to acknowledge that.

PCC:
What has the role of songwriting been in your life? Can you even imagine life without that form of self-expression at this point?

AUDREY AULD:
No. I wonder how people cope who donít write. I have become aware that itís a very meditative process. There is a muse. There is something that you tap into and let flow. And I treasure that. Itís one of my most treasured things in being alive.

And I come to Nashville and itís very much about crafting things, where they get together and they make stuff up. Some people are very,very good at that. They make shitloads of money out of it. But Iím like, Oh, God, I love that process where you get lost and a song comes through and then you look later and you think, ĎWow!í And I get to put my name on that. But itís from somewhere else. Youíre just lost in the moment.

PCC:
Has your process changed much over the years, in terms of your approach to songwriting or the techniques?

AUDREY AULD:
Yeah. I think, early on, I did singing lessons and I went to a really, really good songwriting course. I think it was every Saturday for a few hours. And it was very structured and with great exercises and it taught me a lot. It was a good foundation. And I know that Iíve got that down, deep in me. But Iím also a big fan of Townes Van Zandt and heís so anti... I think, when you listen to a song, you donít want that critical aspect of your mind to kick in and go, ĎOh, no,í with the rhyme pattern or the word choice. You donít want to predict the end of the line. You just want to get lost in the feeling of the song.

So I think Iíve changed, in that, Iím less judgmental, in the process. I like to write as itís coming out. And I can tweak and clean it up later. But I try to really capture that inspiration. I decided a long, long time ago that I wasnít going to get stuck in genre. I do write a lot of different styles of songs. I donít get to record them all. But my albums are pretty diverse, because I like to just write whatís coming. Thereís all kinds of moods and thereís all kinds of colors and music can reflect that.

PCC:
Is there any particular piece of advice anyone gave you along that way that was valuable in your songwriting?

AUDREY AULD:
Indirectly, the writing of Gillian Welch. I donít know her, so itís not like she said anything to me. But she certainly did through her writing, because itís very economical. And when I first came to Nashville, I thought, ĎIím going to look the devil in the mouth. And Iím going to find out what it is that all those people on Music Row, what they do and what theyíre looking for.í And there are courses you can take to learn about the commercial country music songwriting scene. And you play songs to publishers and they give you feedback. And one woman, one day, kept referring to lines in a song as precious real estate. [Laughs] And itís the same thing as what I said about Gillian Welchís writing. Itís just paring down. And Hank Williams, the same. Itís very difficult to write a simple song. And simple, as in, how many words. The meditative process is meditating on what it is that youíre trying to communicate or express or what youíre feeling and getting that down in a poetic, truthful, simple way.

PCC:
Is there a tug-of-war between not wanting to be analytical, letting it just flow, but also being conscious of what the publishers and the marketplace want?

AUDREY AULD:
No, I donít play that game. I just donít want to mess with this beautiful, mysterious process by bringing commercialism into it. Iím more influenced by, when I sing a song at a show and people like it. Thatís whatís important to me, that it connects with people.

I played a song to a publisher, that people loved, and they sing at weddings. And I played it for these guys and I could see them having an emotional response to the song. And then their minds kicked in. And they went, ĎOh, no, you canít use the word Ďuniverse.íí [Laughs]. I was like, ĎOh, my God! Nobody told The Beatles!í

PCC:
Too many rules.

AUDREY AULD:
Well, it is very analytical. And thereís a lot of money at stake. And so theyíre the gatekeepers. And the gates are narrow. And theyíre very controlling about what people, artists are exposed to. They think they know whatís going to work. And I guess they do, to some degree. If they hear a song and they go, ĎYep,í and they pitch it around and it gets five holds by Keith Urban or Lady Antebellum... So there are people who know what works and how that whole scene operates. But I just donít want to mess with it. I like what I do. And I get to go out and play. I play a lot. I play my songs to people and I see what affects a room. Because songs, like painting, novels or dancing, theyíre all manifestations of energy of some kind. And itís that, that affects people, that affects the viewer or the listener or the reader. And thatís what is important. Because there is a lot of energy going on between people. There is an interaction going on all the time. And what sort of energy is that going to be?

PCC:
Being aware of the commercial aspect of Music City, what made you decide to move to Nashville? The opportunity for collaborations?

AUDREY AULD:
Actually, my husband wanted to buy a house. And you canít afford to do that at Stinson Beach. So I said I would like to go to Austin or Nashville, because theyíre music centers. And he chose Nashville, because it was cheaper and closer to the family in Chicago. I would have gone to Austin.

But now that youíre based in East Nashville, are you enjoying that atmosphere?

Iím growing to. Iíve been touring a lot, so thereís a lot of time I donít get to spend here. Iíve been here five years. I love that there are musicians everywhere. I just met a guy, he was out walking this morning. And I asked if heíd seen this stray dog thatís been hanging around. And it turns out that heís from Tasmania. I knew his cousin, when she was a little girl. It was like, ĎOh, my God.í You just meet people all the time. I love that.

But Iíve also learned that thereís a lot of relationships here... itís nice to meet people here who are not musicians, because, then it becomes a more genuine friendship. Itís not based on, ĎWhat can you do for me?í or ĎWho do you know?í Or ĎDo I see you as a potential income stream?í So what is the basis of this relationship? Is it a genuine attraction or is it a business relationship couched in friendship?

PCC:
The geographical moves, do they have much impact on the songwriting?

AUDREY AULD:
Always. Yeah. Moving to America had a huge impact. I was less concerned about writing about my internal landscape. Iíd moved to a country that was at war, in a very political region. Californians are very outspoken and aware. Coming from Australia, not so much. So it was like, ĎOh, thereís all this stuff going on and what Iím feeling is of no significance, in comparison to the stuff thatís going on in the world.í And I think Iím always influenced by where I am, for sure.

PCC:
Where does the inspiration usually come from these days? A wide variety of sources?

AUDREY AULD:
It is wide. My latest two songs, one was just from going and spending time with a broken--hearted friend of mine. And feeling like, ĎGee, is it wrong to say that it was fun to hang out with you, while youíre actually going through a really bad broken heart?í And the other one is very much about pondering death. Weíve spending time with a 90-year-old aunt up in Wisconsin and going to graveyards where she knows everybody, just about. [Chuckles] So thatís just ĎHanging Around in the Graveyard,í just a minor key, two-chord song about being dead and whoís going to give a shit, really? Whoís going to come visit you?

PCC:
In reflecting on aging, do you find that, with more years comes more experience and depth to enrich your writing?

AUDREY AULD:
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Thereís all this about not looking your age. But, actually, I think aging is great! [Laughs]. I can only speak for me. I have just become very comfortable with who I am and what I do, what I write about, my time on stage. I really enjoy it. I think that definitely comes with years of experience and feeling comfortable in who I am. And being fearless. I wrote this great song called, ĎF-ck Off!í And it was great to be able to sing a song called ĎF-ck Off!í [Laughs]

Thereís a fear, especially, I think, with women, of not being nice. And Fred said to me at one point, ĎYou need to be more like you are off stage, on stage.í [Laughs] And it was really good advice. Heís just saying, ĎBe who you are.í And thatís the constant search, for any artist, at least, is to be who you are.

PCC:
Having other artists interpreting your songs - is that a different sort of satisfaction?

AUDREY AULD:
Oh, itís wonderful. Gee. itís a great compliment. I donít spend time pitching songs. I was with a publisher some years ago. But I was earning them the money. You know what I mean? So Iíve had a few songs on TV. With the internet, thereís these music libraries now and you can put your song up and they pitch them. And itís great.

I am very inspired by Fred and his path. And heís had a lot of songs cut recently by contemporary country artists. Great songs, but theyíre more than 10 years old. And itís come because he gets out and he tours and he does what he does. And the music comes to people eventually, in a roundabout way. Not through a song plugger. Itís through somebodyís publisher who just digs Fred Eaglesmith and they go, ĎHey, listen to this!í

I donít have the advantage of a huge promotional budget. But, in the absence of that, Iíve got my songs. I have great faith in my songs. And thatís very empowering. I will always have my songs. And they carry me through, when Iíve got no money or got no interest.

PCC:
So is that the biggest challenge, knowing that you have great material and trying to get people to hear it?

AUDREY AULD:
Yeah, thatís the financial challenge. The music industry is a big, black money hole that will suck as much money as you want to put into it. And, as an independent artist, itís constantly trying to be smart about where do I spend my money? And I keep coming back to fans. I want to make records for fans, because they want to hear my new songs. I donít spend a lot of money on advertising or whatever it is that record labels spend their millions of dollars on. But I donít have that option. So I just have to be creative in how I operate. Youíve got to keep your profile at some level... Itís all a bit of a mystery, really [Laughs].

PCC:
Winning new fans, does that usually come from word of mouth?

AUDREY AULD:
Itís playing live. I get radio play and stuff. But how many people listen to the radio? Pandoraís been good. That algorithm, I think that helps introduce you to some new people. I donít know if Spotify works the same... If you like that person, then you might like this person. Anyway, playing live. And for sure, word of mouth.

PCC:
Have your goals changed over the years? What are the main goals today?

AUDREY AULD:
I would really like to be able to record the songs that I write. Iím not the person to have a home studio. I totally acknowledge the skills required in audio engineering and itís not my forte. I would love to be able to record more. But Iím finding ways to do that. In Nashville, thereís a gazillion studios. This one CD that Iíve just done is an attempt at that, trying to do something that I can afford, do smaller projects.

A goal of mine, donít sweat the details, Iíd like to just play in theatres that hold a thousand people, just play with a trio. Iíd be very happy with that. I donít want to play in a stadium. Iím not a big artist. Iím an artist that likes to connect with an audience. I like to talk. I like to tell a few stories.

For more on this artist, visit audreyauld.com