A Conversation with Andrew Trube and Anthony Farrell of the Greyhounds
Easter Island Festival opens tonight and runs through the wee hours of the morning Sunday, April 13. This music festival takes place just north of Tulsa, OK in Keetonville at the Valley Sports Complex. It’s a great opportunity to hear some outstanding local and regional talent, as well as a few nationally touring bands. On Saturday night, the Austin, Texas based blues-soul-hip-hop collaborative and self-proclaimed “junkyard band”, the Greyhounds, headlines. Keyboardist Anthony Farrell and guitarist Andrew Trube make up the duo (which is sometimes a trio with the addition of drummer Anthony Cole.) Fans of the swampy, funky J J Grey & Mofro will recognize the musicians – Farrell and Trube have been with Grey’s band since 2009, and Cole is the band’s drummer. What they may not realize is that the Greyhounds predates Farrell and Trube’s time with Grey’s band. The duo has performed together for close to fifteen years. If you catch the Greyhounds this weekend, you’re in for a treat. Not only are Farrell and Trube highly entertaining individuals, they are talented musicians. A set with the Greyhounds will no doubt be a whole lot of fun.
I recently caught up with Trube and Farrell by phone. They were off the road in Memphis. Trube hails from East Texas, while Farrell grew up in L.A. As you can imagine, they draw from some fairly diverse influences. “Everything from old soul, to country, to hip hop, to blues,” Trube told me. “We’re kind of like a junkyard when it comes to music and instruments and everything. We just pick pieces. It reminds me of…you know that Johnny Cash song about the Cadillac?” Trube smoothly launched into a version of “One Piece at a Time”, a song about an auto line worker who builds his own Cadillac piecemeal by taking parts home from work over the course of several decades. “It’s kind of like that,” Trube laughed. “I look at it like that. Everything we do is almost like a junk store. We pick all kinds of stuff and just smash it all together.”
The duo is known for using old, not necessarily professional quality, instruments. “Well it all began out of necessity,” Trube explained. “It’s all we could really afford. Now it’s something that we really enjoy doing. Farrell likes these keyboards that people usually overlook… As far as me, I just like the way old cheap guitars sound.”
While Farrell enjoys the sound of his old keyboards, he also sees them as a link to the past. “Increasingly, it’s becoming apparent that they are a link to a generation that is really disappearing with the advances in digital technology and how that’s being applied to music and how people are learning how to play music,” he commented. “It’s like there are these tools that people have just kind of let go of.”
Although Farrell said he’s “not one to hate on advances”, he believes “there’s nothing like picking up the keyboard and finding the sound that’s right and hearing it come out of that old speaker. There’s something about it, and it’s not just the same when you’re clicking on a mouse or looking on a screen. It’s just that simplicity, too. Being able to just pick up an instrument, feel it and play it, as opposed to a digital facsimile.”
The Greyhounds’ latest album, Accumulator, was released April 8 on Memphis’ Ardent Music label. The album is a mix of older songs and some new material, hence the name. According to Trube, Ardent went through the Greyhounds’ back catalogue of never-released material “and cherry-picked all of their favorite stuff. Then Ardent mixed and mastered it, and we added in about four or five new tunes on top of that. But it’s basically new to us because it’s all been refreshed sonically.”
Trube and Farrell were preparing to head back into the studio again after our conversation.
Before we hung up, Farrell shared this last thought, “For me, my philosophy for music is this: you don’t have to be technically proficient. You don’t have to be a genius or anything. The joy of making music should be available to everybody. You should be able to pick up a little keyboard and make sounds and have fun because that’s where it’s at.”
*Greyhounds’ photo Credit Zach Littlefield