At this point, the Fayetteville Roots Festival is so close, we can smell it.
The weekend-long celebration of music, food, and culture will kick off tonight with a free show at Greenhouse Grille with Paul Sammons, and after that, well, you’ve seen our guide, right?
We’ve been getting to know a few of the festival artists over the past few weeks, and for our final profile, we got in touch with Oklahoma songwriter John Fullbright.
Fullbright grabbed our attention when he was announced as a late-addition to the festival back in June.
Hailing from the home of Woody Guthrie in Okemah, Oklahoma, Fullbright represented his hometown well drawing by raves from his performances at SXSW this year. The 25 year-old songwriter recently released his debut album “From the Ground Up,” which has also been well received by critics.
Fullbright will perform at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 25 on the Starr Theater stage (inside the Walton Arts Center). A very few tickets are still available at fayettevilleroots.com.
We sent him some questions recently, and he answered all of them.
What have you been listening to lately?
Not much actually! Mostly just podcasts. History mostly. A few comedians. I’ve got that new Shovels and Rope record, though. Its outstanding.
We’re excited about your set at Fayetteville Roots festival. Have you ever been to Fayetteville before? What’s your impression of the place?
I’ve driven through a couple times, its very pretty. I only live a couple hours west so its not so different. Hills are bigger. Churches, too.
There’s actually a lot of good music that comes from your neck of the woods in OK. Any guess as to why that is?
I think we’re far enough away from any hint of music business that the ones that are going to do it do it out of pure love of the craft. That and Texas is always boasting about their songwriters, we cant let them steal the whole show.
You’ve been touring quite a bit lately. Do you mostly travel by yourself? Is it lonely?
Are you coming on to me? Yeah it can get a little lonely. But when you’re lucky you can sit there and have a pretty good conversation with yourself and learn a few things. On a good day the two of yourselves might even write a song. But friends are always a phone away these days, thankfully.
What are the last few things you can think of that inspired you to write?
Not writing. Thats a big one. Tried writing a Christmas song the other day, it got pretty blue. Had to leave it there. Unfortunately I write the most when I’m home, a place I dont see much of these days. Sunsets are still my main muse. Its harder to get swamped with tedious details when you’re confronted by a sunset.
Tell us a bit about ‘From the Ground Up.’ What was it like to make that record?
It was the most work I’ve ever done. Very worth it. Pulled stuff out of myself I didnt even know was there. I hope its a record that gets heavier the more you listen to it. Its still very exciting to get it into people’s hands.
What do you like to do when you’re not playing music?
Complain about not writing. I’m turning into an alright cook. I’m reading a book about the Elephant Man Joseph Merrick. He had a lot of spare time, poor guy.
Have you seen the lineup of the Fayetteville Roots Festival? Any artists you’re excited to see while you’re in town?
I think there’s some friends there that will point me in the right direction. Very much looking forward to it. Dad’s side of the family was from Arkansas, came over here on horseback. It will be like a chunk of me is heading home, except in a minivan this time.