Interview: Louis Emory -A Music Inspired By the Love of a Magical land -By: Liam Sweeny
Written by Staff on November 4, 2022
Music is entertainment. It is also telepathy. It is the sharing of experience that defies
words, even when words accompany the rhythms and melodies. We share experiences
because we realize that what we go through can be beautiful and ugly and either way it
can inspire more than just us.
I chat with Louis Emory, who is gearing up to release his six-track project EP “Love
Italy” on Friday, October 21. With his small collective of New York musicians, The
Reckless Few, the crew fused their individual sounds to deliver the EP, an ode to a place
that reignited Emory’s creative flame.
Composed of multi-instrumentalists Bob Boyer and Tim Lynch (The Recording
Company) the members of this non-traditional band each played an integral part in
bringing the “Love Italy” songs to life.
RRX: You have two singles out entitled “Florence in The Fall,” and “Roma.” Why
Roma? What about Rome struck you to write a song?
LE: “Florence in the Fall” was the first single released, followed by “Roma”. All
roads lead to Rome, but little did I know that when I first traveled there on a day trip
back in 2017 that my life would continue to lead me back there several times.
Each trip was more gratifying than the previous and I’ve barely scratched the
surface. I wasn’t hearing anything musically in the states inspired by the Eternal City
and I wanted to pay homage to it and hopefully turn people on to visiting and
experiencing it themselves someday. Growing up I always thought I’d make it there
someday. I was also interested in archeology and history from an early age and loved
learning about ancient Rome in school. Plus, I grew up in an Italian American
household, so it’s in the roots.
RRX: Italy is a prevalent theme in your music. Is it a theme that has been long
standing, or is it more recent? People understand Italy by the food, mostly, but what
about it piques your interest musically? Is it a matter of transcribing, almost, other
aspects of Italian culture into song?
LE: I write and have written about many things over the years, but the “Love Italy”
tracks are all recent and a direct result of my first trip in 2017. It was an electric shock
which sparked an intense study of the Renaissance, the masters (DaVinci, Michelangelo,
Raphael, and Titian), the Medici, the histories of Rome, Florence and Venice. I was also
listening to a lot of Dean Martin and Sinatra on Sundays while making my family’s
recipes which were handed down to me by my grandmother. I wanted to hear some new
songs about Italy, so I started writing demos at home and went to The Recording
Company to start work on the EP.
RRX: Let’s talk about the band, Louis Emory and The Reckless Few. Tom Petty and
the Heartbreakers, Huey Lewis and the News, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts – this type
of band name is very familiar, and often very successful. So, since this interview is being
answered by you, can you start by describing The Reckless Few?
LE: The idea of The Reckless Few was inspired by my old stage name Louie
Reckless and the idea and elasticity of The Plastic Ono Band. Georgia Jones provides
some amazing background vocals throughout the EP and I'm sure as we move forward
working on the next two EPs with Shelly Yakus, there will be some more people added to
RRX: The Reckless Few are multi-instrumentalists Bob Boyer and Tim Lynch, both
established players. Being a trio, you would think that it’s a plus to have the versatility of
band members who play multiple instruments. Is there any overlap, instruments that
both Bob and Tim play? If so, do they switch up, or stay in their lanes?
LE: I am very lucky to play with Bob and Tim and I’m extremely grateful that they
are playing on the EP. They play for the song; there’s no ego. I rely on their ears,
experience, and talent as much as my own intuition. Being multi-instrumentalists is
always a plus. We started recording “Love Italy” during the early months of the
pandemic. We didn’t know much about Covid and a lot of musicians, including us, were
worried about being exposed and getting it, so that played a part in keeping it simple
and not bringing in additional musicians. We all have families and we just tried to stay
healthy and be extra careful.
As for overlap, there is some, but we do tend to stay in our own lanes. Tim is the
best keys player I’ve ever played with and reminds me a lot of the legendary Nicky
Hopkins. Bob is a tremendous talent and fills in on drums/percussion, bass and guitar.
He also is a fantastic slide player, one of my favorites, behind George Harrison, Mick
Taylor and Duane Allman. Not bad company to be with. I’ll sing and play rhythm and
mostly acoustic these days. I’m trying to keep my focus on the lyrics and melodies and
write the best songs I can.
RRX: Let’s talk about Cosimo Medici. You wrote a song, “Firenze” inspired by
Medici. And they get a lot of bad press in history, but you see him as a shaping force in
the world. What was it about Cosimo Medici that is worthy of your music? Give us a
quick history lesson.
LE: There are probably some authors or academics who could answer this better
than me, but I will try to summarize. Cosimo was an inspiring man and force that did
shape the world. It is through his patronage that we get the works of Donatello,
Brunelleschi, and many others. Most importantly, the idea of supporting artists
financially and promoting the arts as a vehicle for civic pride.
He took a chance on Brunelleschi and because of it we have the iconic Duomo in
Florence. No dome had been built that wide since Ancient Rome and the Pantheon. The
knowledge was lost to time. Brunelleschi figured it out. It’s still standing today — it was
a marvel then as it is now. Michelangelo had first-hand knowledge of it while building
St. Peter’s Dome and even our Capitol Rotunda in Washington D.C. was inspired by it. It
all goes back to Cosimo – his foresight of what art and architecture could do for a city
and its people.
RRX: You’re very prominent in local music, featured in local programming along
with names big and small, noticed and obscure. Yet your success is breaking down
borders. In larger arenas of music, what do you wish to import to the local scene that
you’ve absorbed from without, and what do you want to export to the world?
LE: We are lucky to have a very talented and diverse local music scene. I don’t get
out much these days and feel more at home in the studio but every now and then I get
the itch to play live. After Covid, my wife Raeanne and I made it down to Levon Helm
Studios and saw Fruit Bats. It was like, oh – that feeling of live music, that connection
– it was a part of us that’s been missing for a few years. I will always be grateful to
Howard Glassman and my family at Valentines for letting me share the stages with some
wild and amazing artists and bands (The Erotics, Blasé Debris, Karl Von Heilman III)
but also be exposed to all that music. I miss it.
RRX: This is where you answer the question I didn’t ask. Remarks? Comments?
Enlighten, educate, emote – the floor is yours.
LE: I’m writing from Casa Verardo in Venice, Italy. “La Serenissima” – the featured
track and third video from the “Love Italy” will be released alongside the entire EP on
October 21st! “La Serenissima” means “the most serene” and it was a name adopted by
the Venetian Republic when that state existed. The Venetian Republic was the longest
republic to exist. It’s one of the most unique cities in the world and one worth visiting
sooner rather than later. In 30 to 40 years there's a good chance with the trajectory
humanity is on that the city will cease to exist. It's an architectural jewel and, if lost to
rising tides due to climate change, would be tragic. There is no other city like it in the
world and the fate of it is the fate of most if not all major cities founded by water.
My hope is that with the song, people will be called to visit Venice and hopefully
awaken to its magic, and that might spark some a-ha moment that we need to save and
preserve these incredible places before it’s too late.