A Conversation with Allison Moorer
Allison Moorer: Hi, Frank. This is Allison.
PM: Hi, Allison. Good morning. How you doing?
AM: I'm doing good. How are you?
PM: Good. It's nice of you to call me so early.
AM: No problem.
PM: You an early riser?
AM: I am. And if I have an interview, I like to do it first thing when I'm fresh and nothing's made me mad yet.
PM: [laughs] Oh, that's funny. Thanks for sharing that.
AM: [laughs] Well, normally I don't get mad about things. But there's a chance, and I don't want to spoil my interview and have something hanging over my head, because there's always a chance. So I like to do them in the morning.
PM: So every question that I was thinking of for you led me to the fact that he just seems to be such an integral part of everything in your scheme--let me ask first about your husband.
PM: Your co-writer, co-producer, co-many things, Butch Primm. In whatever way you feel like this morning, maybe you'd tell us something about him.
AM: Well, ask me a question [laughs] because I don't know where to start with that one.
PM: Okay. You two have been together for some time now, in a business that doesn't make it easy on people to stay together. How do you guys keep it together?
AM: We've been together for almost eleven years now. And we're about to have our nine year wedding anniversary in July, and--
AM: --yeah, it's pretty amazing.
PM: It is.
AM: And what's funnier about that is we spend pretty much every day all day together. So I think that the most important thing I can tell you about what we have is obviously we're great friends. We met when I was fresh out of college, and I wasn't even really considering trying to do a solo thing or anything like that. I had moved up here because my sister [Shelby Lynne] was here, and I was singing backup for her at the time. And I was hoping to sort of develop a background singing career, because at that point all I'd ever done was sing harmony.
Anyway, I met Butch, and it was a totally romantic thing to begin with. I didn't know that he was into music and didn't know that he had done anything having to do with music or the music business. And he heard me sing and began to tell me that I should do my own thing.
PM: Where did he hear you sing?
AM: Well, at first just in passing. And then he came to a show where I was singing backup for my sister, and he said, "You really ought to consider doing your own thing." And I thought, "God, I don't want that."
PM: Where to begin, right?
AM: Well, and I just wasn't really that enamored with the music business.
AM: And I actually got into it against my better judgment.
AM: But everything worked out for the best. All I can say about him without going on and on is he's a person who has a lot of integrity and a lot of talent. And that doesn't mean he's perfect and it doesn't mean he always hits the nail on the head in an artistic way, but he always has the best intentions. And he's not doing this for any other reason other than he wants to create.
PM: Well, it's a pretty amazing thing for anybody to say about their spouse, much less their working partner, that they have the best of intentions and a lot of integrity. I mean, that's the highest of testaments.
What's your writing process like with Butch? Has it changed a lot over time, or do you guys have a way that you do it?
AM: Well, we don't really. We don't have a set process. I don't have a set process for the way I do it, so when we write together, there can't be a set process, because neither one of us really have one. We mostly write separately.
PM: You do? And you come together?
PM: Oh, that's cool.
AM: That's normally how it happens. That's not to say that we haven't sat down and had a song fall out, because we've definitely done that. But more often than not, I'll have something that I'll work on for a while and say, "Hey, I got this, what do you think?" Or he'll do that same thing. And we're just happy to have it happen however it happens. [laughs]
PM: Are you both equal parts on the melody, or as the singer do you tend more to take that part over?
AM: Well, it depends on the song. He's definitely a very strong lyric person, and way stronger than I am in that department, because I'm not as disciplined. And the music part comes more natural to me--although that seems to be shifting a bit lately. I'm starting to get more patient with writing lyrics, and really a lot more into them than I've ever been. But he will often write the majority of the lyrics. But then again, we both do both. And if I sat down with all our songs I could tell you like, "Oh, yeah, on this one, this is his, this is mine, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah." But I don't want to do that. It doesn't matter.
PM: No, that kind of demystifies songs when people do that.
PM: I mean, there are even writers in town that we both know that are line counters and stuff like that, and that's [laughs]--
AM: Mmm-mm. That's real bad.
PM: Yeah, I don't like that. continue