Renaissance Man

Grammy award winning Texas based producer, session player, musician, and Austin City Limits Hall of Fame member, Lloyd Maines has been busy on his recent record, Eagle Number 65, which is out now.

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Maines began his recording and producing career in 1974. Over the past 48 years, Maines has produced or played on approximately five thousand albums alongside some of the most significant figures in country, rock, and Texas music.

This creative artist is a multi-instrumentalist who has also performed and/or recorded playing dobro, electric and acoustic guitar, mandolin, lap steel guitar, banjo and bell tree. He toured and recorded as a member of the Joe Ely Band and has also played with Guy Clark, Butch Hancock, Terry Allen, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Golden Bear, and other Texas musicians. Maines was a member of The Maines Brothers Band in the late 1970s and early 1980s and has contributed to alt-country releases, including Uncle Tupelo's Anodyne and Wilco's debut, A.M..

He has produced and worked on recording projects with numerous artists, including the Bad Livers, Butch Hancock, Wayne Hancock, Terri Hendrix, Rita Hosking, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Intocable, Robert Earl Keen, the Lost Gonzo Band, Charlie Robison, Two Tons of Steel, Jerry Jeff Walker, The Waybacks, and Martin Zellar. He has frequently toured with Terri Hendrix throughout the United States, and is a major part of her band and production as an artist.

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Maines won a Grammy Award for Best Country Album in 2003 as producer of the Dixie Chicks' album, Home. As the father of Natalie Maines, lead singer of the Dixie Chicks, he was instrumental in bringing the current lineup of band mates together in 1995, which jump-started their sudden popularity and change in sound. Susan Gibson's "Wide Open Spaces", which had been sent to Maines, proved to be a hit from their debut album, and has remained their signature song.

Jupiter Index: You’ve been recording, playing as an A-list steel guitar artist, as well as touring since 1974. Quite a spell of time. What drives you to play music, and produce it?
Lloyd Maines: I enjoy playing music and helping create and record music, that can be listened to 100 years from now, on some format. After recording and Producing music for 50 years, I still burn for it. I get great satisfaction in helping an artist get the most from their songs and performance. I treat each song like it's my own, except for the copyright. That approach, generally, yields good results.

JI: You have one song written by Terri Hendrix and another co-written with you on this new release. And she plays the harmonica too. When did you first meet and begin playing music with Hendrix?
LM: An Engineer friend of mine, named Bobby Arnold, gave me a cassette tape with 10 songs of just Terri's vocal and Guitar.
I was very impressed with every song and her voice was very unique and soulful. I had a couple of phone conversations with her and about six months later, I met her in San Marcos and we agreed to make a record together. She had such great work ethic and pure raw energy in her songs and her live performances...So, that was 25 years ago and I've lost count how many records we've done together...maybe Twenty. She still blows me away with every new song.

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JI: How did the song “Lullaby” come about with Natalie Maines and talk about how Amelia Maguire performed on this track?
LM: Lullaby was on the Chicks album called Takin The Long Way, produced by Rick Rubin. I played on the Album. When I heard Lullaby, I immediately choked up...It was so heartfelt and emotional. They wrote it for their children. Since I, obviously, had children and grandchildren, the song really hit home with me. The lyrics are so powerful, that I was a bit worried about trying to pull off an instrumental version of it. So, I asked my Granddaughter Amelia to sing the Choruses. She has such a sweet voice, I knew it would be perfect....and it is.

JI: Can you say why country music is so powerful and sustaining in the lives of so many people?
LM: Country songs are usually about simple things...Day to day real life stories, that people can relate to. Folk music, or actually any genre, is the same way. If the listener can relate to the song, it will usually be on the play-list to the soundtrack of their life.

JI: Over the years, you have seen countless musicians perform on stage, but which three concert performances have you attended that moved you for the musical ability and skill of the artist or band? What is it about that show that still stays with you?
LM: The Chicks, The Nevelle Brothers and James Taylor.....That's just three....There are so many great artists, who have made my Blood boil.

JI: There are artists and bands that have had your influence and touch musically. Is there a secret to the sound of Lloyd Maines?
LM: In Tune, In Time and Under Budget.....And, take your music seriously, but don't take yourself too seriously. I find that artists who "insist on themselves," are boring.