After a long stint as bassist for the Drive-By Truckers, Shonna Tucker left the band in late 2011 to take a break from the road and focus on her personal creative development. Now, armed with the help of a new band, Eye Candy, she is gearing up for the release of her debut solo record. In an email convo, Tucker chatted with Flagpole about music, food and sweet donkey love.
Flagpole: Have you found that leaving the Truckers has freed you to focus on your own music more? How has the past year been for you, creatively speaking?
Shonna Tucker: I have been working on a record with my new band, Eye Candy—all new songs that I’ve written within the last year. It’s been a very spiritual and incredibly productive year, creatively. I was able to spend so much time just being at home, off the road, and [was] free to delve into some new ideas all the way.
FP: You’re working on a new album with a new band. When should we look for it?
ST: The new record is done and ready to be mastered. We hope to release it in early spring of next year and do a little touring. I’m excited to see what 2013 holds in store.
FP: The Athens music community always seems to have a pretty prominent Americana/alt-country contingent. What is it about this town that inspires or encourages that kind of music?
ST: I think that Athens is a unique town for musicians and artists in general, in that it’s a small and very Southern town with an exceptionally high number of venues and great influences. There is no shortage of inspiration here. If you live in a town where you can go out any night of the week and have choices of which new cool band you want to hear, that might inspire.
FP: What local bands or artists are you currently most excited about?
ST: I really love the new record Romper Stompers just made. Its so great! A record for the whole family. There’s so much right now that I’m digging. Those Barbe boys, Winston and Henry, are seriously talented. Ruby Kendrick. Spirit Hair. The Scott Baxendale/Jack Logan record The Lounge Downtown is so awesome. Just a few.
FP: Judging by your Twitter feed, you’re a bit of a culinary connoisseur. How do you feel about foodie-ism becoming such an “it” thing these days?
ST: I am lover of food: growing it, cooking it and eating it. I am working on a cookbook with my
good friend, [Five and Ten] chef Dean Neff. We actually hope to release the record and cookbook at the same time. I’m always glad when food is ‘in.’ It means that people are aware and hopefully making an effort to be
a little healthier and supportive of local foods. Or, at least, good food. Good quality doesn’t have to mean
more expensive. Now I’m hungry!
FP: What’s your favorite restaurant in Athens?
ST: It would be so hard to name only one favorite restaurant in Athens, [but] speaking of quality and Chef Neff, I do love Five and Ten. Hard to get any more delicious than anything on their menu. I love Tlaloc, on North Chase. If you’ve never had their tamales, you should. So much great food in Athens, GA!
FP: You love donkeys. Why?
ST: I do love donkeys! We have three—Steve, Linda and Jimmy. As a kid, we had goats, cows and pigs, so I keep that urge as an adult. I’ve had chickens for about eight years now, and the plan was to raise goats for milk when we bought our house in Winterville two years ago. Instead, I stumbled upon a farm animal rescue website and there was Steve! We got him all fixed up and healthy and I fell hard for this donkey. The sweetest, most gentle, loving animal I’ve ever been around—don’t tell our dog collection. Then I decided he could use some company. I found Linda on Craigslist. We got her to the house, and lo and behold, three and a half months later, here came baby Jimmy! What an amazing surprise. I hope to have many donkeys in my life.
FP: Aside from the new album, what’s on the pipeline for Shonna Tucker?
I’m busier than ever, [and] happy working on food and music.
Shonna Tucker & Eye Candy play the Melting Point on Friday, Dec. 7 with Clay Leverett & the Chasers and Matt Hudgins.
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