Stewart Eastham is a talented artist and there's nothing we like more than sharing new music from talented artists with you, no matter how big or small.“Lonesome Melody” appears on Dancers In The Mansion, Stewart’s latest project for Long Bar Music.
Below is a short Q&A about the "Lonesome Melody" single and video:
1) Can you give me the nutshell version of what inspired the song and what it's about?
I think this is the first song I ever wrote without using my guitar. A couple years ago I was sitting on the dock at the marina in Clifton, TN. I was out there working on my laptop and having trouble working because I was sad that my girlfriend was soon headed back to London for a few months. I got this melody stuck in my head. I’d sing it to myself as I attempted to work. I didn’t have a name for the song, so I just called it “Lonesome Melody” (which was more of a description than an actual title).
The next day, I was out there again on the dock. I was still sad and I still had that melody in my head. I decided I might as well write lyrics for it. Since it had an old time classic country feel to it, I wanted to write the lyrics as simple and elegant as possible. By the end of the day, I had it written. That night back at camp I pulled out my guitar and figured out the chords to match the melody. I sang it by the campfire for my girlfriend and she loved it!
2) The video is both playful and sad at the same time. Where did you film the clip?
The entire video was filmed in East Nashville. We shot all the interior scenes in our house. The exterior night scenes we shot in our backyard. All of the park scenes were shot in Shelby Park. The park was crowded the day we shot so we had to be super careful to keep cars and people out of the shots in order to keep that “lonesome” vibe. Even the train shot we did over here where the tracks cross Porter Road.
I’m glad that playful / sad vibe came through! It was a fun video to edit playing with those juxtapositions.
3) Who directed it? And who came up with the video treatment idea and concept? Was that your idea or someone else's?
My partner, Katrena Rochell, and I co-directed the music video. We originally had a different idea for this song, but then Kat came up with the clown concept. I must admit it was a hard sell for me at first. I was worried it would come off as accidently goofy or funny. She persevered with the idea and one night we did some makeup tests and shot some test footage. Once we got the makeup dialed in I became convinced the idea could totally work. We started shot-listing and went from there.
We also co-shot the video (with some assistance from our friend Cathie Cargill who helped with the backyard shots when we were both in frame). Kat did our clown makeup which I loved. I thought it was evocative of old timey mime makeup, but also had its own unique modern vibe.
4) Any great stories from the video shoot? Did anything funny or crazy or super cool happen while you were filming?
I think the funniest thing was the initial makeup test. The first time Kat tried the make-up on me I looked like a second rate Juggalo. I was more neighborhood psychopath than sad clown. There are some pretty hilarious pictures from that night.
Another funny story… The night we shot the scenes in the backyard, it was crazy hot. Originally we had “Lonesome Melody” playing, but soon realized we’d need a more upbeat, fun song to get us excited about running around in the scorching heat. All three of us are Wheeler Walker Jr. fans, so we ended up cranking his album while we filmed all those shots. So all our laughing and smiling is 100% real. Later, when I was editing the video it would always crack me up hearing the raw sound from the takes.
All three of our dogs (Frank, Mr. Spiz, and Biggie Smalls) make cameos in the video. I was especially proud of Frank’s performance in the shot where he tries to cheer me up on the bed.
5) What do you hope the viewer/listener takes away from having watched this video and hearing the song?
In addition to perhaps being an accidental mediation on xenophobia (in light of all the current clown hysteria), hopefully people just enjoy the sweetness of the story. I think somehow the clown makeup allowed the raw emotion of the characters to come through moreso than without the makeup. That feeling of longing and loneliness when being apart from someone you love is pretty universal. And maybe it’ll even provide a little solace to those currently in the situation knowing they aren’t alone in having those feelings. Ultimately it’s a positive song since the narrator knows she’ll be back again. (Although both my mom and Kat’s mom cried the first time they saw the video.)
6) What else is on the horizon for Stewart Eastham?
We have another music video in the can I’ll be editing soon. I’m also gearing up for a big, album release show here in Nashville early next year and planning a more extended European tour next summer. I played a London show in September and had a blast. They seem to have a deep appreciation for Americana music so I can’t wait to get back over!