INTERVIEW: DL Marble talks poetry, Mexico, and his upcoming album


DL Marble 2

Americana Highways recently talked to Americana musician DL Marble from Tempe, Arizona about the energy in the Americana community there, his upcoming album, and Mexico.


Asked what landscapes inpire his songwriting, Marble had this to say about the uniqueness of living in Arizona. “Our ability to take in a wide assortment of landscapes is enormous. In 2 hours we’re in Mexico — we play 30 shows a year there! We’re 2½ hours from the mountains of Flagstaff and then we’re 5 hours from the Pacific coast in Los Angeles, and then we can turn around again and be in Colorado or Texas.”


“My brother lives in Key West and we’ve written several songs together, I feel so at home on the sand next to the waves.”


When asked whether ultimately the beach was the most influential landscape for him, he responded: “(fellow Arizona Americana musician) Roger Clyne has a reputation for being the ‘Bruce Springsteen of the Southwest.’ A fan told me the other day: “If Roger Clyne is the Springsteen then you’ve gotta be the Jimmy Buffet.” And I think that’s accurate. Ultimately I’d most like to be down in San Diego or down in the Rocky Point beach in Mexico. I’m like a lizard who’s addicted to whiskey on the beach. Writing songs on the beach has got to be the most inspirational.”


I encouraged him to talk a little more about Mexico, for fans that don’t live near the border, to tell us what that’s like. The conversation turned to politics for a moment, and the idea of a “border wall” with Mexico. Marble immediately pointed out that: there are already huge walls down here between Arizona and Mexico. I love Mexico and we just drive across the border all the time. There are already hundreds and hundreds of miles of wall; it’s political just to piss people off. People who are not from around here ask what do I think of the border wall proposal, and I answer, ‘which wall? The one we’ve just been driving past for 117 miles?’ (laughs).”


“I wish people could just get along, have a tamale and a margarita and just all hug and call it good. We’re fine here. We get along pretty great with Mexico. I feel safer in some parts of Mexico than I do in parts of Arizona.   We stay at people’s houses when we’re down there for gigs, and there are a bunch of venues that really rock and support Americana music: Banditos, Wrecked at the Reef, Boobar, and Tekilas!”


Considering influences on D.L. Marble by other Arizona musicians, he remarked: “Waylon is buried here in Mesa, and Marty Robbins is from here, Glenn Campbell was from here and so are the Meat Puppets. D.L. Marble band is in the genre of the Gin Blossoms but obviously more country than they are. So there are a lot of bands making up the Arizona sound and that’s unavoidable as an influence for us.”


In terms of the influences closest to his heart, “there’s this original line from a Refreshments song, which was my favorite band growing up: ‘here’s to life,’” Marble said. This concept really resonates with him. We have a song called “Wish I Was Good,” where we sing the line “here’s to you!” There’s an Arizona subculture of what we call the “peacemakers.” If you’re a mason, you might say “on the straight” or “on the level,” and if you’re a peacemaker you say: “here’s to life.”


“To us the world is so messed up in so many different ways, so I believe you have to step back, when you’re with your friends and playing music, and recognize you’re thankful. We raise a glass and say: “Here’s to life!” We get that from Roger Clyne. And we add, we raise a glass to our fans and say: “Here’s to you!”


Besides Roger Clyne, I asked him who else figures among his greatest songwriting influences.   “Ray Wylie Hubbard is a huge influence and a friend, and he’s advised me to ‘just write about what you know.’ He recommended I read “Letters to a Young Poet” by the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke, and what I learned from that was not to worry about the future. You don’t worry about what people are going to say, you’re writing for you, right here and now.”


“Hubbard has this song called “The Crimson Road” where he sings: “some are cursed to write,” and that’s us. If writing songs is easy you might not be doing it right; it hurts sometimes. But I’ve come to realize I don’t have to keep redoing all the things I once did in order to write the songs about those experiences. The experiences are part of me already, I can just write songs about them now.“


Last but not least, I asked what’s on the musical horizon for D.L. Marble.

“We’re working on a new album with producer Eric “Roscoe” Ambel. The album is going to be recorded and produced trans-continentally. “Roscoe’s amazing, we were just in Brooklyn laying down some tracks. In a few weeks, he’s going to come out here and we’re going to finish recording the album in Tempe because we want to capture the Tempe sound.”


“We have a rock and roll country hybrid sound. Our roots are in country and western but we can also go serious rock.   The album is going to highlight the songs. When you hear Americana music, at the heart of it, it’s about the songs crossing boundaries.   We don’t want to pigeonhole or limit ourselves.“


On working with Eric Ambel, Marble had some fun tales to share. Ambel is known to be a bit of a ‘foodie.’ “Oh, dude, he takes us all kinds of cool places! He took us to a really cool restaurant called Speedy Romero in Brooklyn — I’ve never been to a pizza place where you need a reservation at 1:00 on a Saturday. And we were like ”Really?” and we sat there and it was fantastic!   We had the meatball sandwich and the St. Louis pizza and they were the best meals we’ve had in a while. He takes his coffee very seriously also (laughs).”


In the coming months, Marble has plenty of tour dates. “People like the songs themselves, they don’t always need the whole band experience so we’re thinking of taking the train up the East coast — just my bass player Paul Williams and myself this spring, besides all our West Coast tour dates.”


DL Marble’s information and tour dates are available here:




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