Marina Rocks photo by Dee Hill
Marina Rocks is a native Texan, musician, whose music is considered “conversational” as it reaches out to pull you into the tale she’s telling or the idea she’s asking us to consider. We had a chat with Marian about her new EP Texcentric. Give it a whirl.
Americana Highways: Can you tell us more about your new EP “Texcentric”?
Marina: Texcentric was inspired from my last fall’s trip to Europe where I saw acts with a blues-rock flavor. I knew I had songs in that vein, so I thought when I get back to Texas I would go back in my studio and record again. It’s been a challenge, yet rewarding, as Texcentric is my second album in a year. Also, some of the songs are time sensitive and that was a factor driving me back in my studio in Houston.
AH: What does this title mean to you?
Marina: I was born and raised in Austin, Texas, and have played a majority of my gigs in the Houston area. Between the two cities is where I formed much of my musical identity. I played gigs that were rock, country, bluegrass, and blues – sometimes all at once! That might seem a bit eccentric – Texcentric, if you will. Yet, Texas is a melting pot of culture, food and music – all informed by Texas’ history of immigrants from Germany, Czechia, and Poland, and its proximity to the Mexican border.
AH: Should people listen to your album from start to finish, or is there one particular song that you recommend they start with as an earworm? (Or both)?
Marina: I selected the track order to listen from start to finish. “Willie Hole” is one of my favorites.
AH: Which song would you say is the heart of this EP?
Marina: The first track “Dummin’ Down” sets the tone.
AH: How is this EP different from your others? Do you feel you took some new chances in the studio?
Marina: I think this record is a mixture of singer-songwriter, like from my previous album Austin to Houston, and a more electric and blues-rock feel. I even dusted off my favorite wah-wah pedal. While in Amsterdam last September, I sat in with a blues band and a rock band. It was lots of fun and it went over great! I’m glad I sat in, cause it helped me rekindle my love for some of my musical past that I subsequently brought to this record. I think it’s good to stretch out otherwise it just gets boring.
AH: While touring for music, what is one piece of advice someone gave you that has really stuck with you?
Marina: Know where your car keys are at all times! (laughs)
Thirty minutes before I was to open for Billy Joe Shaver, I had locked my keys and my guitar in my van! I couldn’t believe what I had done. Luckily, that van had a small window that someone was able to break out. Billy Joe’s tour manager had a slim and long enough arm to reach through and open the door. I got my guitar and I played the gig on time! My past self’s advice to my future self, “Know where your keys are at all times!”
AH: Your cover of Townes Van Zandt’s song “If I Needed You” was really rich. Can you share why you covered this song?
Marina: My good friend and fellow songwriter, Wrecks Bell, used to play bass for Townes Van Zandt. Not only did they also tour together, Townes wrote the song “Rex’s Blues” about my friend and sometimes mentor. Several years ago Wrecks opened the historic songwriter venue The Old Quarter Acoustic Cafe in Galveston, Texas. After Townes passed on New Years Day 1997, Wrecks began a tradition at the Old Quarter, where on every January 1st, you can sign up to play any three Townes’ songs. Thus began the annual Townes Van Zandt Wake. It’s become a big deal and folks come from all over the world come to perform or listen. Wrecks and his wife, singer/songwriter Janet Bell, who was also a friend of Townes, and the new owners continue that tradition at the Old Quarter.
This year I played at the Old Quarter Wake for Townes’ and I tried a new spin on Townes’ “If I Needed You.” In a room full of Townes’ fanatics who know all the words and are tough critics, I thought it went over well and I decided I should record it and add it to my new album.
AH: What’s on the horizon for you this summer and fall?
Marina: To start traveling and playing live shows more including during AmericanaFest in Nashville in September.
Thanks very much for speaking with us Marina Rocks!
Enjoy our previous coverage here: REVIEW: Marina Rocks “Texcentric”
Find more details and information on Marina Rocks, here: https://www.marinarocks.com