Interview by Scott Preston
Rebecca started out singing gospel music in the mountains of East Tennessee. Then, barely out of high school, Rebecca Rippy took off for a three month tour of Europe. There she found a fertile community of songwriters and performers – that helped shape her multi-faceted musical tastes and style of songwriting. With a beautiful flair for harmony, Rebecca has become many artists favorite singing partner. Whether singing heartfelt, folk-influenced ballads or gritty rockers, Rippy sings with sincerity and an emotional intensity that sets her apart from the crowd, and the sheer quality of her songs herald her arrival as a significant songwriting talent.
Cincy Groove: Your latest cd “Telling Stories” just came out a few months ago?
Rebecca Rippy: Yes, I had the cd in hand in late October 09. It’s not so new to me but new to everyone else.
Cincy Groove: How would you compare the whole process of “Telling Stories” compared to your last studio effort in 2007?
Rebecca Rippy: I did the 07 record with Jamie Hoover, I basically walked in and said here these are my songs have your way with them. I have a country accent, so it kind of put me in that alt-country area. To me anyway it’s a lot more country sounding album than I feel I am as an artist. That album kind of put me together with the band I am working with now. When we went to record “Telling Stories” it was a much smoother process. I work with a bunch of stellar musicians who all also happen to be songwriters. When I come in the studio with my songs they all can bring their own individual creativity to each song. What I did was I gave each of them copies of my songs with me just playing guitar and singing. Then each of them would add their parts to the each one. I feel a whole lot better handing someone this cd because I feel it really represents me as an artist a lot more then the first one.
Cincy Groove: How did you end up meeting your current band members?
Rebecca Rippy: Well, like I said I worked with Jamie Hoover, he is really a great supporter of my music and just a nice guy. When this artist Douglas Barnhill was recording with Jamie, he needed a backup vocalist for his record. Jamie put me in touch with him and Douglas just loved what I was doing. Douglas also invited me to sing with him at The Bluebird Cafe. From there we got this gig opening for Don Dixon and Jump Rabbits here in Charlotte. We ended up putting this band together for the show because we wanted it have a fuller sound. We all ended up just sticking together after that show.
Cincy Groove: How did you end up meeting Jamie Hoover?
Rebecca Rippy: When my husband and I first moved to Charlotte one of our new neighbors told me about Jamie. I called him out of the blue and said I have this project I want to record. I went in and recorded and our working relationship developed from there.
Cincy Groove: Who do you consider some of your influences?
Rebecca Rippy: About the time I started playing and singing, Lilith Fair was really big. All those female singer/songwriters had a big impact on me. I really like all kinds of music. I also like Sting, Shawn Mullins, Jewel, Alanis Morrisette.
Cincy Groove: Tell me about the video shoot for “It’s October”.
Rebecca Rippy: We did it in three different locations. Part of it was filmed in my basement, part of it in the Sylvia Theater, and part of it in the woods. I had never done something like that before, so it was a lot of fun. The nice thing was that a friend of one of my band members happens to be in video production, so it wasn’t as stressful. We filmed it in just 2 days. I would like to do it more, but everyone in the band is working professionals outside of music so its hard sometimes to get everyone together. Somehow we did it though and I hope we will do another video again soon.
Cincy Groove: When was the first time you played out?
Rebecca Rippy: I think I was probably 19, which was about 13 years ago. It was at The Down Home in Tennessee.
Cincy Groove: If you could record a duet album with anyone, who would it be?
Rebecca Rippy: I would have to say Shawn Mullins or Rob Thomas. What would be really nice is to have a whole album of different artists singing duets with me.
Cincy Groove: Do you have any upcoming shows you are excited about?
Rebecca Rippy: I get really excited over the small shows. I am doing this Songwriter in the Round gig with Don Dixon, Bill Mallonee, Danielle Howe, Mitch Easter and myself. That’s the one I am most excited about.
Sat 2/27/10 Elwoods Music Hall Charlotte NC – opening for Don Dixon & The Jump Rabbits
Sun 2/28/10 The Hummingbird Cafe @ Elwoods Music Hall Charlotte NC – with Rebecca Rippy, Don Dixon, Bill Mallonee, Danielle Howe, Mitch Easter
Fri 3/12/10 Gaston County Museum Dallas NC – Solo show
Fri 3/19/10 Americana Women Festival Tallahassee FL
Sat 3/27/10 The White Horse – Black Mountain, NC opening for Bob Lind
Fri 4/23/10 Earth Night Concert Gastonia NC