Making a return engagement to Fairfield Theatre Company on Dec. 29, folk rocker Stephen Kellogg has plenty to say. Like his past albums, his newest album, Objects in the Mirror, is soulful, driven by lyrics. He’s touring through the end of the year as a solo performer and then kicks off a full-band tour in March. Andrea Valluzzo spoke with him about his show.
Andrea Valluzzo: How you describe your music?
Stephen Kellogg: My music in general is Americana rock and roll. It’s a little bit of folk, a little bit of rock and this record is a continuation of that. It’s always tricky to describe your own stuff but the music that tends to move me is lyric-driven stuff. I love the ’70s songwriters Rod Stewart and Bob Seger where the lyric was really front and center. And that’s very much what we went for with this album. The other thing that we did a little different on this record is that we recorded over the course of just one week, so it’s very live, the performances, which is how music was made once upon a time but feels like a bit of a risk in this day and age.
AV: By forgoing overdubs, did you gain more authenticity and immediacy?
SK: That was so much of what was just so exciting. I worked the songs really hard before I went into the studio to make sure I believed every lyric and had thought about it. And then we just went in and played them the best that we we were able to. In this day and age that really felt progressive.
AV: Where do you find your inspiration when writing songs?
SK: It’s less about music and more about life that is motivating me. I feel like I’m 42, today is actually my birthday. Being 42, you kind of start examining your life and realizing OK, I have, in some ways, perhaps the majority of or half my life past. So what’s ahead and what’s important to say? The record for me is a vehicle for that. These are the things I want my kids to know, these are the things that I have learned and have helped me, these are mistakes I’ve made that if I shine a light on them, maybe someone else can benefit from them or learn from them. In that sense, music becomes increasingly important to me and what I put out in the world whether it’s through music or a talk I’m doing, it feels urgent. We only have so much time here and as you learn things, you want to share them with the people you love and the people around you.
AV: What can audiences expect from your show?
SK: This first leg of the tour I’m doing solo, it’s really a storyteller’s evening. I spend a fair amount of time talking about the songs. My hope is to amuse people with my stories and move their hearts with the music.
AV: You mentioned Rod Stewart and Bob Seger. Who were other musical inspirations?
SK: I love those guys. Cat Stevens was someone I went to bed listening to all the time when I was a kid. Later on I discovered ’80s metal: Whitesnake, Tesla and bands like that. I thought what if my show was as entertaining as that but as heartfelt as those ’70s songwriters. I feel like that’s kind of where I ended up.