Holler Country Music
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New Artist of the Week: Erin Viancourt

July 19, 2023 11:00 am GMT

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It took exactly 26 seconds for us to fall in love with Erin Viancourt. Pretty sure that’s a new Holler record. As soon as we heard the first few bars of ‘Cheap Paradise’, the opening song from her new album, we knew. Erin was the one for us and we were going to live a very long and happy life together.

Won’t Die This Way is the kind of record that will sit on your stereo for months on end. It’s already soundtracked our sweaty windowless summer afternoons and all those late nights working overtime in the Holler offices, knowing the rest of London is out there having fun without us. Like sucking on a honey and lemon cough sweet lozenge, it’s as sharp and energizing as Waylon Jennings but as sugary and soothing as Norah Jones.

Produced by Viancourt and Kyle Dreaden and recorded in Nashville, Won’t Die This Way double clicks on the complexities of the human heart, as the Cleveland-bred singer addresses all the joys and chaos of modern life, digging into its messy simple pleasures across 13 songs that blend classic honky tonk country with the poetry of Bobby Bare singing Shel Silverstein songs.

“I hope this album makes people want to move around a dance floor with a cold beverage, sing at the top of their lungs with the windows down, and keep moving forward with whatever they’re looking for in life,” Viancourt says. “Most of all I hope it reminds everyone that they’re not alone and we’re all a little crazy - so let’s all grow together and do it with style.”

Whether it’s the softly sweet ‘Some Things Never Get Old’ or the slapping country funk of ‘Straight Down the Barrel’, the rowdy honky tonk of ‘Crazy in My Mind’ or the delicately picked country folk of ‘Mountain Boy,’ Won’t Die This Way gate-crashes classic country with a sound that booms with echoes of 70s outlaw mixed in with a distinctly contemporary touch.

If Emily Nenni and Margo Price set your pulse racing, then listening to Erin Viancourt is going to feel like a full-on heart attack.

After graduating high school, Viancourt headed to Nashville and soon found her own community of fellow musicians and songwriters, then later made her debut with the early-2019 single ‘Playin’ Old Records.’ Over the past few years, she’s gained attention as a magnetic live performer, eventually landing such high-profile gigs as opening for Cody Jinks and the legendary Travis Tritt in 2021.

Wrapped around her warm and radiant vocals, the tracklist for Won’t Die This Way is made up of songs she’s accumulated over the last decade, and after signing to Jinks’ Late August Records, she worked with Kyle Dreaden to bring the songs from her live shows to life at Nashville’s Forty-One Fifteen and The Smoakstack in a series of sessions.

“With the live show I always try to bring a good time and help people to let loose but also connect with each other,” says Viancourt. “To me the most special thing about music is how it can help you feel less alone.”

Holler sat down with Erin Viancourt to talk about her influences and the inspiration behind one of our favourite albums of 2023.

Where are you from and how did that influence you?

Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. People always ask how I ended up singing country music being from Cleveland. I tell em, country music doesn’t have anything to do with your zip code, country music is anyone with a story to share that makes a complete stranger feel seen and not so alone. Whether that be with a tears-in-your-beer song, or a two-step-your-worries-away tune. My musical influences came from the people around me and the memories being made.

What did you grow up listening to?

The music of Patsy Cline, Jerry Jeff Walker, Asleep at the Wheel, The Desert Rose Band, Eddy Arnold, John Denver, Dean Martin were amongst most of the voices being played throughout my childhood.

Do you remember the first song you wrote?

Besides the first Mothers Day song, the very first one was called 'Shiny New Compass'. It was the classic 16 year old, “I don’t know where I’m going but I’m on my way” attitude. But the very first song I wrote that made me think, “hey, that ain’t bad, by God that’s actually pretty good,” is a song called ‘Where Ya Goin’?’

How would you describe your sound?

That’s a tough one, it’s hard to place yourself these days, I hope in a good way, I really don’t know where to place myself…but I’d say my music lives in a world of traditionally spirited, modern country music.

What can you tell us about the new album, Won’t Die This Way?

Won’t Die This Way is a collection of 13 original songs with the exception of one. These are songs that have danced around my life this past decade living in Nashville, high points, low points, dancing in love, dancing down trouble, come to Jesus meetings, losses, lessons, everything you could hope for from a country album. Stories I hope others can relate to in their own life in their own way.

Where’s the most unexpected place music has taken you?

Driving from Billings, MT to Big Sky, MT and witnessing the mountains wake up with the sun. Chasing a tour bus, at this time in my Toyota Highlander with a trailer, has you driving long hours at any time of day. This time in particular, Yellowstone was flooded and due to evacuations there was not one hotel/motel/inn vacancy in the whole seven hour drive. We had planned to drive a few hours and the rest the next day but this left us with no option but to do the whole thing in one stretch. The reward was seeing McDonald Peak still asleep on our left, and watch Holland Peak wake up on our right. Sleep deprived, delirious, and dehydrated…it was magic.

Where do you get your inspiration for writing songs from?

I’ve always loved the nostalgic things in life, old things with lots of life left in them, finding something sweet or ironic in even the unromantic moments life throws your way. It doesn’t take much to strike a chord or spark an image to get my wheels turning… and I’m a smart aleck so I enjoy a good play on words.

What songs would you put on a mixtape if you had to make one for Holler listeners?

This would be my current mixtape based off of songs I’ve been listening to lately.

Emmylou Harris – ‘Restless - 2008 Remastered’

K.T. Oslin – ‘Come Next Monday’

Amazing Rhythm Aces – ‘The End Is Not in Sight’

Randy Travis – ‘Better Class of Losers’

Highway 101 – ‘Who's Lonely Now’

Flatland Cavalry – ‘Missing You’

Kendell Marvel – ‘That Seat's Saved’

Cody Jinks – ‘When Whiskey Calls the Shots’

Waylon Jennings – ‘The Gemini Song’

Reba McEntire – ‘Walk On’

Emily Nenni – ‘Useless’

Merle Haggard – ‘A Better Love Next Time’

Jerry Jeff Walker – ‘Gettin' By’

Melissa Carper – ‘Ramblin' Soul’

Mose Wilson – ‘I Don't Need You’

Listen to Erin Viancourt's Holler mixtape below.

Spotify


What’s your all time favourite song of someone else’s?

‘Faded Love’ by Patsy Cline … although my seasons are ever changing, not sure that answer will ever be consistent.

If you weren’t doing this what would you be doing?

I live with a soundtrack in my head at all times, so I always thought it would be fun to be the person that places songs for tv and film. Either that, or running some sort of vintage shop, soda fountain, bar situation.

If you could time travel back to any time when would you travel back to?

I’ve always wanted to travel back to Broadway in Nashville during the late-1960s / early-70s. When the legends were hanging at Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge writing songs, having drinks, causing a ruckus, and waiting to hear their name through the radio to know it was their turn to walk through the alley to the back door of the Ryman and play their slot on the Grand Ole Opry. I’d love to be a fly on those walls.

Which person from history would you most like to meet?

Patsy Cline. After reading her book, I appreciated so much the way she loved and cared for her fans through letters, and I’ve heard she was a spitfire. I’d love to sit and have a 7&7 with her.

What would be your Spice Girls style nickname?

I wasn’t really allowed to listen to the Spice Girls ha so I’d be picking one out of thin air…but if I were Abbott or Costello, I’d be Costello.

Do you have any hidden talents?

Misplacing things…

What’s next for you?

We’ve got the record coming out July 21st! After that, I know we will be out on the road playing A LOT. Continuing to tour with Cody Jinks on the Change the Game Tour, as well as going back to towns we have already been through this past year with Cody and headlining smaller venues. We’ve got some festivals lined up for the fall and joining some other exciting names as support.

Won’t Die This Way is released on July 21st via Late August Records

Written by Jof Owen
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