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Spotlight Interview With Dylan Stewart

Singer Songwriter Dylan Stewart thrives with his genuine set of folk songs that tell stories through descriptive and passionate performances.

The artist digs deep and his roots shine brighter time as songs feature soulful approaches and southern guitar work that feels true to the aesthetic.

The Scarecrow Sessions album is a prime example of the artists powerful style and tasteful work as the tracks come through breathing with and alive each with it's own feel but never straying from the albums conceptual tonality.

Stewart is an absolute wizard at painting pictures using his words and getting you to feel from the music.

Laced with acoustic guitar hooks, vocal harmonies, and an alluring sound, the record rolls through some very real, personal and at times even existentialism.

The songs are beautiful and colorful with emotional driven platforms they are built from that really stand to last the test of time.

These songs could have been written in the 70's and are clearly influenced by some of the classics like Neil Young and Bob Dylan.

A wonderfully constructed album, The Scarecrow Sessions is incredibly impactful and we wanted to have a talk with Stewart to find out much more about where it all came from and what's next.

RAG: Okay Dylan, let's start with The Scarecrow Sessions album. This record has a real cross between classic rock, singer songwriter, and even has a southern undertone at times. Where did this album come from?

The dark....Those songs came from the darkest part of my living experience thus far. I spent a couple years in some low down places, with some low down feelings. I barley survived that whole heartbroken period of my life. I was on the edge of self destruction. Balls deep in chronic depression. I don’t think the word overindulgence truly defines my level of substance abuse in that time period. The hollowed out sadness you hear on that record is genuine.

But I made it. Somehow I pulled through it all and I picked myself up out of that place.

And I brought those songs back with me.

RAG: The songs on this record seem very personal. What inspires you to write?

Dylan: Over the course of my songwriting career I’ve come to find inspiration anywhere and everywhere as long as I’m open to receiving it.

Change, in all it’s devastating and foundation rattling ways, seems to be the most potent elixir for inspiration with efficiency. Whether it’s moving to a different city or relocating to a rural area after living in a heavily populated one for some time. Or maybe a romantic relationship you had been very invested in coming to a close. People and things coming and going in life. Change is all around us but most folks seem to reject it all together when it inevitably comes. Death is by far the most impactful form of change I have experienced. Losing a loved one or somebody you admired or loved is a form of change that doesn’t play nice. It takes pieces of you and the void it leaves behind seems to remain and alter how you move forward in some shape or form. It is also a very powerful bringer of wisdom and deeper understanding of things like time and gratitude and acceptance. And forgiveness. We are all gonna die but in paralyzing grief brought on by death of a loved one teaches us all to make better use of our time while we are alive and it strengthens our overall perception and how we feel. In most cases for the better.

Songs come from lots of places. Deep meaningful conversation and connection. Falling in and out of love. The endless struggle with holding onto things as time swiftly tries to whisk them away from your grasp. Self sabotage either consciously or subconsciously. Having to say goodbye or not getting the opportunity to do so.

I write songs about the changes that seem to forcefully intrude into my existence and take no prisoners. A documentation, if you will, of the when’s and where’s, what’s and why’s, do’s and don’ts of a shared experience we all must endure.

RAG: How did this all start for you?

Dylan: When I was a young kid I really took to music. My mother sang in church. My father was a songwriter and played some small town bars and private backwoods shin digs. I admired them both for how much passion and heart they put into it. That’s where it began. I got a guitar when I was 11 years old.

Songwriting came around age 18. That’s when I fell and love and got my ass handed to me for the first time.

RAG: I'm hearing some great styles on this record. What are some of your absolute biggest musical influences?

Dylan: Bob Dylan, Townes Van Zandt, Greg Brown, Leonard Cohen, Gillian Welch.

And of course Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen.

RAG: What's next for you as an artist? Anything in the works right now?

Dylan: I’ve got enough newly written songs to make another record. And I have a couple ideas I’m stirring around about recording a bootleg style record but I’m not ready to share the details on that project as of yet. Soon though. Later on this year. The fall most likely.

RAG: What are you doing when you're NOT working on music?

Dylan: Man, I’m usually always working on music in some form. Whether it be recording and learning as much as I can about audio engineering on my own time. Or continuing to expand my skill set...mastering my craft.

Between that and writing. Not just songs but poetry and other forms of creative writing.

When I’m not doing something art driven I’m usually sleeping or mostly driving...

Driving somewhere to do something art driven. Ha!

RAG: Who are you listening to right now?

Dylan: Dawes and Tom Waits.

To be honest, a lot of my daily listening goes to records made by my very very talented fellow okie songwriting brothers and sisters.

Oklahoma truly does pack a punch when it comes to the amount of creative talent it has swirling around all parts of the state. Most of the talent pool is untapped and not well known or publicized outside of the state but that don’t mean it ain’t good. Real good.

RAG: Do you think you might be focusing on any live performances when the time comes?

Dylan: Without a shadow of a doubt. You bet I will. I’m ready. As ready and willing’ as I’ve ever been before.

RAG: The Scarecrow Sessions feels like it was a big undertaking. Do you have any advice you'd give to other up and coming artists out there?

Dylan: Great records and art always starts with unique and brilliant storytelling and songwriting. Don’t be afraid to tell your truth...In fact figure out what does scare the living shit out of you and write songs about that...Make yourself uneasy and vulnerable in the process. And when the time comes, and you must, embrace the change.

Embrace it and use it.

Keep notebooks and pens at arms length all over the place at all times.

I think Guy Clark said it best, “Songwriting is easy. You just have to open a vein.”

RAG: Before we go, what would you like to say to fans of the music?

Dylan: Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for listening! For if not for you, there would be none of us. Forever grateful and hope to catch you down the road.


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