Artist: RC & the Ambers
Hometown: Tahlequah, Oklahoma
Latest Album: Big Country
Personal nicknames: RC “Rooster” Edwards
Which artist has influenced you the most … and how?
Probably have to say John Prine. Something about the way he could be heartbreaking, hilarious, and most of all clever in the same song. He teaches a lesson about not taking yourself too serious. Nothing wrong with a song being fun. Nothing wrong with a song being sad. Sometimes both. Gotta remind myself that sometimes.
What was the first moment that you knew you wanted to be a musician?
Two events come to mind. I was maybe 6 or 7 or so and my ma took me to see this group play in the parking lot of the Hardee’s burger place in Sallisaw, Oklahoma. Everybody was singing, dancing, having a ball. I thought, man, I wanna make people do that. That group was the California Raisins.
At some point my brother got a VHS copy of the Richie Valens biopic La Bamba starring Lou Diamond Phillips. He watched it over and over again so I did too. “Here’s a bit of a rattlesnake.”
What rituals do you have, either in the studio or before a show?
My favorite has to be when Turnpike used to have a pre-show ritual known as the Golden Hour. One hour before doors we would all gather up, drink a few salty dogs, and watch an episode of The Golden Girls. Started out it was just me and Laser. A week later you had to get there early to get a seat.
Which elements of nature do you spend the most time with and how do those impact your work?
The river for sure. We go kayaking almost every Sunday or Monday at Diamondhead here in Tahlequah. Our version of the Illinois River is beautiful here. It’s always been sort of reset button to chill out and start a new week.
How often do you hide behind a character in a song or use “you” when it’s actually “me”?
Too often probably. Classic deflection mechanism. I’ve also written a song about someone else and later realized it was about me.
Photo credit: Amber Watson