Most identify John Reilly (the “C.” is reportedly arbitrarily applied) as an gibbs in obtuse melodramas favor 1999’sMagnoliaor man comedies such as 2006’sTalladega Nights: The Ballad the Ricky Bobby. Return he’s brought a tune on the silver display (2002’sChicago, 2007’sWalk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story), the assumed of him together a musician doesn’t often tend to cross over. In recent months, however, Reilly and a few of his friends, consisting of Dan Bern (who wrote plenty of of the song in Walk Hard), have been touring around the West Coast, performing in small venues and also churches, developing their own little happenings. In so late May, the performed to thousands in ~ this year’s Sasquatch! Music Festival.

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People may expect a night the comedy upon see Reilly’s surname on the marquee, however once inside, they’re cure to an night of traditional country songs and storytelling. A couple of weeks back, the Sound captured up v Reilly to talk about his love the music, his friendship through Jack White, the public’s agree of his music career, and his desire to play Nathan Detroit if Guys and also Dolls is ever before revived.

I’m walk to try and avoid any film connected questions, if that’s okay v you. Unless of food it’s music related, as in, walk you really play north in Step Brothers?

Yeah! Not an extremely well, however I play the drums. I played north in another movie years earlier called Georgia that i made through Jennifer Jason Leigh and also Mare Winingham; I was in John Doe’s band. We recorded the music live.

John Doe of X? He sort of went more of a country route after that in his career, didn’t he?

It’s the final destination for plenty of punk rockers.

That’s really funny you stated that. A friend of mine, Cynthia Connolly, did a publication called Banned In D.C., a photojournal of the hardcore step of D.C. She was in reality doing a follow-up on the in recent years, and how they’re all rockabilly artists now.

Rockabilly is the mid-point, and also then you finish up in ~ country. Favor Mike Watt. There’s something around it. There’s purity to the music, and I think the appeals to a lot of punk absent people. The precision, and also the purity, and also the directness of nation music…I’m not trying to it is in sarcastic; i really think there’s a correlation in between the music.

I kind of miss out on the old institution country.

Well, you’re in because that a treat, Len. John Reilly and also Friends are coming to your town.

I’m in the Blue Ridge hills of Virginia.

Oh nice. I’ve spent lots of time there myself.

Right on. Satisfied or business?

Pleasurable business. I had actually a many friends, when I live in brand-new York, once I first got the end of college. Ns made friends through all these guys that checked out the university of Virginia in Charlottesville, and I supplied to go under there a lot.

You should certainly look into the festivals the go ~ above in Virginia and the Carolinas.

I constantly wanted come play the Clinch mountain one, the one that Ralph Stanley put together. I always wanted togoto that one for the matter. I’ve seen him perform here in California a couple times, and also it’s just so unique to check out that group. Currently that we’re getting our toes wet, we’re really open up to it. We’re make the efforts to save it, prefer I said, kind of special and also short run, so people don’t get burned out and also it doesn’t begin to feel like work, however by all means.

So, it’s man Reilly and also Friends. Is that Tom Brosseau, Becky Stark, and also Sebastian Steinberg, or are there other world involved?

Yeah, Willie Watson indigenous the Old raven Medicine display is in the band. This man Dan Bern, who’s a great songwriter and also who created a lot of stuff because that Walk Hard, is in the band. Greg Lease is prefer the finest pedal-steel player west the the Mississippi; is in the band. A many these civilization come and also go because they have outstanding gigs the they have obligations to.

Are friend dropping the “C” in order to produce a difference between your musical identity and your film identity?

The “C” was constantly just arbitrarily included because the union rules. The reality is, anyone that really to know me doesn’t speak to me man C. Reilly. I’m recognized as man Reilly among the world that recognize me. I simply thought, well, this is the end of the jurisdiction the the screen Actors Guild, so i can speak to myself what ns want.

Seeing the clips online, a the majority of the performances seem come be yes, really small, intimate in nature; the music obviously caters to that. Execute you encourage the audience interaction that I’ve to be seeing, or would you prefer that they just sit and also listen come what you guys are doing?

I desire everyone to have actually a good time. If you mean, like, singing along and also stuff, we love it. There’s a couple of songs us do, specifically towards the end of the night, as soon as we encourage anyone to chime in. Ns think a lot of of civilization come come the mirrors not understanding what to expect; they watch John Reilly and Friends and also they think it might be a night of stand-up comedy or something. They desire to scream “Shake and also bake” a few times at the start of the show. That’s fine, it’s every love. People are really enthusiastic and also happy to see me once I come out. And then we carry out our set, and maybe there’s a little amount the head scratching to begin with, and also then 100% the the time civilization have worked out into the principle of what we’re doing and really appreciate this gift we’re giving.

I’m not doing it to get an ext famous; I’m not doing it since we’re trying come sell documents (although we do have actually a couple of 45s the we offer at the shows). There’s not some huge commercial companies behind this. It’s simply a love that this music and also a desire to be with each other as friends and also play music and also share it v people. Ns think that really appeals come audiences. So far it’s been yes, really special, every time we do it. I’ve been cautious not to just book a tour of, like, two months of day after date, ~ date, after date, because we desire these mirrors to feel prefer “happenings;” once they happen, they’re really special and rare. A one night only kind of deal.

Do you normally play amplified, or carry out you play completely acoustic?

Yeah, we play amplified. The method it division down, we type of perform a bunch of old country standards with pedal-steel and also the complete deal, and everyone needs to be amplified in bespeak to it is in heard, for those songs. And then we execute kind of a mini collection in the center where Tom and I will carry out close harmony to sing on part old classic music, and Everly type songs, and Delmore Brothers sort of songs. And also that we just do about a microphone. There’s kind of a mix the that, it sort of comes and goes. It’s type of a root Revue. I do many of the song with various other people, and also every once in a while someone will execute a tune by themselves. We save it relocating that way. There’s a lot of variety to the show and there’s a many heart, a the majority of sincerity and soulfulness to this music. It’s kinda cool to be able to express yourself in a personal way with a track that you didn’t write.

A lot of the songs that I’ve to be seeing are covers–Delmore Brothers, Dolly Parton, ray Price, Patsy Cline, even Ray Charles. Carry out you write your very own material? choose you said, Dan Bern composed a lot of the product for Walk Hard; execute you guys have any kind of of your very own original product that you perform, or is it all traditional?

Willie Watson, that was a member of the Old Crow medication Show, has actually some initial songs that he does sometimes in the show. But, for the many part, speak from my own personal point that view, we have aspirations to create music together, yet until I have the right to write a tune that’s even close to being as great as “Goodnight, Irene”…It’s a relatively modern thing, this idea that if you’re a singer or a musician you gotta compose your own music; you have to bury your soul; you have to be the writer, producer, performer. And also I think that leaves a lot of good music left to the wayside. My emotion is, there’s gold in castle hills, and also these song deserve to be kept alive, not simply through recordings yet through live experiences through audiences.

And the carries top top the totality idea that the oral tradition.

Yeah, exactly! It’s a track cycle. We’re simply trying to save the flame lit. We reap doing it, and people have actually been yes, really appreciative of what we’re doing so far.

Working through Jack White ~ above Walk Hard, is that just how you got involved with 3rd Man Records?

Actually, i met Jack before that. Ns was a substantial White Stripes fan appropriate out that the gate. And also then ns heard together a goof he to be doing “Mr. Cellophane” in concert through the White Stripes, that tune I sing in Chicago, the movie. And also I to be like, “I gotta hear that.” i wrangled part backstage passes, and Jack and I met. We simply really hit it off. We’re both from the Midwest; I’m indigenous Chicago, he’s native Detroit. Us both had a love the the exact same kind that music. Us both thrived up in big Catholic families. Us really hit the off. We stayed friends, and then I believed of him for Walk tough because ns thought, Who else, in ours day and also age, could play Elvis Presley?Who’s the biggest rock star out there? there was only one answer in my mind, therefore Jack came in and also did that, and also we simply stayed friends.

This music thing, I had actually been doing one-off reflects at this place referred to as Largo, below in L.A., which has been a hotbed because that a lot of of an excellent people: Aimee Mann, Jon Brion, Fiona Apple, a lot of good comedians end the years. And also I’m an excellent friends through the owner. And also so i was act a the majority of one turn off shows and being one emcee, sometimes doing a tune with someone, type of hosting nights the music. And then I started to get much more and an ext into it myself, and I realized, “Wow, we’re getting pretty good; we must record several of this. Who do I recognize that have the right to record music? I know Jack White!”

So I referred to as him up, and he’s like, “Yeah, how around this weekend? I’m here.” Or “ How around next weekend?” It occurred so fast that all of a sudden i was on a aircraft to Nashville, staying at Jack’s house, and also recording in ~ his studio in the back. That was incredibly generous and supportive and also encouraging. It’s simply been incredible. And now I have actually two 45s on third Man and also the band is touring. I’m someone who’s do a career out of transforming up what I’m doing and also dodging expectations. This even surprised me the this is in reality happening. It’s always something that I’ve always loved, just playing and also singing. Somehow I never ever thought the would ever before come with each other on this level. There’s something cool around the mission. Not just, “Here’s a track from my brand-new record,” it’s an ext like: “Here’s a tune from the deep root of the tree that song.”

How did you get involved with the Rogue’s Gallery, that arsenal of pirate songs and sea shanties?

That was just one more random call call. I understand this guy, Hal Willner. Ns forgot exactly how I at first met Hal. Ns think i met him once I hosted Saturday Night Live, I can’t remember, but Hal’s been a friend of mine for years now. That actually functioned on the music for Step brother and, ns think, Talladega Nights together well. The was placing this thing together and just dubbed me up. He’s like, “Here’s a list of 200 sea shanties, why don’t you choose one and come in and record it.” it was that easy. And also that’s the means I like work. I’m no someone who has actually a the majority of layers of management and entourage. I don’t have actually an assistant; i don’t have actually an entourage. I’m just someone that likes to attach with other artists and also keep that as basic as possible, for this reason John Reilly and Friends, the root music revue.

I don’t understand if you intended this for on film or on stage, yet you stated if there’s ever before a revival of Guys and Dolls again, that you would certainly aim for the component of Nathan Detroit.

Well, the course. Anyone who’s ever seen that musical, who’s a man, would desire to play that part.

You wouldn’t desire to pat Sky? That’s Brando.

Yeah…I’m additionally realistic. The eternal fiance/bachelor. It’s a good part. I grew up law musicals together a kid, and that’s the one that acquired away, the one that ns didn’t perform out of all the classics. That knows, that thing has actually kind of to be floating around, not going anywhere, for years.

But you’re talking around for the stage, no making a film variation of it?

Well,either. Ns think once I stated that we were talking about the movie, due to the fact that for a while that looked choose the movie was going to happen.

After Chicago and the success v that?

Chicago was walk to water level in the renewal of the movie musical and also I’m still wait on that.

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