American Music Awards

John Oates: 6 Questions On "Mississippi Mile"

John Oates: 6 Questions On "Mississippi Mile"

Having grown up in Philadelphia,

4. "Deep River" was inspired by Doc Watson's "Deep River Blues" and the lyrics are about the recent Nashville flood. What inspired the other original, "Mississippi Mile"?

The album was pretty much done. As a songwriter, I wanted to summarize the record, and I realized that so much of the music on this record came from the Mississippi Delta where so much great American music originated from. Even though I'm not from there, I wanted to put myself in that place; I fantasized about what it would be like to walk down one of those old country roads.

5. Why partner with Warner Music Nashville?

I haven't had a record company affiliation since 1991. Through some mutual friends I met [Warner Music Nashville president/CEO] John Esposito... We hit it off and he asked me what I was doing. I told him I was recording an album and the studio was about 200 yards away from Warner.. so he came by around lunch time. I put some headphones on him and he was sitting right next to Sam Bush. I think he had a good time... He liked what I was doing and we worked out a promotion and distribution deal. It's on PS Records, which is my own imprint through Electra Nashville. He opened the door to their resources and their staff and everybody has been amazing.

6. What else have you been working on?

Daryl and I still tour, but we're not really recording. My next phase, especially in Nashville, will be songwriting. I have a second home in Nashville now. I just love the songwriting process. If I had to drop everything and just be a songwriter, I would be OK with that because that's the real joy.

I'm actually doing my own songwriting festival right now -- the 7908 Aspen Songwriters Festival. [The number reflects the Colorado city's elevation.] We did it last September for the first time and it was really successful. People loved it, but the weekend we did it wasn't a great weekend because it was in between the ski season and the summer... so we picked the last week of March and that's why we did it only six months apart. We're going to try to keep it in March from now on so it will be a yearly event.