Stewart Lindsey - Spitballing
The DAVE STEWART-produced SPITBALLIN’ would never have happened if not for one Twitter message that turned STEWART’s world upside down. STEWART has seen and done it all, but none of it prepared him for what he would hear from THOMAS LINDSEY. “I read it and clicked on the link,” STEWART recalls. “And there he was, singing something on a YouTube video. I don’t remember what it was but there was no music. He was singing a cappella. And I went, ‘Holy crap!’” STEWART got in touch with his young admirer and invited him to send examples of his original material.
“It was really amazing stuff. So I asked if he wanted to come out to Los Angeles and sing three songs unaccompanied before my show at the Troubadour,” STEWART says. Following their live debut, STEWART and LINDSEY began writing together by sending audio files back and forth between L.A. and Louisiana. Working long distance seemed to bring them closer as they built a catalog of songs.
Their common ground proved as lush as Delta marshland. A down-and-dirty delta guitar riff. A thumping drum beat. And a stunning vocal intro, urgent, haunted, earthy and spiritual, with blues-drenched filigrees, a vibrato that shocks like an electric current, a range that defies not just convention but gravity itself. Backed by STEWART’s distorted voodoo guitar licks, LINDSEY opens “Leave This Town” in free tempo and then a swampy groove kicks in--just guitar and drums, raw and wild. “Two People” unfolds over a stomping beat that leads to a long vamp over which Lindsey improvises with hair-raising intensity and finesse. Churchy echoes permeate “When Dogs Run,” with a mournful organ providing the backdrop to STEWART’s Pop Staples-style guitar tremolo. “Alcohol” boils down to organ and LINDSEY’s voice recounting a riveting elegy for someone who was “lost to alcohol.”
Some of the stories behind the lyrics on these songs are sad, but true and some more fanciful. To write “Crocodile,” for instance, LINDSEY admits “I tried to write a song that would seem like something from a shoe commercial! I had this image of a woman in bad-ass crocodile boots, walking down the street. That’s how that song formed.”