BT: Colin, thanks for your time today - we're looking forward to your return to Birmingham. If you will, talk about the writing and recording process for American Sunshine.
CH: The material took shape over the last few months that I was working on the songs. Garry West from Compass Records suggested that I go to Nashville - I think he wanted put me out of my own studio and my own environment to shake things up a little bit. I went there with three songs and that was all I had. The musicians there were so good that we recorded those songs in the first day. I had to scurry back to my hotel and finish off a bunch of songs that had been lying around. I finished about three songs that night, which was interesting because I had to work under pressure.
BT: Though there was pressure involved, the spontaneity of recording those songs must have made the process rewarding.
CH: Yeah, and when you do it that way, you remember that's the way you used to do it. Also, it has a very specific flavor when you do things that way. Not everybody likes that human element - you play a song and it breathes and it's got feel. But because people are so used to things being corrected, they think that something's wrong with it [laughs]. Sometimes you'll listen to those tracks and if something's got character to it, either you like the character or you don't.
BT: You've seen many changes in music throughout your career, and now we're in the age of iTunes, Internet and satellite radio. How do you view the balance of easy access versus a potential over-saturation of music and those making music?
CH: There's validity in both ideas. Things do get saturated because anyone that has access to machinery can make a record, but generally there are a lot of things out there that aren't very good so you tend not to notice it. You tend to notice the things that are good. There are people in my position that have had some level of success and wanted to continue making records, but it was frustrating because once you got dropped by a label you were on your own and you couldn't let your audience know you were out there. But with the advent of cyber-world, it's amazing for people like myself because people can discover you and it gives you a sense of empowerment. I feel very positive about it and it far outweighs the negative aspects of it.
BT: Having seen your last two Birmingham shows, I know that your shows are about more than just the songs. Your stories and interaction with the audience are as entertaining as the music and add a personal element to each performance.
CH: I think it's just a deep desire to be loved [laughs]. All we have is what we can create, so you do it because it is personal. Workplay is big enough to hold a good crowd but you can make a connection. It's also selfish because if I talk to people, I get good stories and I can use them the next night.
Tickets are $22 - $25 day of the show - and can be purchased at www.workplay.com or by calling 380-4082.