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The Lowdown:

Rachel Brooke

Based In:
Grayling, Michigan



Interview Date:
March 21, 2013

Interview Location:
Now That's Class! Cleveland, Ohio

Rachel Brooke (2009), Down in the Barnyard (2011), A Killer's Dream (2013)

Americana, country, gothic country, Southern noir, blues, rockabilly,


Related Articles:

Rachel Brooke



April 10, 2013


Rachel Brooke

by Jason D. 'Diesel' Hamad


Rachel Brooke basks in the dim red of the stage lights at Now That's Class! in Cleveland.

When I sat down to talk with Rachel Brooke, I felt bad for her. I’d listened to the interview she’d done earlier that afternoon on a local PBS radio station, and it had been a bit of a train wreck. It wasn’t Rachel’s fault; it was just one of those situations you run into a lot when you’re a relatively new artist and your interviewer is a complete tool. The guy obviously had never bothered listening to her music, he hadn’t done any research, and even if he had he wouldn’t have known the right questions to ask. I guess that’s not the kind of thing they teach you in broadcasting school.

So when we sat down in the dirty basement of Now That’s Class! on the west side of Cleveland, my goal was to make her think. That’s the goal of all of our interviews, really. Because if the artist you’re interviewing doesn’t know the answer to every question because they’ve spit it out in a hundred different interviews in the past, those answers are bound to be interesting.

If you do that—and if you’re really lucky—every interview you’ll have one real humdinger of an answer, one zinger line that really buries itself in your mind and doesn’t just reveal the personality of the person who’s speaking, but reveals something about people themselves. For Rachel’s interview, it was when I asked her how she came up with the darkly themed lyrics that have become a trademark of her music. She stumbled for a few seconds to find an explanation, and then just looked at me a little sheepishly and said, “I think that I have… probably… issues.”

If that doesn’t say it all, I don’t know what does. It gets right to the heart of that enigma I’ve been trying to understand for years now, what I call—for lack of a better term—“the artist’s soul.” Because that’s really where great art starts. It’s the artist trying to understand something in themselves that they can’t quite grasp. It’s taking the wretched secrets that cower in the deepest, darkest recesses of your being—the stuff you wouldn’t even tell your closest friends—and ripping them out to display to the entire world. It’s the masochism of self-discovery that lies at the heart of creation.

But enough of that philosophical crap, ‘cause beyond all that Rachel Brooke is just one hell of a musician. It’s easy to see why she’s gaining adherents given the unquestionable quality of her latest release, A Killer’s Dream. She’s making a name for herself as a lo-fi master and a queen of underground country, mixing old-time sounds drawn from country, blues and rock with a modern sensibility bathed in the shadows of gothic darkness. In our chat, we discuss her entire musical journey, how she developed her sound from another century, why she records her music live to tape, how those aforementioned “issues” help give her lyrics their dark edge, and much more. So whether you already love her music or are just learning about her for the first time, take this opportunity to get to know Rachel Brooke, because she’s gonna be making great tunes for a long, long time.


Buy A Killer's Dream on Amazon!
mp3 cd



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