John Oates Finds Inspiration in Flood-Ravaged South, Reveals Secret to Continuing Success of Hall and Oates
He's famous the world over for his partnership with fellow Philly-area soul brother Daryl Hall, but it isn't like he hasn't ever sowed any oats of his own. Singer/guitarist John Oates (who co-wrote such hits as 'Sara Smile,' 'She's Gone,' 'You Make My Dreams' and 'Maneater') has, like Hall, also released an entirely separate body of solo work over the years.
But perhaps nothing he's done is as personal as his latest full-length, 'Mississippi Mile.' Comprised mainly of Americana cover tunes that influenced Oates before his Hall and Oates days, it's an homage to classic roots rock and soul.
There are a few original songs as well, including a down-home remake of one of his old hits and a track inspired by a very real brush with some of the tragic flooding that has plagued the south over the last several years.
Essentially recorded "live" in a southern studio backed by some of the country's most seasoned session players, it was, as Oates tells Spinner, a chance to reconnect with the music that got him here in the first place.
In Hall and Oates, you and Daryl have covered many musical styles, but never really something like this brand of rootsy Americana.
It started out as a casual idea. I was going to get some musicians I really respected down in Nashville. We were just going to record some old songs but as I got into it more and more, what I realized I was doing was creating this sort of musical autobiography of everything that ever mattered to me and made me want to be a musician -- before Hall and Oates. People may not think I did anything before that, but I'd played in numerous bands, playing coffee houses doing folk-blues on my own, so 'Mississippi