Eleni Mandell
by Indy (Roadtracks)

Roadtracks: Country for true lovers!? That's your statement. What do you especially like in Country music? And what means Country music to you?

Eleni: I love traditional country music that was made 30, 40, 50 and 60 years ago.  It is very soulful, beautiful words, melodies, instruments, musicianship and lyrics.  What's not to love?  I love to listen to a lot of different country music like the Louvin Brothers, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Tammy Wynette, Hank Williams, The Flying Burrito Brothers etc.  A lot of my favorite "rock" musicians played country music, too, like the Rolling Stones (listen to some of the tracks on Exile on Main Street), Bob Dylan (a whole country record, Nashville Skyline plus lots of country songs over the years), Tom Waits (Blind Love on Rain Dogs) etc.  Anyone who says they don't like country music is either lying or doesn't know what they're talking about.
Roadtracks: Your music is a very traditional kind of Country. Music for Honky Tonk Bars, where people can dance with each other. Do you think that young people will lend an ear to that music too, people maybe they normaly listen to Alt. Country or Indie?

Eleni: I don't know anything about Alt. Country or Indie.  I don't really know that much about contemporary music unless my friends are playing it.  I'm not proud of this.  I'm just lazy and trying to catch up on all the great music made in the last century.  I love to dance and I love when people dance to my music.  Strangely, more people in Los Angeles seem to dance than anywhere else I've traveled in the last year.  I was very surprised by this.  I think people of all ages will listen to good music and enjoy it. 
Roadtracks: Do you have a pattern under the famous ladies of Countrymusic, which brings you on the way to record this album?

Eleni: I really love Tammy Wynette's voice.  It is very emotional.  I learned a lot by listening to her records.  I would say she's the main female influence for this record.

Roadtracks: I don't know you're older releases, but people say, they are a very curios mix between Bar-Jazz, Campfire Folk, Tex Mex and IndieRock. What is the reason for your musical change?

Eleni: I don't really consider this a music change.  If you listen to my other records you can hear influences from all kinds of music because I love all kinds of music.  I have used pedal steel guitar on all my records.  That is a traditional country instrument.  I also have written lots of waltzes and country sounding songs.  I even started to sing many country songs live at my shows.  I used to sing a Hank Williams song all the time called I Can't Help it if I'm Stil l in Love with You.  I just really love country music.  That's the simple reason for the record.  I still write all kinds of songs and my next record will not be a country record.
Roadtracks: On the album, there's a lot of the 'big names' working with you. Greg Leisz, Tony Gilyson, Don Heffington?.How did you catch these guys?

Eleni: I have known Tony and Don for about 10 years. I know them through our mutual friend, Chuck E. Weiss.  I have met a lot of great and talented people through Chuck over the years, including Tom Waits.  I'm very lucky.  Greg Leisz was suggested by Tony.  He's such a sweet man and incredibly talented.
Roadtracks: And where did you get the budget. I think they are not cheap?

Eleni: They all worked for much less than they make with artists that are on big labels.  The truth about good musicians is that they like to work on good projects and often will work for a reasonable price.  It's fun for everybody.
Roadtracks:  To your lyrics. Are you writing about the classic country themes, or is it most intimate stuff..?

Eleni: My songs are all very honest.  I write from my life experience.  I think love is a classic country theme and of course good for rock and roll, too.
Roadtracks: Tom Waits???..?

Eleni: My biggest influence.  I'm still learning things from his records and can't stop listening to Blood Money.

Roadtracks: Thanks Eleni!