1. Tell us a bit about your background and how you became a country music artist?
I grew up in the small city of Aschendorf in North Germany, next to the Dutch border. My parents owned a channel ship, and so it was easy to understand that they made me become a ship broker as a young man. I became infected by the country music that we heard via the American Forces Radio and I started to write my first original song ‘The Trucker’ under the table of my ship brokers work desk. At this point I had already hitchhiked the whole of the USA, sponsored by my Grandmother. I visited the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville enjoying George Jones and Johnny Cash at that time!
I guess most important for me was the sound of a pedal steel guitar, which still gives me the chills, and I am so thankful that in the late seventies I became close friends to the masters of this magical instrument, Jimmy Day and Buddy Emmons. My influences in singing have been Porter Wagoner, Bill Anderson and Willie Nelson. For song-writing? well, I guess listening to Hank Cochran songs might have been very helpful for me, he just had it!
3. Which of your songs means the most to you and why?
Well, I really like some of my original songs and some, well, could have been better!
If you ask what song really touches me very deep, it is a song I wrote a few years ago ‘1961 A Love Song’. It is about a relationship between a man and his wife that worked for a whole lifetime and kinda ends with a little surprising tragic touch. The song was cut in Nashville and I was so lucky to have the late Lois Johnson to speak the female part on this recording. Oh and I remember when I was in San Antonio, Texas a few years ago, King Johnny Bush stepped up to me and said “Hermann, just listened to your 1961 Love Song, this is the best country song that I have heard in my whole life”. He was all in tears. Well, Johnny, danke schön.
4. What piece of advice can you give to aspiring country music artists?
Man, this is real tough, the business is hard. You really have to love country music, especially if you are into real classic country music, you need staying power. Do it, go your own way.
5. What does the next year hold for you?
I have been on the road for almost 45 years now, with my band The Emsland Hillbillies touring Texas, Great Britain, most of Europe, the Baltic States and New Zealand. This year I am working on a new recording project in Austin and a solo tour of the USA, which might take me to Florida and Texas. We also have somebody interested in booking a tour in Australia. So, we will see what happens. I am all thrilled.
Also to stay healthy, that would be good and be with my family, my wife Anke and my son Mark more often.
And just for fun…
1. Who is your favourite music artist (dead or alive)?
I always loved George Jones very much but Willie Nelson is my favourite, I am so proud to have had him as my duet partner on two songs for my album The Last Country Song.
2. What age do you feel right now and why?
I am 64 but I feel like 39 now and then, so much to do. But then, waking up after a string of concerts I feel 104 years old! It’s a fine variety. Life never gets boring for me.
3. You have the chance to time travel to any gig or concert that has ever taken place – which one would it be?
Time travel? Wow, I would be in a western swing band, Ray Price, Lefty Frizzell, Jim Reeves, in the late fifties, early sixties or earlier being on the road with Hank Williams.
4. What song do you sing in the shower?
I made a new country recording of the SEEKERS Song ‘Never Ending Song Of Love’. I really love that. Yes, I find myself singing this tune now and then in the shower.
5. How would your friends describe you?
Oh, this is hard to answer, my friends respect that I stay with my musical roots and go my way.
Find out more about Hermann on his website www.hermannlammersmeyer.de