Blasting twin barrels of Americana noire and southern-gothic songwriting, India Ramey fires on all cylinders with her national debut, Snake Handler.
Pentecostal churches, broken households, crooked family trees, forgotten pockets of the Deep South, and domestic violence all fill the album’s 10 songs, whose autobiographical lyrics pull from Ramey’s experience as a young girl in rural Georgia. Intensely personal and sharply written, Snake Handler shines a light on the darkness of Ramey’s past, driving out any lingering demons — or snakes, if you will — along the way.
In this interview spotlight, we chat with India about the latest project, influences, challenges and more.
Full Q&A along with links and the video for Snake Handler below.
Where are you from and what style of music do you create? (In your own words, not necessarily in marketing terms or by popular genre classifications.)
I was born in Rome, Ga but I feel more comfortable calling Birmigham, AL my hometown because I spent more of my life there and it was kind to me. I do southern-gothic music. I like to tell tragic and creepy stories and I like to out hypocrites in my songs, like Flannery O’Conner did in her stories. The more general term for what I do is Americana or Alt.-Country. I like to pay homage to classic country and bluegrass/roots music. I feel that it is easier to be honest in that realm and more fun vocally.
What led you down this path of music and what motivates you to stay the course?
I grew up listening to all genres from punk rock, to pop to country to classical but when I decided to tell my stories in the form of songs, they just came out of me as weird country songs.
How is your new release different than previous ones? Did you set out to accomplish anything specific?
I set out to put this album out the RIGHT way. I didn’t know what I was doing with my first albums, as far as the process of doing a proper release and I put them out in a hurry without giving them a chance to get any build up or enough exposure. I also spent exponentially more time on the actual crafting of the material. I wanted to make an honest album that was strong from every angle. I wanted to no “weak links” on it. I wanted to make sure that I deeply loved every single song on it. For the most part, I feel like I did it “right” this time. I’ll try to make the next one even more “right.”
Do you face challenges as an indie musician in a digital age? How has technology helped you (assuming it helps)?
Where do I begin? I think for the most part though technology makes it easier to be an indie artist and I have been able to cover a lot of ground with this project so I can’t complain. Every job has challenges and I love my job so I embrace the challenges as much as the victories.
Where can we connect with you online and discover more music?