Darin & Brooke Aldridge‘s Snapshots equally energizes country classics (“Tennessee Flat-Top Box”) and deeper cuts (“Wait Till the Clouds Roll By”) with contemporary bluegrass flair. CMT Edge spoke with Brooke Aldridge about the married couple’s new collection.
“When Darin and I were putting songs together for this album, we wanted to capture bits and pieces of our past and go back to our traditional roots a bit,” the North Carolina native says. “Also, we wanted to let people think back and remember times in their lives when they heard these songs.”
CMT Edge: You must’ve been either intimidated or inspired to cut “Tennessee Flat-Top Box.”
Brooke Aldridge: Oh, it was very inspiring because I’ve always been a huge fan of Rosanne Cash and Johnny Cash as well. It was neat to be able to put our own spin on it. The way Johnny put the guitar melody to it was always really catchy. I think people can get a lot from that in general and it’s very inspiring because they’re musical heroes of ours.
Explain what drew you to Marty Stuart‘s “Get Up John.”
That’s actually an old Bill Monroe tune. He didn’t write words to it, but then Marty Stuart and Jerry Sullivan wrote words in the ’80s, I guess. Also I’m a huge Emmylou Harris fan and she cut it in the ’90s. That’s the version that I heard and fell in love with. Sam Bush was on that album with her and I loved the way he played the mandolin on that song. Of course, it being gospel goes back to my roots where I got started with music.
You’ve said the album represents your love and faith. Explain.
Well, we want to portray positive, uplifting messages with our marriage. That’s what we’ve done from the get-go. So, to be able to do that definitely represents what Darin and I stand for as artists and through our marriage and how we want to come across to people.
Describe the greatest challenge in working with your spouse.
(laughs) You know, Darin and I actually don’t have a lot of challenges. We have a great marriage and we get along well. People are always like, “How do you travel on the road together and not want to tear each other’s hair out?” It’s not like that at all. We have a lot of the same likes and it’s really easy to come to an agreement on just about anything. I really wouldn’t have it any other way.
Describe his best quality as a musical partner.
Oh, gosh. Darin is an incredible musician. He can play just about anything he picks up and that’s really inspiring to me. I want to become a better musician as well. My main instrument is my vocals, but since I’ve met him he’s taught me so much on the guitar and mandolin. He’s very business-minded as well and he’s taught me a lot about the music business.
Who brings in songs to work on?
We both work together on that. We’re very open to each other’s ideas. He always does really well at arranging the songs and then I put my part in as far as the vocals go. When he’s in the studio doing his vocals, I pitch in on that and say, “Why don’t you try this with your voice?” He’s always like, “Do this on your instrument.” So, it works out both ways.
Describe what drew you to “When He Calls.”
“When He Calls” is another Emmylou Harris song [written by Paul Kennerley] that I heard. That was on an album that Darin had and let me listen to. I fell in love with it because it reminded me of the songs I grew up singing in the church. I love the words to it. My mom loves the song, too. She’s always been a huge Emmylou Harris fan.
It really spoke to my heart and I wanted to get that same message across to people. Then we were able to pull in Ricky Skaggs to help us do the vocal harmonies. He made it sound even more amazing. He actually said he’d never heard the song before. After we heard it when he cut his part, it gave me cold chills.
Describe performing with Ricky Skaggs.
Oh, gosh. It’s very surreal. He’s such a down-to-earth guy, just a great Christian man who I aspire to be like. Watching him and Sharon is so inspiring. Darin and I want to let people see how we work our marriage in a sense like they do. Ricky’s an amazing artist and we hope we can walk in his footsteps in some way.
What other musicians are you most drawn to?
Well, I grew up loving country music and don’t have a lot of bluegrass background. Martina McBride has always been one of my huge favorites and Emmylou Harris and Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn. I always love Sara Evans and Sonya Isaacs. Let’s see. Reba. I used to do “Why Haven’t I Heard From You” when I was a kid in singing competitions. Gosh, the list could go on for days.
Explain how you approached interpreting Uncle Dave Macon‘s “Wait Till the Clouds Roll By.”
That was a song that one of our good friends, who is a World War II veteran, pitched to Darin and me. He always loved the song and he and his wife used to listen to it a lot. Uncle Dave Macon used to do it on the Opry. We said, “Yeah, that’s a song we’d want to do.” His wife passed away a few years ago and he asked us to do it at her funeral. We changed the words from Jenny to Helen because that was her name. It played a big part in our lives.