You don’t play the role of a recording and touring juggernaut for two decades and run into some kind of crossroads.
For Louisville drummer Patrick Hallahan, the My Morning Jacket engine room fire, that point happened about five years ago. Tired of rock ‘n’ roll grind and, to some extent, each other, the band members took a break. It’s the happy ending which thankfully wasn’t an ending. As the band mended themselves, a new album was released, a pandemic was triggered, and for Hallahan an opportunity presented itself that took him to the kitchen after being pulled off the road.
âI guess the break is the result of a band that have been together for almost 20 years,â said Hallahan, who will perform with the rest of My Morning Jacket headlining Saturday at this weekend’s Railbird festival. end. âThere are ups and downs in every relationship. My valley probably hit around 2016. I was just having a rough time but stayed there. Then in 2018, I think, Jim (James, MMJ frontman, singer and songwriter) just decided he hit his valley and said we had to take a break. Maybe forever.
âWe all had to work on certain things and be really honest with each other. These situations can go one of two ways. In our case, the discussions turned into more love. We played a few other shows and just realized how lucky we are to have each other and how much we love doing it. It’s just this gradual return to becoming a group and taking stock of what we have, appreciating each other for who we are and the collective chemistry and energy that happens when we’re all in the same. space together.
After completing the new album in Los Angeles in March 2020, MMJ returned home to fully rekindle himself as a touring unit. Then COVID-19 hit, giving the group’s scheduled break an unplanned extension. The record, titled simply “My Morning Jacket”, is now due out on October 22. This meant that James, Hallahan and the rest of the band (guitarist Carl Broemel, bassist Tom Blankenship and keyboardist Bo Koster) had to sit on their completed project without sharing it for over a year.
âOh, man, that was terrible,â Hallahan said with a laugh. âTerrible. I’m serious. When you do all that soul searching and all the tough conversations, and you’re upset and come to terms withâ¦ all you have to do to get out of a difficult part of your relationship is It’s like a polyamorous marriage counseling session. You put it in all that work and you get these shows under your belt and you’re like, “This is so good. I can’t wait to get going. ‘before. Then you are cut off, just as the plane takes off from the runway. It was very frustrating. “
Faced with an aborted 2020 touring season, Hallahan found himself with an obvious dilemma: what to do. Triggered by the popularity of online streaming performances that many artists turned to during the early stages of the pandemic, he received an offer with meat – specifically spatula roast chicken. Mushroom risotto and reverse seared sirloin steak. These are three of the dishes the drummer prepared as he turned his pandemic inactivity into an online cooking show.
âI have had a parallel path of food and music all my life. Music took center stage, but I have always had an equal passion for food and hospitality. I just like to bring people together. That’s basically what it boils down to. That’s why I was put on this earth.
âWhile we were locked in there was all of these streaming performance-based subscription things that you could do where people could watch a concert by their favorite artist playing in their living room. I was approached to do something with the drums, but I was like, “No one wants to watch me play the drums for 90 minutes for three sessions.” So we went to look for another option. They said, âWe know you love to cook. Why don’t you give a cooking show a chance? I always wanted to have my own cooking show because it sounded so fun, so I put together a little three-part series.
With considerable experience in the restaurant business (he was previously a part-owner of Louisville’s popular Butchertown grocery store), âIn the Kitchen with Patrick Hallahanâ hit cyberspace for three streaming episodes last winter.
âIt was a lot of fun and a lot of work – a huge learning curve, and I’m looking to do more. We’re currently in the discussion phase of what to do next. So, yes, that was. just another creative outlet. I needed to do something. All that energy just goes nowhere when you lock it in. You have to do something with it.
With the pandemic somewhat at bay (at least, for now), Hallahan is back on the road for his first extended tour with My Morning Jacket in five years. Railbird will serve the second stop. The band haven’t played in Lexington since a concert at the University of Kentucky’s Memorial Coliseum ten years ago.
âLexington is sort of where it all started for the band,â Hallahan said. âJim was in the UK when he started writing his first demos. So technically we’re a Lexington band too.
âWe were all friends since elementary school. Jim lived there in a house on Marquis and Euclid. I didn’t live there, but I was sure there were plenty. Several of us had this training location in Jessamine County on Nicholasville Road. I went to school at U of L, finished working in a restaurant by 10 p.m., then drove to Jessamine County. I played until 3 am, slept a few hours, then drove back to do my morning classes at U of L. There is a lot of synergy in the Lexington area within our group. It will be nice to be back there.
Railbird 2021 will be held August 28-29 in Keeneland. The whole event is sold out. For more information on COVID-19 admission guidelines and parking and shuttle services, visit railbirdfest.com.