“Out of all the songs that songwriters write — because you have to write a lot of songs if you’re a songwriter — it always fascinates me what songs bubble to the top and actually make it onto the record and become part of the set you play every night when you go out,” singer-songwriter Tawny Ellis muses. “Sometimes [laughs] it’s a surprising dark horse that gets to come to the party.”
Ellis is explaining how she selected fellow artists to participate in “The Stories Behind the Songs,” happening Saturday at bass-playing husband Gio Loria’s Black Volt Amplification showroom in Boyle Heights. They hope Saturday’s show, which will be filmed and recorded in the 60-seat space, will mark the beginning of an ongoing series. The audience will be invited to participate during an interview segment when the artists — Ellis and Loria, the Mastersons, Manda Mosher, and Charlie Overbey — will talk about their inspiration for individual songs.
All friends and members in good standing of LA’s Americana community, Ellis and Loria, the Mastersons, Mosher and Overbey comprise something of a mutual admiration society. Ellis expresses gratitude for their support while discussing the creative breakthrough she made while writing songs for her forthcoming album “Love Life,” and says she wants to “dig deeper” and see how the songwriting process works for people she respects.
“Sometimes people are inspired by a guitar riff,” she observes. “How do you write your songs? I want to know. We’re going to be hearing from each artist. Do you sit down at a certain time of day and [write], or does it hit you as you’re walking across the living room? How does this process happen for you? It’s fascinating to me.”
Of the four acts, the Mastersons, aka the husband-and-wife duo of guitarist Chris Masterson and violinist Eleanor Whitmore, have probably logged the most road and stage miles, thanks to three acclaimed albums and their nearly decade-long tenure with Steve Earle’s band the Dukes. They’re expected to introduce material from the album they just recorded with producer Shooter Jennings, a widely anticipated follow-up to 2017’s “Transient Lullaby” that’s due from Red House in March.
“Brand new stuff from everybody — I wanted it to be fresh,” Ellis explains, adding that Mosher and Overbey are also working on new releases. “I wanted it to be music that nobody’s heard from these artists. It’s not old hat yet. And I wanted to experience that with the artist, with a live audience, and to honor the songwriter, and to talk about it.”
The Stories Behind the Songs with the Mastersons, Charlie Overbey, Tawny Ellis, and Manda Mosher at the Black Volt Amplification Showroom, 501 Echandia St., Boyle Heights, 7-10 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23; $20.