The Prescriptions burst onto the music scene in April 2019 with the release of a debut album called Hollywood Gold. Shortly thereafter the band stopped by the DittyTV studios to record a Concert Series performance. Those songs have gone on to become a new live album by the band called The Memphis Sessions.
Senior Editor Tim W. Jackson talked to the band’s bassist Parker McAnnally about the live album, life during a pandemic, and more in this 5 Questions segment.
1) We spoke with you guys last when your debut album, Hollywood Gold, was released on Single Lock Records in 2019. How did the release of that album affect your daily lives?
I think the biggest change for all of us was the overwhelming catharsis and relief we all felt to have it out into the world. We had been working on that album for a while, so it was a little tricky to take stock of what had been building on us mentally. So to have this specific, sort of anonymous anxiousness—that is, the need to get it out and have people hear it—finally be relieved, was huge.
2) Of course, one thing that happened with that record was your appearance on DittyTV’s Concert Series. What do you recall about that appearance from last year?
It was a total blast. We were hugely impressed with the scale of the operation y’all have going on over there. Everyone at Ditty was extraordinarily kind and hospitable. It was the first stop on our summer tour to the West coast with John Paul White, which was a huge time as you can imagine.
3) You guys sounded great in that live performance, and you used those tracks to release a seven-song album called The Memphis Sessions. What can you tell us about the decision to put those tracks into an album, and also who else collaborated with you to turn that music into an album?
That’s kind of you to say. We have to give credit where it’s due: that was largely facilitated by Robin Bender from Ditty and Reed Watson from Single Lock. We listened back with a critical ear to the multi-tracks from the session and thought releasing it would be a great proxy for people who haven’t yet had the chance to see us live, which turned out to be a better forecast in light of the pandemic than initially expected. I mixed the album, our friend Jamie Sego who runs an amazing studio called Portside Sound in Sheffield, Ala., mastered it, and another friend Adam Crigger did the artwork. And of course you guys for making it all happen to begin with.
4) Like all musicians, you guys haven’t toured for quite a while. So how have you been spending your time?
The pandemic will do that to you, unfortunately. We’ve all been using this time to do what most folks are doing: spending time with family, our significant others, pets. For us individually, it’s musically been a great excuse for us to jump off the grid and explore things we’ve always been interested in but may not have had the time for, such as diving into archival blues music, synthesis theory, pedal steel, drum machine programming. We’ll see how those things metabolize in future music.
5) And speaking of future music, what’s next for The Prescriptions in terms of new music?
In addition to exploring the above, we’ve been spending time down in Florence recording with Single Lock’s Ben Tanner working on what will be our second studio album, which has been our primary focus during quarantine. It’s been a much looser, more experimental bunch of sessions than the ones that yielded Hollywood Gold, and as a result I think it’s a totally new flavor of The Prescriptions—both from a sonic and songwriting perspective. Think pianos through a whammy pedal, bass guitar through Leslie cabinets, roto toms … nothing is off limits, and it’s been a hugely liberating and inspiring process. Pending pandemic and general global chaos, we’ll be eager to get it out into the world as soon as we can.