The Naysayer is Brooklynite Anna Padgett, alt-country storyteller who weaves descriptive narratives of seemingly mundane people, places and things, delivering curt punchlines in deliciously laconic fashion. A native Houstonian, Padgett lingered in Louisville, Kentucky before settling in New York. Southern sensibilities seem to ground the narrator in Padgett's songs, who doesn't mince words, recounting with a healthy thread of skepticism, observations of life in the Big City and other tales.
First, some questions about Home Sweet Home:
What is your first conscious memory of living in New York?
I will tell you my first memory of New York. It was long before I actually lived here. When I was about 10, my stepfather, who was an opera singer, had to be in New York for a while one summer. So my mother, sister, baby brother & me came up from Houston and sublet an apartment on the Upper West Side. I loved the smell of the street and all the cars going by and the taxis and how different everyone looked from where I lived, and there was a RED APPLE supermarket & I knew it was called that because we were in the BIG APPLE. And the apartment we were staying at belonged to a gay man, and there were photographs of men all over the place, which was sexy. The men were sexy, and the fact that the guy was gay was sexy. I liked all the mysteriousness and I knew I would live here eventually.
What about your most favorite or least favorite memory of New York?
One of my favorite memories of New York is from New Years Eve of 1999. No one was in town because everyone thought the place would blow up, their money would evaporate, etc. But I was here & walking around downtown and there was no one on the streets and it was so eerie and pretty. I also loved this one Christmas I spent here. It had snowed and snowed and I was walking around by myself near Union Square and no one on the street but lots of snow and quiet and white and the businesses closed up. My favorite memories seem to involve a major decrease in numbers of people.
My worst memory of New York is right now. Those disgusting, profit-obsessed, smug and selfish liars, along with their accompanying police state, forcing themselves on and exploiting such a diverse, complicated, fragile, and beautiful city, the spirit of which is so at odds with what those fucks are trying to do. On the upside, the protest on Sunday was my favorite Ive ever been to.
[INTERVIEW CONTINUES INSIDE]
Do you have a favorite place to drink in NYC? What do you think is the best night of the week to go out in the city?
I dont really have a favorite place to drink. I like the Polish bars near where I live in Williamsburg. Or wherever I am playing a show, or a friend is playing. I do have some sentimental feelings about Max Fish, on account of I spent a lot of time there when I used to live in that neighborhood 8 or 9 years ago. And there are a lot of the same bartenders still, who are really sweet. And I like the owner. But I am probably only there twice a year.
What is your take on playing shows in New York? Do you notice a difference between in shows in Manhattan and Brooklyn?
I like playing in New York. I realized how much I like it when I started playing other towns. I dont really see much of a difference between shows in Brooklyn or Manhattan. Though it seems like the better sound is in Manhattan.
Is your New York connection revealed in your music? If so, how?
It is revealed in its "antidote-osity". An interviewer this summer asked me why my songs are all so sparse. What came out of my mouth was that a big reason I write songs and play them is to make myself feel better, and it feels better, with all the chaos here, to make a sparse song. Though that could also be a reflection of my head, and not New York.
Finish the following statements:
"You know you've made it when ."
They give you really good Mexican food and Sierra Nevada every time.
"It'll be time to pack up the gear for good when ."
The Naysayer starts trying really hard to please other people or be cool or make money or get press or impress.
"I'll never forget the first time I ."
I forgot how a song went during a show. Strobe lights are hard for me. But it was okay.
And finally, lets have some fun with word association. Give me your immediate feelings on the following:
I like Britney
Bridge & Tunnel
I really wanted to see that show. I think its over.
Is beautiful at night when it is pouring rain and then you can go to the Rum Room at the Hotel Edison and have a drink and listen to Karen Brown.
Bloomberg/Smoking Ban/Noise Laws
The smoking ban seems wrong to me, but since I dont usually smoke these days, I do appreciate not smelling like an ashtray when I get home.
The Naysayer plays tonight at the Mercury Lounge, celebrating the release of her third album, Kitten Time.
Also performing are The Mendoza Line, Elk City and Mascott. The Naysayer takes the stage at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $10.
Kitten Time is available on Red Panda Records.
The Naysayer's two other full-length albums, an EP and several MP3s are available from Carrot Top Records.
Download "The Naysayer" from Heaven, Hell or Houston.