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“I was playing at a club in Perth and I came off stage and there was a guy that came up to me with a Stratocaster. That was the first time that I ever got one in my hands – it was a total accident. I hadn’t joined the dots about how to achieve that sound I had heard on Buddy Holly records,” Diesel reveals about his early guitar life which formed the basis for his new album Americana.

“I remember that at first it was a real wrestle and I hated it and it took a while for things to click, that was the key to Mossy’s sound in Chisel and what Hendrix was doing. That was the start of a long term love affair.”

With 13 tracks, the new release takes listeners on a journey through Mark Lizotte’s musical life that started in Rhode Island. The key to it all started with legendary folk singer Joni Mitchell’s The Circle Game. From telling his sister that he had written a song in the bathtub at age 3, his rendition on Americana is incredibly impressive and pays great respect to Mitchell.

Growing up in the US, the song’s lyrics are what still captivates Diesel all these years later. ‘Yesterday a child came out to wonder, caught a dragonfly inside a jar’; although it was written nearly 50 years ago, the words still stand the test of time as one of Mitchell’s finest.

As you would expect from the likes of 2011’s Under The Influence, Diesel doesn’t take half measures in creating albums paying homage to the greats. Americana is bold and breathes new life into classic tracks. From the likes of The Band to James Taylor, Bob Dylan to Neil Young, the initial idea had Diesel unsure of how it would work.

“My agent, who I have been with for 27 years now, came up with the concept and he wouldn’t even tell me about it over the phone. I thought, ‘Oh boy, I’m worried. I’m either going to love or hate this. I had to tell myself that I could say no,’” he says.

“The idea of doing an Americana thing was something that had to happen eventually. I’ve done blues albums and I’ve done tributes to my guitar heroes before, but I’ve never done an autobiographical thing. It was quite natural from that point on.”

Travelling back and forth to the US and Australia throughout his childhood and teenage years, there is no doubt that all those intercontinental experiences had a big impact. None more than The Boss.

“That album was a movie that I would come home to everyday after school. Some days I’d listen to side A and then side B and some days I would listen to the whole thing. I’d grab the headphones, sit on the floor and just read the linear notes from start to finish. In my mind I had little vignettes of each song. It’s easy to see Born To Run as an uplifting song yet there is quite a darkness to the lyric. I get a feeling of Suburban dreariness and people trying to get out of it. It’s the perfect album for me. The song writing and guitar playing is stellar – you can’t get a better album than that.”

Written by Tex Miller

Release: Americana out now via Liberation Music
When & Where: The Corner Hotel, Melbourne – September 9