Relix 44: My Morning Jacket’s Patrick Hallahan
Patrick Hallahan in action at My Morning Jacket’s One Big Holiday (photo by Josh Timmermans)
Welcome to the Relix 44. To commemorate the past 44 years of our existence, we’ve created a list of people, places and things that inspire us today, appearing in our September 2018 issue and rolling out on Relix.com throughout this fall. See all the articles posted so far here.
Farm-to-table Rock-and-roller: Patrick Hallahan
Patrick Hallahan may or may not be writing a cookbook. At home in Louisville, Ky., the My Morning Jacket drummer is enjoying his first significant break in “15 to 18 years,” by crafting recipes in the comfort of his kitchen. “Food and music use the same parts of your brain and your creative flow,” Hallahan says. “When you’re cooking or when you’re writing a song, the creative processes are basically identical. I think that’s why chefs and musicians get along so well.”
And, certainly, Hallahan has been spending a lot of time with chefs. To celebrate his 40th birthday, he went to the Austin Food and Wine Festival with his friend, Brooklyn- based barbeque expert Billy Durney. The goal was to learn as much as he could about live-fire cooking, and through Durney, Hallahan was introduced to experts like Jamie Bissonnette, Elliott Moss and Wayne Mueller. “It’s like going to Mozart and taking music lessons,” he asserts, later describing dishes like woodfired chicken and slow-cooked lamb chops that were all crafted with hot coals or open fires. “If I could only get over the smoke in my eyes, I’d be set,” he laughs.
On the other side of the music-food divide, Hallahan mentions his “budding relationship” with Joe Kwon of The Avett Brothers. “He’s a great cook, and he and I would both say that if we weren’t doing this, we’d be cooking for our profession.” In Louisville, Hallahan likes to cook (and dance) to Preservation Hall Jazz Band or old-school country records. In the mornings, he’ll make breakfast with his daughter. At night, you might catch him re-watching episodes of Chef’s Table on Netflix.
He also oversees the food offerings at MMJ’s One Big Holiday festival, which has previously included his former restaurant Butchertown Grocery. Traveling through the often parallel worlds of music and food, Hallahan has witnessed the collective palate of most people (including concertgoers) evolve. “The Food Network and the celebrity-chef movement certainly made a giant impact not only on the availability of good ingredients, but people have also become more educated consumers,” he asserts. “Food has improved at music festivals, and when we started touring, airport food was horrendous. Now chefs are opening restaurants in airports.”
And what about that cookbook? “I’ll have to see how many recipes I come up with,” he says. “It will be a great project to force me to buckle down. It’s like saying, ‘I’m going to write an album,’ It makes you sit down and write songs and not screw around.” Then, a moment later, he jokingly laments what he just said. “So much for that summer off.”
This article originally appears in the September 2018 issue of Relix. For more features, interviews, album reviews and more, subscribe here.