Indie rocker India Eaton has traveled the world and has settled, for the moment, on the South Fork. Ahead of her March 16 show at Bay Street Theater, the singer-songwriter opened up about her musical niche, the forthcoming release of her ninth album and something that no one else knows about her yet.
Among all of the musical talent on the East End, what do you think of as your own space?
I am definitely a listening show in that we rock it up but you probably wouldn’t hire me as the wedding dance band. The way the band works is it’s designed for a listening environment. That would be a Talkhouse 8 o’clock show or a Bay Street concert. It could also be a festival. I guess I say listening show because it’s original music. I think it requires an investment of time because you’ve never heard it.
Your musical style has been compared to “a fusion of John Mellencamp and Melissa Etheridge.” How do you feel about this comparison?
I think that’s good company. I think comparisons are the way we describe everything — comparisons and metaphor. John Mellencamp, that’s a great idea, a serious songwriter with the rocked-up band. I’m from the west so maybe there’s that heartland sound. I think Melissa Etheridge is inevitable because I’m a woman rocker. She’s an iconic woman rocker.
We’ve heard you have an album coming out later this year that was recorded in your kitchen in Springs. That sounds like quite the undertaking. How does that differ from past albums you’ve done? What was that experience like?
Number one, I’ve never recorded an album in a kitchen. The acoustics were pretty good. I wrote most of the songs in the kitchen, so in the end it all married up. The acoustics in the house are pretty good. This wasn’t a grand, esoteric design — I just didn’t want to lose the energy and emotion by constantly traveling back and forth to a studio. I wanted to keep the energy close and intense. We brought in a sound engineer and crew from Queens. They converted the house like an FBI operation and stayed with the neighbors. We had the crew’s 100 percent focus as it was winter in the woods in Springs with no wifi. It was good. It was intense. I think there’s a tight energy. Recorded music is never about the perfection, it’s about the energy.
Is there something you can share about yourself or your music that no one else in the public sphere knows yet — a best-kept secret, as it were?
I am secretly learning to play the bodhran drum — it’s from Ireland — from YouTube lessons.
How did you get into playing the bodhran drum?
My wife brought me a bodhran drum from Ireland. I love it.
Bay Street Theater is billing your upcoming show as “an original music experience performed in three acts with comedy and improv highly likely.” While we’ve heard you’ve got a great sense of humor, is comedy a new genre for you?
Comedy is hard to qualify and quantify so we never guarantee it. Some dry tangents on life are certain to come out. Whether they strike as comedy is subjective. In plain English, comedy is scary because once you label something as comedy, the horse has left the barn. I’m lucky that I have a guitar to fall back on to keep the show going. I think the comedic style is in the spirit of Christopher Guest in that nothing is funnier than real life.
What else can an audience expect from your upcoming Bay Street show?
A tremendous level of intimacy, as it’s an acoustic duo with Jeffrey Smith, whom I’ve played with for years. He’s coming in from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We’re going to have an opportunity to use visuals in the storytelling since it’s at a theater.
Inda Eaton and Jeffrey Smith will play Bay Street Theater on Friday at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30, and can be purchased by calling the theater at (631) 725-9500 or by visiting baystreet.org. For more information on Ms. Eaton, visit indaeaton.com.