Producer Bert Sperling: The L.A. sunshine helps songwriting
Bert Sperling

Bert Sperling is a musician and producer. He produced the Deer Lodge tribute to George Jones, which also includes L.A. duo The Wellspring. By email, he discussed the origins of the George Jones tribute album, the best thing about the L.A. music scene, and what he'd be doing if he weren't making music.

Give me the elevator bio of Bert Sperling.

I was raised in Portland, Ore. I am an Ivy League-educated philosophy major, based in Los Angeles for nearly a decade. I've fronted punk and country bands over the years. As I've found my voice, the roots, country and bluegrass music I grew up around always seem to find a way into my music. As a producer I draw from many styles while at the same time starting with a blank slate for the artist, always beginning with their voice and building on that.

How did the George Jones tribute album come about?

My childhood buddy and Deer Lodge Records founder Ezra Meredith and I were hanging out listening to George Jones albums, really missing him after he had passed away recently. He and I had seen George several times, and I got to meet him. He's always been our favorite. I blurted out that we should do a George Jones tribute album, and it snowballed from there.

If you were going to incorporate one George Jones song - aside from the one on the tribute album - into your set, which one would it be? Why?

Definitely one of his up-tempo drinking songs. I used to play "The Corvette Song" a lot live. Now I think I'd like to do "Bone Dry". It's wonderfully hilarious and catchy.

What do you think is the best thing about the L.A. music scene?

The traditions and the history, the overall quality of the musicians, and the diversity. Driving by all the classic studios and venues constantly fills me with inspiration. And the sunshine helps songwriting too!

What would you be doing if you weren't making music?

Making films and choosing great music for them, like they used to do in classic cinema. Or teaching. I know how much impact a teacher who "gets you" and inspires you can have on one's growth. It stays with you forever.

The tribute to George Jones is a 30-song compilation of various artists. It is available now from Deer Lodge. If you're a fan of George Jones, it is definitely an album you should add to your collection.