Colin James Is “On the Couch” with New YouTube Series

Colin James Is “On the Couch” with New YouTube Series

Press Release

“Blues has always been a pass-it-forward kind of thing,” says James. “It’s also surprisingly hard to write.”

Acclaimed guitarist Colin James launched his On the Couch with Colin James Guitar Tuesday YouTube series today.  The first episode features Colin working out on his Red Supro Res-O-Glass Folkstar guitar. Future episodes will be pre-taped and uploaded to his YouTube channel between 3-4 pm Pacific Time on Tuesdays.

Colin’s most-recent album, Miles to Go, is his ambitious sequel to the critically-acclaimed 2016 CD, Blue Highways, and it continues James’ story with a collection of carefully curated songs handpicked from some of the greatest blues artists.

Known as one of Canada’s best blues musicians, it wasn’t until Blue Highways that James found himself on a blues chart: the album spent 10 weeks at No. 1 on the Roots Music Report’s Blues Chart. It also landed him one of his biggest hits: “Riding in the Moonlight,” a Willie Dixon song that James once covered when busking in the streets and subways of Toronto and Montreal that landed on a Spotify playlist garnering millions of streams.

When James set out to make Blue Highways, an album of blues covers recorded with his touring band, he always intended it to be the first of two installments. Now we have Miles to Go, in which James records nine new covers of his favorite artists (Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Blind Willie Johnson, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Little Willie John, Robert Johnson, etc.) and adds two originals, “I Will Remain” and “40 Light Years.”

“Blues has always been a pass-it-forward kind of thing,” says James. “It’s also surprisingly hard to write. You have to be careful how modern you get in your phrasing. Certain writers can write a song that sounds like it was done 40 years ago, but it’s deceptively hard.”

To be a blues musician is to always have a dialogue with the past. As with much blues music, it’s the performances on the original versions rather than the actual song that drew James to them. That said, what could he possibly bring to them in 2018? “You bring what you can,” he says. “If I feel like I’ve brought enough, then I put it out. I knocked a bunch of songs off this record when I realized that I couldn’t bring anything to them that weren’t there already. All my life I’ve tried to bring vitality to older songs. Hopefully, my dedication to it is what floats it over the mark. That’s a subjective thing; some people will always prefer the original. However, there’s always a group of people coming up to see me after a show who might say, ‘Oh, I never would have heard ‘One More Mile’ by James Cotton—nothing in my life would have pointed me there.’ ”

Colin James YouTube Page Colin James

Gang of Four Releasing Guitarist Andy Gill’s Final Recordings

Gang of Four Releasing Guitarist Andy Gill’s Final Recordings

Lauren Leadingham

Listen to the first single, “Forever Starts Now,” from the new EP.

Gang Of Four have announced a new release, featuring the final recordings made by founding member/leading guitarist Andy Gill. The EP, Anti Hero, will be released on July 17, 2020. Artist Shepard Fairey, who created both the iconic Obama Hope and Tom Petty: An American Treasure posters, created a portrait of Andy Gill after he died. The album cover artwork for the EP is a modified version of the original.

‘Anti Hero’ artwork


Shepard Fairey says:

Gang of Four has been a profound inspiration for me because the band demonstrates that great art can powerfully merge pleasure and intellectual provocation. I was devastated to hear of Andy Gill’s passing, but honoured to make a portrait of him in the hope of creating an iconic image of one of my heroes—with apologies to Andy, to me he was a hero—to serve as a reminder that though life may be fleeting, Andy’s potent art and ideas will endure.

Gill, who was a beloved member of the post-punk community, passed away in February of this year at the age of 64. In his final days, he contributed to Gang of Four’s new material from his hospital bed. Andy Gill’s wife Catherin Mayer said, “From the hospital, Andy continued to give final notes on mixes of music that he looked forward to releasing. Since his death, I have been working with the band to fulfill his vision. The only change we have made is to include on the EP two brief recordings of Andy speaking, both, in different ways, essence of Andy.”

Gang of Four frontman John “Gaoler” Sterry also spoke of the new material: “This collection of songs was recorded just before Andy died and it was his intention to get these out—to represent the way we played them on tour, late last year. All three songs were recorded in Andy’s home studio in London and there’s a fly-on-the-wall intimacy to this EP; from the song selection to the snippets of spoken word.”

Included on Anti Hero, along with “Forever Starts Now” and “Day Turns to Night,” are reworkings of the band’s “Glass” and “Change the Locks.” Anti Hero follows This Heaven Gives Me Migraines, another collection of posthumous Gill recordings. Proceeds from the EP benefit Guy’s and St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust, the English hospital network where Gill had been under care for a respiratory illness.

Listen to “Forever Starts Now” below — a brand new track written by Gill and Sterry. The original title, “Hero,” alludes to seeing oneself as a hero and the manipulation associated with upholding that fantasy. “She sings along with his song / She thinks it’s like having the radio on.” 



Nick Faber Releases “Highway to the Stars” in Advance of New Album

Nick Faber Releases “Highway to the Stars” in Advance of New Album

JD Nash

“’Highway To The Stars’ is the lead cut from a project I’ve been working on over the last few years; combining American electric blues, British blue-eyed soul along with a host of other funky elements.”

On one of his mid 90s record digs in the United States, producer Nick Faber (Appleseed, Hightower Set, John Turrell, Lakuta) saw his latest breakbeat scavenger hunt across southern Florida interrupted by a weathered, brow-beaten musician in his late fifties playing guitar in the street.

Transfixed by the powerful and eerie blues coming from a steel guitar played with brass slide and dexterous fingers, Faber came across the life-experienced wanderer again the next day and the next. Sounding like something straight out of an Alan Lomax recording, the bluesman – who referred to himself as Bison on account of the lucky nickel he wore around his neck – said he moved from town to town playing his guitar for food and whiskey. Using a minidisc player to make field recordings of the player’s acoustic and electric slide guitar, Faber vowed to take them back to the UK and tell everyone about this unassuming guitar hero – only for his mirage-like muse to have hit the road the next day, presumably on the next leg of his drifter’s existence.

Faber returned to the UK and the recordings gathered dust, almost lost to fading memory. Until twenty years later, when he stumbled across a young singer busking on London’s rainy pavements, playing harmonica blues and pining for sunnier climes. Faber made the missing link between the performers old and new, and began to record and mould his newfound subject as was his original intention decades earlier.

“’Highway To The Stars’ is the lead cut from a project I’ve been working on over the last few years; combining American electric blues, British blue-eyed soul along with a host of other funky elements,” Faber told us. “The story isn’t that important, as the music speaks for itself; I was hoping to update the classic British take on American blues, as popularised in the late 60s, informing groups like The Rolling Stones, The Animals, Manfred Mann and so many others.”

With a funky, driving beat, “Highway To The Stars” brings the blues into new territory. The roots of the song are set in the slide guitar tradition, while the track itself would be welcome at any dance club in the world. Faber has taken his field recordings, blended in a plethora of modern day attitude, and produced an amazingly catchy track.

Faber’s upcoming album, The Lost Highway Tapes, will be released later in year, offering even more of these tasty treats.

Fabyl · The Lost Highway Tapes “Highway To The Stars” FABYL019 released 29th May“Highway To The Stars”
Nick Faber – Twitter


Memphis Mayhem: A Story of the Music That Changed the World

Memphis Mayhem: A Story of the Music That Changed the World

Press Release

Billy Gibbons: “There’s truly no place like Memphis and this is the story of why that is. HAVE MERCY!”

Memphis Mayhem weaves the tale of the racial collision that led to a cultural, sociological, and musical revolution – The definitive story of the birthplace of rock and roll. Beginning with the 1870s yellow fever epidemics that created racial imbalance as wealthy whites fled his hometown, David Less moves beyond W.C. Handy’s codification of the blues in 1909 to the mid-century advent of interracial music, the birth of punk, and finally to the growth of a music tourism industry.

The city’s musical ecosystem included studios, high school band instructors, clubs, record companies, family bands, pressing plants, and retail record outlets, and it produced a startling array of talent, including Elvis Presley, B.B. King, Al Green, Otis Redding, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carla Thomas, Booker Little, Alex Chilton, Ann Peebles, Jim Dickinson, Furry Lewis, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, and Justin Timberlake.

Lively and comprehensive, Memphis Mayhem is a provocative chronicle of finding common ground through music and creating a sound that would change the world.

About the author: Third-generation Memphian David Less has studied Memphis music for over 40 years, including work done for the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Gibson Guitar Foundation. He has published in Rolling StoneDownBeat, and Blues Revue magazines and Society for American Music Bulletin. He lives in Memphis, Tennessee.

Available October 6, 2020. Pre-order now!

Craft Recordings to Release 50th Anniv. 1/2 Speed Master of CCR’s ‘Cosmo’s Factory’

Craft Recordings to Release 50th Anniv. 1/2 Speed Master of CCR’s ‘Cosmo’s Factory’

Press Release

Now, a half a century after its release, Cosmo’s Factory will gain a new vibrancy, thanks to the exacting process of half-speed mastering.

Craft Recordings celebrates the 50th anniversary of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s pinnacle album, Cosmo’s Factory, with the release of a half-speed master edition. Pressed on 180-gram vinyl and set for an August 14th street date, the album was mastered at half speed by the award-winning engineer Miles Showell at Abbey Road Studios. Available for pre-order today, this audiophile edition of Cosmo’s Factory comes housed in a tip-on jacket, replicating the original packaging from 1970.

Additionally, Craft is calling on Creedence fans around the globe to be a part of a new video for Cosmo’s Factory’s closing track, a beloved fan favorite “Long as I Can See the Light.” Set to premiere in time for Father’s Day this June, the visuals will honor fathers, grandfathers, and other guiding lights in fans’ lives. The tradition of musical inheritance is strong among CCR fans—the band’s timeless songs and albums have been proudly passed down from generation to generation. And now, in the era COVID-19, it is become apparent that music is more important than ever to keep people feeling connected, even when they are physically apart.

Fans are encouraged to share videos and photos showing cherished memories with fathers, grandfathers, and other important mentors in their lives. The deadline for submissions is June 1st. For full details, visit

Released on July 16, 1970, Cosmo’s Factory remarkably stood as Creedence Clearwater Revival’s fifth full-length in two-years. The album, which borrowed its name from drummer Doug “Cosmo” Clifford (who often referred to the band’s practice space as “The Factory”), followed a highly prolific year for CCR, in which the Berkeley, CA band released three Billboard Top Ten albums in 12 months. Cosmo’s Factory would continue the group’s momentum, taking Clifford, frontman John Fogerty, guitarist Tom Fogerty, and bassist Stu Cook to the height of their success. For the second time, Creedence topped the album chart in the US, while they scored their first No. 1 in the UK, Canada, and Australia, among other territories, firmly cementing their status as international rock stars.

The album also found CCR expanding their sonic territory, with tracks like the seven minute-long psychedelic jam, “Ramble Tamble,” a gritty, 11 minute-long rendition of Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” and the twangy “Lookin’ Out My Back Door,” which was a nod to the “Bakersfield Sound” of West Coast country artists like Buck Owens. The folk-tinged “Who’ll Stop the Rain,” meanwhile, harkens back to the era of the Vietnam War, as does the blues-rocker “Run Through the Jungle,” which has been used in a myriad of films, TV, and video games.

Cosmo’s Factory produced several Top Ten singles—“Travelin’ Band”/”Who’ll Stop the Rain” in January, which peaked at No.2 on the Billboard Hot 100, “Up Around the Bend”/”Run Through the Jungle” in April, which came in at No. 4, and “Lookin’ Out My Back Door” in July, which peaked at No. 2.

Now, a half a century after its release, Cosmo’s Factory will gain a new vibrancy, thanks to the exacting process of half-speed mastering. Using high-res transfers from the original analog tapes, the mastering process involves playing back the audio at half its recorded speed, while the cutting lathe is turned at half the desired playback speed. The technique allows more time to cut a micro-precise groove, resulting in more accuracy with frequency extremes and dynamic contrasts. The result on the turntables is an exceptional level of sonic clarity and punch. This special pressing was previously available only as part of CCR’s collectible, seven-LP Studio Albums Collection box set.

We’re making a music video for “Long As I Can See the Light” and want you to be a part of it! Most likely, you grew up listening to Creedence. We like to call it “musical inheritance”: music that resonates across generations, that parents “pass down” to their children. So what could be a more fitting soundtrack for a tribute to the person you celebrate on Father’s Day…?Send us videos with your father, grandfather or another guiding light in your life. Video examples may include anything from iPhone footage to old home movies…any meaningful memory that you’ve captured over the years. Deadline: June 1st at 8pm BST / 12pm PST.Let’s make this Father’s Day one to remember! Submission form and full details:

Posted by Creedence Clearwater Revival on Friday, May 22, 2020

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Facebook
Craft Recordings
*Feature image credit Didi Zill

Little Richard Statue Will be Placed Outside his Childhood Home

Little Richard Statue Will be Placed Outside his Childhood Home

Lauren Leadingham

Organizers are aiming for a Dec. 5 deadline in honor of Little Richard’s birthday.

“The Architect of Rock and Roll,” Little Richard, will be commemorated with a new statue outside his childhood home in Macon, Georgia. Richard Wayne Penniman passed away earlier this month after a private battle with bone cancer. Friends of the Little Richard House and the Community Foundation of Central Georgia have initiated a fund to pay for the statue along with a replica of the musician’s Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Representative James Beverly said the fund will also be used to support organizations that provide music education to low to moderate-income students across Bibb County and Middle Georgia. Organizers are planning to have the statue erected by December 5, on what would have been Little Richard’s 88th birthday.

“Little Richard’s contribution to music as a whole, to all the genres of music, was monumental and very instrumental in a lot of people’s careers,” Antonio Williams, a Friends of the Little Richard House board member stated.  In 2017, Little Richard celebrated his 85th birthday. To celebrate, Macon proclaimed December 5 “Little Richard Day.” And during a recent meeting held over Zoom, a board member read a proclamation from Macon Mayor Robert Reichert stating December 5 will be known as “Little Richard Penniman Day.”


Donate to Friends of Little Richard Fund

Bucky Baxter, Pedal Steel Guitarist for Bob Dylan and Steve Earle, has Died

Bucky Baxter, Pedal Steel Guitarist for Bob Dylan and Steve Earle, has Died

Lauren Leadingham

Bucky Baxter died on May 25.

The pedal-steel guitarist who played with the likes of Bob Dylan and Steve Earle, Bucky Baxter, has died at the age of 65. A cause of death has not yet been given.

Baxter was born in Melbourne, Florida and based in New Jersey. He was known for his gifted pedal-steel work and as a Bob Dylan touring regular. As a founding member of The Dukes, Steve Earle’s band, he played on Earle’s debut Guitar Town, Exit 0 and Copperhead Road.

During a tour with Earle, he met Dylan, who asked Bucky to give him steel guitar lessons. But he ended up hiring Baxter instead to be his touring pedal-steel player for the 1992 Never Ending Tour. He then went on to performed on Dylan’s Unplugged in the ’90s and also the Grammy-winning Time Out of Mind. The multi-instrumentalist has also been featured on R.E.M.’s Green, Beastie Boys’ Mike D.’s Country Mike’s Greatest Hits, Ryan Adams’ Gold and Demolition, and more.

His death was confirmed by his son, alt-country singer-songwriter Rayland Baxter.

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BUCKY BAXTER i s g o d s m o s t b e a u t i f u L i n v e n t i o n [•] h e i s m y f a t h e r [•] h e i s m y e v e r y t h i n g [•] a n d n o w h e i s a n a n g e L [•] m y h e a r t i s b r o k e n [•] y e t i a m b L i n d e d b y j o y

A post shared by R A Y L A N D B A X T E R (@raylandishere) on May 26, 2020 at 2:12am PDT

Melissa Sullivan Sets Debut Album Release ‘Late Last Night’

Melissa Sullivan Sets Debut Album Release ‘Late Last Night’

Press Release

Blending Jazz, Pop, Folk and Blues, Sullivan Seamlessly Blends Self-Penned Originals with Standards from The Great American Songbook

American singer-songwriter, Melissa Sullivan’s debut album, Late Last Night (Darling Sparrow) is set for release on Friday June 26, 2020. Recorded at Sir Tiger Studios in Culver City, CA., it is a hypnotic blend of jazz, pop, folk and blues.

Late Last Night evokes sonic imagery of lost connections between lovers on both Sullivan’s original songs and newly realized standouts from The Great American Songbook. It’s not every singer who can move so seamlessly from their own original material to Hoagy Carmichael standards (“Skylark”) and playful Mose Allison interpretations (“Lost Mind”). Sullivan’s own beautifully tender and tough originals like (“Miles Away”) and the boozy, self-penned saloon song (“He’s Bad”) blend seamlessly.

“It was clear from the start that everyone involved wanted to make a no-frills recording that felt real,” said co-producer Will Golden. “I’d like to think we pulled it off.” Musician and co-producer Peter Adams reiterates “We tried to keep it sounding like a band playing. The goal was always to bring the best people into the studio. Working with your friends makes it all worth it, even when the air-conditioning is broken”.

Late Last Night was a team effort with co-producer credits shared by Sullivan herself, Will Golden, Edward Maxwell (also upright bass) and Peter Adams who played piano and arranged the music. Sylvain Carton (Bb and bass clarinet, baritone sax), Blair Sinta (drums), Chris Steele (drums, percussion), Noah Hoffeld (cello), Leah Paul (flute) and Felipe Frago (cucia) added to the lush intimacy of this album.

Sullivan grew up on Air Force bases around the world from Wichita Falls, Texas to Naha, Okinawa, Japan. Now an LA resident, Melissa received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in theatrical studies at the California Institute of the Arts and is a lifetime member of the ACTOR’S STUDIO. Her film & television credits include FINDING REDCLOUD, S.F.W, and the award-winning comedy FOLLOW THE BITCH as well as stints on SHAMELESS, HAWTHORNE, DRAGNET, E.R., and M.T.V. Most recently, she has appeared on the Odyssey Theater mainstage as Stella in STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, winning Los Angeles Ticket Holders Best Supporting Actress.

Melissa Sullivan

*Feature image Gregg Segal courtesy of It’s Alive! Media & Management

Colemine Records’ “Brighter Days Ahead” Campaign Kicks Off With Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio

Colemine Records’ “Brighter Days Ahead” Campaign Kicks Off With Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio

Press Release


Brighter Days Ahead was an idea that started shortly after most of the country’s stay-at-home orders came down due to COVID-19. Tours were cancelled, release dates were pushed, manufacturing for our LPs and 45s came to a halt. We all knew it was going to have a dramatic impact on our business, our artists, our schedule, and pretty much every aspect of our daily lives. So, as we settled into a ‘new normal’ and started to look at the schedule it became clear there was going to be a lull in our physical output during the summer. So we wanted to come up with some way to give our fans and our artist’s fans something to look forward to. So, the idea of Brighter Days Ahead was born. A new track every Friday from the Colemine label group starting on May 22nd and running through the end of summer. And for the first week each track is on Bandcamp, Colemine will be paying 100% of any revenues generated from Bandcamp directly to the artist. So our goals are simple: put a little bit of money in our artist’s pockets and get our fans some new tunes. We can’t wait to share all this wonderful music with you!” – Terry Cole, owner, Colemine Records

The first single as part of the Brighter Days Ahead weekly series is Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio’s “Inner City Blues,” a slinky, upbeat cover of Marvin Gaye’s 1971 single.

Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio—or as it is sometimes referred to, DLO3—specialize in the lost art of “feel good music.” The ingredients of this intoxicating cocktail include a big helping of the 1960s organ jazz stylings of Jimmy Smith and Baby Face Willette; a pinch of the snappy soul strut of Booker T. & The M.G.’s and The Meters; and sprinkles Motown, Stax Records, blues and cosmic Jimi Hendrix-style guitar. It’s a soul-jazz concoction that goes straight to your heart & head, and makes your body break out in a sweat. Live, the band’s fiery and intuitive chemistry is unstoppable, brimming with improvisation, instant composition, imaginative takes on classic tunes, and a booty-shaking back catalog of soulful gems.

The band features organist Delvon Lamarr, a self-taught virtuoso musician, with perfect pitch who taught himself jazz and has effortlessly been able to play a multitude of instruments. On guitar is the dynamo Jimmy James who eases through Steve Cropper-style chanking guitar, volcanic acid-rock freak-out lead playing, and slinky Grant Green-style jazz. From Reno, Nevada is drummer Dan Weiss (also of the powerhouse soul and funk collective The Sextones). Dan’s smoldering pocket-groove drumming locks in the trio’s explosive chemistry.

Since its humble beginnings in May, 2015, the trio has issued two Billboard-charting albums and a 45; toured nationally and internationally, and performed on live at Upstream Music Festival broadcast by KEXP that garnered over 7 million views. In the near future, DLO3 will be releasing a bevy of new music come fall and winter 2020. DLO3 is part of the hip Colemine Records family, is booked by the prestigious Kurland Agency, and is managed, owned, and operated by Delvon’s staunchly supportive wife, Amy Novo. Amy has been lovingly nicknamed “Shortcake Mafia” as a tribute to her sweet but shrewd business acumen.

Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio Colemine Records

*Feature image Delvon Lamarr (photo credit: Leroi Conroy)

Stax Records Kicks Off New Instagram Live Series

Stax Records Kicks Off New Instagram Live Series

Press Release

“Gospel Brunch Live set with DJ Jared ‘JAY B.’ Boyd” this Sunday (5/24) at 2:00 PM PT/4:00 PM CT.

Join Stax Records as they kick off a new Instagram Live series, “Gospel Brunch Live Set with DJ Jared ‘Jay B.’ Boyd,” featuring music from The Gospel Truth Records catalog.

Debuting this Sunday (5/24) at 2:00 pm PT/4:00 pm CT on Stax Records on Instagram and continuing on the third Sunday of every month through August (2:00 pm PT on 6/21, 7/19, and 8/16), the new series is part of Stax’s tribute campaign to The Gospel Truth Records and leads up to the release of The Gospel Truth singles compilation in September (Gospel Heritage Month). The compilation will be available on vinyl, CD and digitally.

In addition to being a DJ and penning the liner notes for the upcoming The Gospel Truth compilation, Jared Boyd is a Memphis-based multimedia journalist with The Daily Memphian, co-host/producer of NPR’s roots music program “Beale St. Caravan,” and DJs at events throughout Memphis, including Memphis Tourism’s Music Hub events at Central Station. Jared has also reported for, It’s A Southern Thing, The Daily Mississippian, Jackson Free Press, and Commercial Appeal.

In March, Craft Recordings kicked off their campaign to honor the music of Gospel Truth Records, a subsidiary of Stax Records, with the first-ever digital release of 25 albums from the label’s catalog. Beginning with The Rance Allen Group’s 1972 self-titled debut (digitally reissued on March 13th), one title has been released in chronological order every week and will continue up until September’s Gospel Heritage Month.

From the divine gospel of Rev. T.L. Barrett and Rev. Maceo Woods to the cutting-edge message music of Louise McCord and marquee artist Rance Allen, the Gospel Truth catalog exemplifies the dynamic heritage of Stax’s influence. Reaching beyond the realms of the black American gospel tradition, the ’70s label showcased a diverse collection of talent—including the Indian meditative teachings of Blue Aquarius, the white roots music of the Commanders and Rev. Jesse Jackson’s People’s Choir of Operation PUSH, who chronicle the Civil Rights struggle.

Established in 1972, Gospel Truth was conceived of by Stax executive Al Bell, who enlisted the help of radio promotions pioneer and songwriter Dave Clark and label staffer Mary Peak Patterson to oversee the formation of the imprint. With a focus on moving the good word out of the pulpit and into the hands of the masses, Gospel Truth was intended to “carry the message of today’s gospel to the people on the street,” as promotional material for the label’s launch touted. But what separated Gospel Truth from other labels in the genre was that it made its music accessible to everyone. With his sharp eye for talent, Clark paired down-home, traditional gospel musicians with raw, revolutionary artists that adopted the conventions of rock, funk and soul, creating a sound that resonated with a hip, ’70s audience.

Clark and Peak also gave Gospel Truth’s artists the same high-level promotional considerations that were given to any of the secular stars at Stax: from outfits and photoshoots to bookings. This also included special attention from Stax’s creative director Larry Shaw, who conceived of a cohesive design language for Gospel Truth—making each record have a conversation with the intended audience. That visual dialogue was a signal that the music could be enjoyed in all settings—sacred or secular.

The music, sermons and other recordings included in the Gospel Truth canon, while left for several decades as either a distant memory for many involved or a relic for collectors to behold, holds up today as a collection of enduring importance. In the age of social media, the pursuit of “truth” and the importance of the “gospel” has yet to diminish. In an effort to present both concepts to a new generation of seekers, learners and doers, this collection of releases will serve to provide context for contemporary listeners. As Stax put it in the initial press materials for the imprint, “After all, it doesn’t matter if you listen to gospel quietly…snap your fingers…sing along…or to dance to it, as long as you get the message.”

One of the most popular Soul labels of all time, Stax has become synonymous with its gritty, Southern Rhythm & Blues sounds. Originally known as Satellite Records, the Memphis imprint was founded in 1957 by Jim Stewart. Over the course of two decades, Stax released more than 800 singles and nearly 300 LPs, picking up eight GRAMMYS® and an Academy Award along the way. In all, Stax placed more than 167 hit songs in the Top 100 pop charts, and a staggering 243 hits in the Top 100 R&B charts.

Stax Records

Bobby Womack + Patti LaBelle’s “Love Has Finally Come At Last”

Bobby Womack + Patti LaBelle’s “Love Has Finally Come At Last”

Press Release

The track was a massive R&B hit, breaking into Billboard’s Top 3 in 1984 as well as having had an impact on the pop charts at that time.

Love Has Finally Come At Last” by Bobby Womack and Patti LaBelle, a new lyric video in ABKCO’s ongoing series of E Single Video posts, was released today in celebration of LaBelle’s birthday this coming Sunday.  The evocative video, directed by the Able Media Ltd. London-based team of Nick Barratt, Ned Miles, Michael Anderson and Lee Gregory, was produced by Robin Klein and Dina Kanner with executive producer Julian Klein.

The track was a massive R&B hit, breaking into Billboard’s Top 3 in 1984 as well as having had an impact on the pop charts at that time. Written by Bobby Womack and Patrick Moten, it’s one of the highlights of the trilogy of records released in the 80’s by Womack from The Poet Series . Acknowledged as one of Womack’s mid-career commercial and artistic triumphs, it was originally released on the Beverly Glen label. The album was produced by Andrew Oldham and James Gadsen with “Love Has Finally Come At Last” as one of three duets between the soul music legends.

Womack’s career spanned six decades and saw him perform, record and write songs in a diverse array of genres including gospel, rock ‘n’ roll, r&b, soul, pop, jazz, blues and even country. In 2009 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by Ronnie Wood of The Rolling Stones. Womack passed away in 2014.

Patti LaBelle is a multiple Grammy Award winner and recipient of BET’s Lifetime Achievement Award. She continues to tour and just last year was honored by her hometown of Philadelphia with the naming of Patti LaBelle Way.

ABKCO Music & Records, Inc., is one of the world’s leading independent entertainment companies. It is home to iconic music catalogues that include compositions and recordings by Sam Cooke, The Rolling Stones, Bobby Womack, Eric Burdon, The Animals, Herman’s Hermits, Marianne Faithfull, The Kinks as well as the Cameo Parkway masters by such artists as Chubby Checker, Bobby Rydell, Clint Eastwood, The Dovells, ? &The Mysterians, The Orlons, Dee Dee Sharp, Charlie Gracie, and The Tymes. Releases on ABKCO’s SAR Records include albums by L.C. Cooke, The Soul Stirrers, Billy Preston, Johnnie Taylor, The Valentinos and more. ABKCO Records latest release is Marianne Faithful’s Come And Stay With Me on 2xLP. ABKCO is active on many fronts, including the release of critically lauded soundtracks, compilations, reissues from its catalog, film, commercial placement of its master recordings and music publishing properties in all media. One Night in Miami…, ABKCO’s latest theatrical production, received a nomination for the 2017 Olivier Award for Best New Play and is being adapted as a Major Motion Picture. ABKCO Films next release is Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Psychomagic: A Healing Art. ABKCO’s latest TV production is The Durrells in Corfu, based on Gerald Durrell’s book The Corfu Trilogy.

ABKCO Records Bobby Womack Patti LaBelle

*Feature image credit: BET’s “Soul Train” ©2020 Viacom-CBS Media Networks. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission

Joe Walsh Hosts Weekly ‘Old-Fashioned Rock n’ Roll Radio Show’

Joe Walsh Hosts Weekly ‘Old-Fashioned Rock n’ Roll Radio Show’

Lauren Leadingham

“I like that men with ties don’t decide what I listen to.”

Multi-Grammy Award winning and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Joe Walsh will host a radio show to a public, member-supported 88.5-FM based in Los Angeles. The hour-long Joe Walsh Old-Fashioned Rock n’ Roll Show will make its debut at 6 p.m. Saturday, May 21.

The analog man suggested on pulling a weekly DJ shift as a longtime listener and contributor to 88.5. “It’s flattering to have rock legends listening and financially supporting the station,” General Manager Patrick Osburn says. “Being entertainment royalty and one of the many local fixtures of the SoCal/Hollywood community, we anticipate Joe’s rolodex of potential guests runs deep, so we feel great about giving him the keys to the car.”

Not being able to tour with the Eagles currently gives him free time – and free rein – to serve KCSN, the public radio outlet that serves his community. Joe has made the refreshing decision to support the public media platform, whereas most other artists are opting for satellite radio programs.

“This public radio station serves the community I live in and is funded by listeners,” Walsh said in a statement. “I like that men with ties don’t decide what I listen to. My show will be a mixture of music I love, music I think people will want to hear and stories behind some of these songs that I’m pretty sure no one knows about. Hopefully, the show will generate some more listeners and support for the station, and we will have a lot of fun in the process.”

“While we hate seeing all the shows and festivals cancel this summer,” Osburn added. “We are thrilled to have Joe killing time on 885’s airwaves. It will be great for Joe, the station, and listeners!”

88.5’s program director Marc “Mookie” Kaczor agreed. “Joe has been a longtime contributor and friend of the radio station, but now that he has his own show, he’s truly part of the 88.5-FM family,” Kaczor said. “I can’t wait to hear his stories. Joe Walsh is rock royalty.”

The station’s live programming is available on the 88.5 app and also at 88.5.


Brother Robert Growing Up with Robert Johnson

Brother Robert Growing Up with Robert Johnson

Press Release

This intimate memoir by blues legend Robert Johnson’s stepsister includes new details about his family, music, influences, tragic death, and musical afterlife.

Though only twenty-seven years young and relatively unknown at the time of his tragic death in 1938, Robert Johnson’s enduring recordings have solidified his status as a progenitor of the Delta Blues style. And yet, while his music has retained the steadfast devotion of modern listeners, much remains unknown about the man who penned and played these timeless tunes. Few people alive today actually remember what Johnson was really like, and those who do have largely upheld their silence — until now.

Image credit: Hachette Books


Written by Johnson’s stepsister Annye C. Anderson with Preston Lauterbach, the book also contains a Forward by Elijah Wald who wrote Escaping the Delta: Robert Johnson and the Invention of the Blues, and several other titles.

In Brother Robert Growing Up with Robert Johnson, nonagenarian Mrs. Anderson (as she prefers to be called) sheds new light on a real-life figure largely obscured by his own legend: her kind and incredibly talented stepbrother, Robert Johnson. This book chronicles Johnson’s unconventional path to stardom — from the harrowing story behind his illegitimate birth, to his first strum of the guitar on Anderson’s father’s knee, to the genre-defining recordings that would one day secure his legacy.

Along the way, Anderson not only shares personal anecdotes, but also colorful recollections of Johnson passed down by members of their family — the people who knew him best. She also outlines the contours of Johnson’s working life in Memphis, never-before-disclosed details about his romantic history, and all of his favorite things, from foods and entertainers to brands of tobacco and pomade. Together, these stories don’t just bring the mythologized Johnson back down to earth; they preserve both his memory and his integrity.

For decades, Anderson and her family have ignored the tall tales of Johnson “selling his soul to the devil” and the speculative to fictionalized accounts of his life that passed for biography. Brother Robert is here to set the record straight. Featuring a foreword by Elijah Wald and a Q&A with Anderson, Lauterbach, Wald, and Peter Guralnick, this book paints a vivid portrait of an elusive figure who forever changed the musical landscape as we know it.

In a new twist, Vanity Fair  ran an Exclusive First Look at a never before published THIRD photo of Johnson, set to be the cover image. The article also contained Anderson’s remembrance of when the photo was taken.

There was a make-your-own-photo place on Beale Street, near Hernando Street. I’ve since learned that a man named John Henry Evans owned it. The photo place was right next door to Pee Wee’s, the bar where Mr. Handy wrote his blues. One day when I was 10 or 11 years old, I walked there with Sister Carrie and Brother Robert. I remember him carrying his guitar and strumming as we went. You just walk in, drop a nickel in the slot, pull the curtain, and do it. There was no photographer. I had my picture made. Brother Robert got in the booth, and evidently made a couple.

It shows Brother Robert the way I remember him—open, kind, and generous.He doesn’t look like the man of all the legends, the man described as a drunkard and a fighter by people who didn’t really know him. This is my Brother Robert.

I kept Brother Robert’s photograph in my father’s trunk that sat in the hallway of the Comas house while we lived there with my mother after my father died. After my mother died, we could only take so many things. I took my photographs with me, wrapped in a handkerchief. I only carried a few belongings to Ma and Pops Thompson’s house. When I moved in with my sister Charlyne, I bought some furniture. I stored the photograph, along with others, in a cedar chest I bought. I’ve always had this photograph.

Published by Hachette Books, Brother Robert Growing Up with Robert Johnson goes on sale June 9th wherever books are sold.

*Feature image Hachett Books

Dr. John’s ‘Ske-Dat-De-Dat The Spirit of Satch’ Re-released on Vinyl

Dr. John’s ‘Ske-Dat-De-Dat The Spirit of Satch’ Re-released on Vinyl

JD Nash

Dr. John’s final studio release ‘Ske-Dat-De-Dat The Spirit of Satch’ set for release on limited edition, vinyl format on June 5, 2020.

Dr. John‘s final studio release was 2014’s Ske-Dat-De-Dat The Spirit of Satch. Released via Concord Records, the album was co-produced by Dr. John and Sarah Morrow, his long-time bandleader, producer, arranger and conductor. As one can tell from the title, the album honors another New Orleans great, Louis Armstrong, otherwise known as “Satchmo” or “Satch.” Now, it’s set for release on limited edition, vinyl format via the UK based label The Last Music Company on June 5, 2020.

But Ske-Dat-De-Dat The Spirit of Satch is much more than just an album of cover songs. The 13 tracks that make it up are all songs that Armstrong interpreted. In return, Dr. John has reinterpreted them in his own distinct style. According to Dr. John himself, Armstrong came to him in a dream and said, “do my stuff, your way.” It’s a love letter from one Crescent City native to another.

Quintessential numbers drawn from various phases of Armstrong’s five-decade career, as well as an army of supporting musicians make it one of Dr. John’s best. At quick count Dr. John provides vocals, piano, guitar, and horn. There are 25 (yes, you read that correctly) additional horn players, 4 bassists, 2 Hammond B-3 players, 3 drummer/percussionists, 2 guitarists and a bevy of guest vocalists including Bonnie Raitt, the Blind Boys of Alabama, Shemekia Copeland, Anthony Hamilton, Mike Ladd, Ledisi, Telmary, and the McCrary Sisters.

From “What a Wonderful World,” to “When You’re Smiling,” Mr. Rebennack runs the gamut of genres from jazz, through blues, to pop and gospel, managing to update the material while maintaining the music’s timeless emotional appeal. Raitt shares the spotlight on a swinging reading of “I’ve Got the World on a String,” Ledisi and the McCrary Sisters lend gospel authority to “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen,” Hamilton is featured on a mournful “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child,” Copeland trades verses with Dr. John on a playful reworking of “Sweet Hunk O’ Trash,” and the Blind Boys of Alabama lend their powerful voices to “What a Wonderful World” and “Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams.”

Shortly after the original release of this album Mac was awarded both the Louie Award from the Louis Armstrong House Museum, and the Jazz Foundation of America’s Hank Jones Award.

Both Mac Rebennack and Louis Armstrong grew up in New Orleans’ 3rd Ward. Armstrong was one of the first artists that the good Doctor’s father took him to see perform when he was still a child. Armstrong died on July 6th, 1971, and Dr. John left us on June 6th, 2019. The re-release of Ske-Dat-De-Dat The Spirit of Satch will commemorate the first year of his passing.

Dr. John Louis Armstrong Foundation The Last Music Company

Steve Earle Mines for Empathy in Concept Album, ‘Ghosts of West Virginia’

Steve Earle Mines for Empathy in Concept Album, ‘Ghosts of West Virginia’

Lauren Leadingham

Sometimes the best way to distill the kind of complex emotions a tragic event may bring is through the power of song.

Steve Earle‘s new album, Ghosts of West Virginia, is set to be released on Friday, May 22 through New West Records. The focus of his 17th studio album is centered on the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster, which killed 29 people in April of 2010. The explosion, fueled by methane and coal dust, was the inspiration behind the play Coal Country, a heart-rending composition from the perspective of — and in the words of — miners who survived and those who didn’t. Earle wrote seven out of ten tracks for Coal Country. He first met the playwrights, Jessica Blank and Eric Jensen, when he performed in their 2000 play, The Exonerated, telling the story of six wrongfully-convicted death row inmates.

Sometimes the best way to distill the kind of complex emotions a tragic event may bring is through the power of song. Earle recognized how the miners and their families opened up about their situation, and witnessed an audience who may not have otherwise empathized, all thanks to the art of storytelling. And on the new album, with support from The Dukes, the songs are presented in an even more expressive light than when he’s on stage performing them solo.

Ghosts of West Virginia opens with the a capella “Heaven Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere,” indicating the faith and stolidity ingrained in mining communities. “Union, God and Country,” the second track on Ghosts of West Virginia, reflects the harsh reality of those who live in mining towns, specifically the people of West Virginia. “When you’re born in West Virginia / A miner through and through / Union, God, and country / Was all you ever knew.”

Lots of people faced with such issues share a different political worldview than his, so these songs are a true testament to the human spirit. “I said I wanted to speak to people that didn’t necessarily vote the way that I did,” Earle says, “but that doesn’t mean we don’t have anything in common. We need to learn how to communicate with each other. My involvement in this project is my little contribution to that effort. And the way to do that – and to do it impeccably – is simply to honor those guys who died at Upper Big Branch.”

Eleanor Whitmore, half of the Mastersons, sings “If I Could See Your Face Again,” from the position of a widow in mourning. “It’s About Blood” gives names to the men who died, literally.

The album is produced by Earle himself and recorded/mixed in mono, a result of his partial hearing loss leaving him unable to discern the separation that stereo is designed to produce, but which better represents the authentic nature of this sonic portrait.


Ghosts of West Virginia Track Listing: 

  • Heaven Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere
  • Union, God and Country
  • Devil Put The Coal In The Ground
  • John Henry Was A Steel Drivin’ Man
  • Time Is Never On Our Side
  • It’s About Blood
  • If I Could See Your Face Again (featuring Eleanor Whitmore)
  • Black Lung
  • Fastest Man Alive
  • The Mine
  • Pre-order


    Sarah Shook’s 2012 Debut EP ‘Seven’ Pressed On Limited Edition Vinyl

    Sarah Shook’s 2012 Debut EP ‘Seven’ Pressed On Limited Edition Vinyl

    Press Release

    Shook’s signature brand of country music—wry and irreverent, high and lonesome—sent up the smoke signals for a much-needed alternative to the feigned authenticity of middle-of-the-road “Americana” singer-songwriters.

    A decade ago, a refreshingly singular and rebellious young voice was starting to seep from the cracks in the floors and echo through the speakers in the walls of the cinder-block dive bars of the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill region of North Carolina. The voice was that of an early-20-something Sarah Shook, who had emerged from a musically sheltered upbringing with a teenage self-educated crash course informed by classic Country & Western and punk and indie rock records. For those lucky enough to catch her in this iteration, it was obvious that Sarah Shook was on the path to an incendiary vision of country music.

    Even in this early stage of her career, Shook’s signature brand of country music—wry and irreverent, high and lonesome—sent up the smoke signals for a much-needed alternative to the feigned authenticity of middle-of-the-road “Americana” singer-songwriters.

    This beta version of what would eventually become The Disarmers was rounded out by a pedigreed trio of Triangle Area instrumentalists whom Shook called The Devil—featuring future Disarmers Eric Peterson (electric guitar) and Phil Sullivan (lap steel guitar), plus upright bassist Jon Baughman. Shook’s unvarnished and obstinate songs simultaneously in the veins of Elliott Smith and Kitty Wells were colored-in and textured by The Devil. Baughman’s bass pulsed with a Sun Records boom-chicka-boom on outlaw anthem “Shotgun Betty.” Peterson and Sullivan’s guitar-dueling recalled the barn dance call-and-response of The Texas Playboys on Western Swing-leaning tunes like “Damn You.” And the band united behind a lilting backdrop for Shook’s trilling vocals and ruminative acoustic guitar-playing on the more affecting, pensive country-folk of “Old Friend” and “Follow You Home.”

    In 2012, sound engineering student Mario Bianchi invited renowned engineer Ian Schreier to see his friend Sarah in a rehearsal space near Raleigh-Durham. Shook was there performing with The Devil, and the set nearly caused Schreier to spit out his PBR in astonishment. He convinced Shook & co. to document this flash-in-the-pan alliance with him and Bianchi at the storied Manifold Recording in Pittsboro, NC. Recorded in only one day, the result was this rough-and-ready, seven-song chronicle of a band putting down their roots, but foreshadowing realized greatness. Schreier gelled with Shook, Peterson, and Sullivan so naturally that he went on to produce Sarah Shook & the Disarmers’ first two full-lengths, 2016’s Sidelong and 2018’s Years.

    After much demand from Disarmers die-hards, and nudging along by admirers at Bloodshot, Seven can now be heard in its deserved glory for the first time on vinyl, allowing this chapter in Sarah Shook’s story to be enjoyed by listeners as they await the next marvelous phase of her already remarkable career. 180-gram heavyweight marbled copper vinyl with updated artwork and digital download code. Limited edition of 500. Pressed locally in Chicago at Smashed Plastic Record Pressing.

    Pre-order Seven

    Sarah Shook & the Disarmers

    *Feature image by Anthony Nguyen courtesy of Bloodshot Records

    Delta Roots Music Festival Rescheduled

    Delta Roots Music Festival Rescheduled

    Press Release

    Delta Roots Music Festival has been rescheduled for October 3rd, 2020 in Helena, Arkansas – The weekend before the King Buscuit Blues Festival.

    Helena community partners and world-renowned King Biscuit Blues Festival organizers felt it was time to celebrate another genre of music that also has roots in this area. The Inaugural Delta Roots Country Festival was hosted for Saturday, April 27th, 2019 in downtown Helena, Arkansas.

    In 2020, the group changed the name to Delta Roots Music Festival to incorporate other genres of music that influenced many artists of that area. The 2nd Annual Festival was set for April 25th, as a tribute to Levon Helm, who was born in Elaine, Arkansas, but grew up in Turkey Scratch, a hamlet of Marvell, Arkansas. Helm was an American musician and actor who achieved fame as the drummer and one of the vocalists for The Band. Helm was known for his deeply soulful, country-accented voice, multi-instrumental ability, and creative drumming style, highlighted on many of the Band’s recordings, such as “The Weight,” “Up on Cripple Creek,” and “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.”

    According to a news release, the festival is now scheduled for October 3rd. “As we continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and its potential impact on our event, we are once again changing the date to October 3, 2020, the weekend BEFORE King Biscuit Blues Festival ALL headliners have agreed to be at the event in the fall.

    “This year’s headlining act The Weight Band is named after The Band’s iconic song and is led by Levon’s longtime friend and bandmate Jim Weider,” according to the release. “Weider was sole guitarist for The Band from 1985 until that group’s dissolution in 2000 following the death of Rick Danko.” Other artists scheduled to appear include The Cate Brothers, Fonky Donkey, Rodge Arnold, Duane Stevens Band, Mother Hubbard & The Regulators, Arkansas Brothers, Bailey Hefley and the Live Wire Band.

    “We will continue to follow health officials’ recommendations and appreciate your understanding and flexibility in this situation. As always, thank you for your support of Delta Roots Music Festival. We look forward to seeing you on October 3rd.”

    Delta Roots Music Festival is a partnership by Sonny Boy Blues Society, Delta Cultural Center, Helena Advertising & Promotions, Main Street Helena, Phillips County Chamber of Commerce, The City of Helena-West Helena, and Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage & Tourism.The Festival also includes a Bike Ride, Drum Lessons and Harmonica Workshop in addition to arts and crafts, food vendors, craft and domestic beer, a raffle for a custom-painted instrument and more. Festival chairman Munnie Jordan said, “With our location on the Mississippi River, this area encompasses so many important segments of our nation’s history.”Delta Roots Music Festival

    Sonny Landreth to Perform The Parlor Room Home Sessions May 19

    Sonny Landreth to Perform The Parlor Room Home Sessions May 19

    Press Release

    The team at Signature Sounds created The Parlor Room Home Sessions to help artists and fans stay connected during these turbulent times.

    Tomorrow night (Tuesday, May 19th at 8pm EDT), the legendary Blues guitarist Sonny Landreth will team up with Signature Sounds to take part in The Parlor Room Home Sessions.

    The team at Signature Sounds created The Parlor Room Home Sessions to help artists and fans stay connected during these turbulent times.

    During the session please consider leaving a tip to support your favorite artists. The majority of all donations go directly to the artists, while the rest helps The Parlor Room stay afloat and ensure that they can re-open their doors as a place for these artists to return to and perform.

    So far these sessions have raised over $55,000 for the musicians!

    This is Sonny’s first time performing a long solo set.

    Make sure to check out the live stream tomorrow night @ 8pm EDT

    Signature Sounds was formed by Jim Olsen and Mark Thayer in 1995 to promote the burgeoning acoustic music scene in and around Northampton, MA. In 2012 they opened The Parlor Room, an intimate 95 seat live performance venue presenting concerts several nights per week. With artists having to put their tours, album releases, and other plans on hold due to COVID-19, Signature Sounds has launched The Parlor Room Home Sessions, a new live-streaming portal in which artists can perform for and connect directly with their fans from the safety of their own homes. During the performance sessions, donations are collected via PayPal and Venmo and paid directly to the artists. To date, more than $55,000 has been raised by the Parlor Room Home Sessions series.

    Sonny’s latest album, Blacktop Run, is available everywhere.

    *Feature image by Robley Dupleix

    Nigel Barker Releases “Telling My Troubles To Strangers”

    Nigel Barker Releases “Telling My Troubles To Strangers”

    Press Release

    Barker’s music is lyric oriented, with strong melodies and often experimental musical arrangements which keep things interesting.

    Nigel Barker has, until now, been a hidden gem of the UK music scene. Two days ago, this exciting, unusual and wholly original, artist announced the release of the first single “Telling My Troubles To Strangers,” from his forthcoming new album Five which comes out later this year.

    Barker has written, recorded, produced and mastered all parts himself on this innovative track at his own Wonderland Studios West.

    If you imagine Beck with Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen with the Delta Saints and then dust in some Joe Gideon, Kurt Weill, Curtis Stigers, Bob Dylan and Peter Gabriel you might understand a little about where Nigel Barker’s music is coming from. His music is lyric oriented, with strong melodies and often experimental musical arrangements which keep things interesting.

    Nigel only started his music career about 8 years ago. He had a bad car accident when he was 23 and lost the use of his left hand. For the young guitar player that was devastating. He switched to training as a recording engineer at AIR Studios and eventually went on to become a film editor and then an international award winning film director and writer. His 2003 film The Refuge, won him a Director’s Award at the 2006 Cinequest Film Festival, as well as a Best Screenplay award at the Napa Sonoma Film Festival in California- but he turned his back on film directing, “It was too hard getting money for films and too hard making them. I went back to simple film editing,” he says.

    In the meantime the films bought him a Harley Davidson, and after a number of years using the heavy clutch on the bike, his hand came back to life. Nigel explains, “I was excited to be playing again, I went out and bought the guitar I had had when I was eighteen, a Les Paul, and started all over again. Four albums later, I have my own studio and twenty six guitars as well as a dining room that converts into a small film studio.”

    As for the new track, Barker says:

    I spent a long time on this one. Like most songs I create I usually have another artist’s song or body of work as inspiration. In this case it was Tom Waits. Waits in recent years has used found sounds and instruments to form his rhythm section and this track follows suit. Clanging bits of metal and foot stomps replace a conventional drum kit. It brings the track a big ‘Industrial’ sound. The strings and trombones are big too and were the first thing to go on the track. Guitars are minimal.

    At an early stage I keep the musical arrangement and the lyrics separate. Only when they are reasonably coherent do I combine the two. I just put the machine in record and sing whatever comes to mind and I usually I have the song in a minute and a half, if not I dump it. With this song I was determined to have a particular meter or rhythm in the lyric.

    The meter came from two sources. The first one was a song that came from Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel Treasure Island written in 1883, Dead Man’s Chest. His first verse lyric was ‘I got fifteen men on a dead man’s chest. Drink and the devil done the rest. Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum’. It’s also the first line of Tom Waits ’16 Shells From A 30.6’. I think he got the idea from the same place. The rhythm it sets up for the lyric is great.

    My version? ‘I got 25 cents on a dead man’s chest. Drink and the devil done the rest. I got a hole in my head. Got a hole in my shoe. Sixty feet under and no rescue.’ Good edgy lyric, big orchestra big rhythm section. Two weeks to record and mix it. All good. “I’m Telling My Troubles To Strangers Cos I Can’t Get No Sense Out of You.”

    Nigel Barker

    *Feature image courtesy of New Outlaw

    Bluesman Lucky Peterson Dead at 55

    Bluesman Lucky Peterson Dead at 55

    JD Nash

    At the age of 55, Lucky Peterson had already spent over 50 years in the music business.

    Dallas based multi-instrumentalist Lucky Peterson has died. The announcement came via his Facebook page this afternoon.

    It is with great sorrow we announce the passing of Lucky Peterson on Sunday, May 17, 2020 at 2:25 PM CST in Dallas, Texas. He was at home when he became ill and was rushed to the hospital in critical condition, but unfortunately did not recover. At this time please respect the family’s privacy, but do keep them in your prayers.

    Lucky Peterson Image from the artist’s Facebook

    Born Judge Kenneth Peterson on December 13th, 1964 in Buffalo, New York, Lucky was a child prodigy. His father, James Peterson was a renowned guitarist as well as owning the The Governor’s Inn, a popular roadhouse club in the city and regular stop for some of the most famous bluesmen of the day. The elder Peterson mentored his son from very early on. At the age of 3 Little Lucky Peterson gave his first concert and, instead of going out and playing with the other children, he was hanging around the club learning from and starting to play with the numerous artists that passed through. One of those artists was Willie Dixon, who recognized his talent and produced Little Lucky Peterson’s first album when he was only 5 years old — Our Future — released on the label Today/Perception Records.

    Peterson performed on The Tonight Show, The Ed Sullivan Show and What’s My Line?. Millions of people watched Peterson sing “1-2-3-4”, a cover version of “Please, Please, Please” by James Brown.

    As a teen, Peterson studied at the Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts, where he played the French horn with the school symphony. Soon, he was playing backup guitar and keyboards for Etta James, Bobby “Blue” Bland, and Little Milton.

    In 1989, Lucky released his first album on Alligator Records, Lucky Strikes! followed by Triple Play in 1991. He released 5 albums on the Verve label, including Spirituals & Gospel: Dedicated to Mahalia Jackson (with Mavis Staples). He also recorded Deep Down with Carey Bell, again on the Alligator label, in 1995. Several more albums followed on various labels including Blue Thumb, Dreyfus, JSP, Jazz Village and more.

    Lucky Peterson combined contemporary blues with soul, R&B, gospel and rock to create his unique sound. At the age of 55, he had already spent over 50 years in the music business. A much sought after collaborator for both recording and live touring, Lucky’s genius never failed him. His death leaves an enormous hole in the blues world.

    Lucky Peterson

    Lone Canadian in the Blues Category, Harpdog Brown Wins ISC

    Lone Canadian in the Blues Category, Harpdog Brown Wins ISC

    JD Nash

    Harpdog Brown won 3rd place in the blues category with his song, “No Eyes For Me,” which is on his self-released album, For Love & Money.

    The International Songwriting Competition (ISC) is the world’s largest international songwriting competition, receiving over 18,000 entries from 140 countries in 2019. More than $150,000 in cash and merchandise is awarded to 71 winners in 23 categories covering all genres of music.

    In the blues category, one Canadian artist stood out. Harpdog Brown won 3rd place with his song, “No Eyes For Me,” which is on his self-released album, For Love & Money.

    “Canada has a long tradition of great songwriters, and this continues to be reflected in ISC’s winners,” said Candace Avery, Founder/Director of ISC. “Every year, Canadians excel in the competition, and we are proud to celebrate their artistry and achievements.”

    In all, 40 Canadian songs are winners in the competition, garnering two First Places, one Second Place, four Third Places, and 33 Honorable Mentions. Remember that’s across 23 categories of music. Judges included: Coldplay, Tom Waits, Kevin Gates, Cam, American Authors, Kristian Bush (Sugarland), Avery Lipman (Founder/President, Republic Records), and more.

    Brown was up against some stiff competition, following behind only Jeff Schroedl (Altered Five Blues Band), and Robert T Wilson (Teresa James And The Rhythm Tramps), both of whom are Americans. Other prominent songwriters in the blues category included Anna Scionti, Regina Bonelli & Tomas Doncker, Jenny Langer, and Silas & Samuel McCoy to name just a few.

    You can grab a free MP3 of the song by joining the Dog House Fanclub!

    Harpdog Brown

    *Feature image Mark Maryanovich courtesy of Think Tank Music Network

    Devo Create Energy Dome Face Shields for Coronavirus Protection

    Devo Create Energy Dome Face Shields for Coronavirus Protection

    Lauren Leadingham

    The refashioned face shield both protects and celebrates the 40th anniversary of Devo’s infamous Energy Dome.

    Devo have unveiled the PPE version of their iconic red Energy Dome, and I have an “Uncontrollable Urge” to wear one. The Energy Dome face shield is now available for pre-order, alongside cloth masks.

    Newly launched Official DEVO Online Store OPEN NOW! Personal Protection Equipment & more!

    — DEVO (@DEVO) May 15, 2020

    The Energy Dome helmets, as well as Tyvek costumes, were first worn by Devo on their 1980 Freedom of Choice tour.  Many frontline workers are still facing a shortage of protective equipment globally, and Devo is helping to protect in this way. The refashioned dome also arrives as part of the original’s 40th anniversary.

    Gerald Casale made this statement:

    It’s the 40th anniversary of DEVO’s Energy Dome – a DEVO icon that is often as misunderstood as the band itself. Although they have been mistaken for flower pots, dog bowls, car urinals, lampshades, and eventually relegated specifically for the use at holiday parties, these holy totems were actually designed with a more important purpose in mind.

    It was designed according to the ancient ziggurat mound proportions used in votive worship. Like the mounds it collects energy and recirculates it.

    In this case the Dome collects energy that escapes from the crown of the human head and pushes it back into the medulla oblongata for increased mental energy.

    It’s very important that you acquire a plastic hard hat liner adjusted to your head size and fix it with duct tape or super glue to the inside of the dump. This allows the Dome to float just about the cranium and thus do its job. Unfortunately, sans hard hat liner the recirculation of energy will not occur!

    Jorge Santana Dead at 68

    Jorge Santana Dead at 68

    JD Nash

    It was during the 93 tour that the brothers began discussing a joint album. In 94, they recorded the album Santana Brothers.

    Guillermo “Jorge” Santana, younger brother of guitarist Carlos Santana has died. His death was confirmed as being from natural causes by his representative. The announcement was made by Carlos on his Facebook page this morning. He was 68.

    We take time to celebrate the magnificent spirit of our beloved brother Jorge.

    He transitioned unto the realm of light that cast no shadow
    the eyes of my heart clearly see him right in between our glorious and magnificent mother Josefina and our father Jose… They are caressing his face and kissing his hands showering him with Light and Love
    We love cherish and honor
    your soul MEMO
    Carlos and the Santana family

    Jorge Santana was born June 13, 1951 in Autlán de Navarro, Jalisco, Mexico. The family moved from Autlán to Tijuana, on the border with the U.S. They then moved over the border to San Francisco, California. Jorge was first influenced by the blues, the music that his older brother was playing in the Bay Area at the time, and picked up the guitar at age 14.

    His first involvement in a band came with the group The Malibus, with 4 of its members, Richard Bean, Arcelio Garcia, Pablo Tellez and Santana going on to form the band Malo. In 1972, their song, “Suavecito” went to #8 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, and made it to #18 on the Hot 100.

    After Malo’s widely publicized break-up in 1974, Jorge joined with the Fania All-Stars before going on to a solo career, releasing an eponymous album in 1978 and It’s All About Love, produced by Allen Toussaint, a year later.

    In 1989, Jorge joined the team of Santana Management, where he worked in artist relations, publishing, production and more. It was 1992 when Jorge joined with his brother’s band and participated in the Santana albums Milagro in 1992 and Sacred Fire: Live in South America in 1993. It was during the 93 tour that the brothers began discussing a joint album. In 1994, along with their nephew Carlos Hernandez, they recorded the album Santana Brothers. Most of the songs on the album were co-written by the brothers who also co-produced the album.

    Jorge’s new album Restoration was set to be released this summer.

    Jorge Santana

    *Feature image from Carlos Santana Facebook.

    Neil Young to Release ‘Homegrown,’ Lost Album, 45 Years Later

    Neil Young to Release ‘Homegrown,’ Lost Album, 45 Years Later

    Lauren Leadingham

    Levon Helm and Emmylou Harris make guest appearances on the lost album.

    Homegrown, a lost 1975 album by Neil Young, will finally be released on June 19 via Reprise Records.

    The 12-track album is “the unheard bridge between Harvest and Comes a Time,” describes Neil. Five tracks went on to other records, including the title track and “Star of Bethlehem,” but seven other tracks from Homegrown have yet to be heard. “I apologize. This album Homegrown should have been there for you a couple of years after Harvest. It’s the sad side of a love affair. The damage done. The heartache. I just couldn’t listen to it. I wanted to move on,” he confirms in a statement.

    “So I kept it to myself, hidden away in the vault, on the shelf, in the back of my mind….but I should have shared it. It’s actually beautiful. That’s why I made it in the first place,” he continues.

    “Sometimes life hurts. You know what I mean. This is the one that got away. Recorded in analogue in 1974 and early 1975 from the original master tapes and restored with love and care by John Hanlon.

    “Levon Helm is drumming on some tracks, Karl T Himmel on others, Emmylou Harris singing on one, Homegrown contains a narration, several acoustic solo songs never even published or heard until this release and some great songs played with a great band of my friends, including Ben Keith – steel and slide – Tim Drummond – bass and Stan Szelest – piano.

    “Anyway, it’s coming your way in 2020, the first release from our archive in the new decade. Come with us into 2020 as we bring the past.”

    This release comes on the heels of Young announcing Road of Plenty, an archival LP comprised of rare recordings captured during his 1986 world tour with his band Crazy Horse. Road of Plenty will be out next year.

    Listen to “Try” from Homegrown, featuring Levon Helm and Emmylou Harris.

    July Talk Announce Drive-In Theatre Concerts

    July Talk Announce Drive-In Theatre Concerts

    Press Release

    Amid festival and tour cancellations, July Talk Live At A Drive-In is an ambitious and encouraging undertaking.

    Toronto’s July Talk has always straddled the line between cinema and rock and roll, which makes the setting for the band’s first post-lockdown concert – a drive-in movie theatre – just the ticket. The event, the first of its kind announced in Canada, will bring one of the country’s best live bands back to the stage to offer what live music fans have yearned for in recent months: the togetherness of a shared concert experience.

    “We’re over the moon to announce that we’ll be performing live on August 12th + 13th at the Drive-In Movie Theatre near Toronto,” writes the band in their announcement. “We’ve been working on this idea for some time now and it feels like it’s going to be a pretty special event. The thought that we will be able to perform and feel the audience’s company again is just too much, we can’t contain our excitement. We’re going to premiere some unreleased music videos and play a full scale 90-minute live set where the audio is broadcast onto your car radio and the drive-in screens play a live multi-camera feed as well! Car horn applause anyone?!” Video content will draw from July Talk’s extensive and impressive body of video work, including new videos from their forthcoming album Pray For It.

    As Ontario emerges into the first phase of post-lockdown protocols and spring buds signal the end of a very long winter, July Talk’s announcement brings hope and optimism. Amid festival and tour cancellations, July Talk Live At A Drive-In is an ambitious and encouraging undertaking from a band that always delivers exhilarating, compelling, memorable shows.

    Due to the ever-evolving nature of protocols and ongoing state of emergency in the province, no further details about ticket packages and event details will be shared at this time. The event will proceed in compliance with government health and social distancing protocols.

    Sign up for ongoing updates on July Talk Live At A Drive-In here

    July Talk stormed in with the flinty radio-ready rock of their debut, followed by the volatile siren songs of Touch, an album of sawtoothed pop + convulsing tension. For album three, the band cracks their equilibrium open to find a thrilling new balance in asymmetry. With Pray For It, July Talk commits to the possibility of alternate endings, acknowledging the power of vulnerability as a way to begin again. July Talk’s path has never been through fitting in. Their music, viscerally, blisteringly hot, sliced right through the alternative and rock charts for multiple number one singles. Their churning and fiercely physical performances make spaces hiss and hum, spit and seethe in glorious, artful abandon.

    July Talk’s third album, Pray For It, will be released on July 10, 2020.

    July Talk

    Sheryl Crow to Take Part in #TheNewGig COVID-19 Musicians’ Emergency Fund Concert

    Sheryl Crow to Take Part in #TheNewGig COVID-19 Musicians’ Emergency Fund Concert

    JD Nash

    #TheNewGig, COVID-19 Musicians’ Emergency Fund Concert will take place on Thursday, May 14th, at 8 PM (EDT), Featuring 9X GRAMMY winning artist Sheryl Crow

    The bottom has fallen out of the live music industry. Concerts, tours, and festivals have been canceled. Clubs, bars, and restaurants have closed. Our jazz and blues community is one of the earliest to be hit and one of the least equipped to endure such a disruption. The Jazz Foundation of America is helping with #TheNewGig, a COVID-19 Musicians’ Emergency Fund Concert that will take place on Thursday, May 14th, at 8 PM (EDT). Stepping up to take part is multi-GRAMMY winning artist Sheryl Crow, who combines rock, pop, country, folk, soul, blues, and Americana into her music.

    In this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Jazz Foundation of America continues to connect with hundreds of jazz and blues musicians to provide compassionate counsel and offer direct financial support.

    A growing number of clients rely on them due to illness, old age, lack of work, or other circumstances. These artists live precariously even in good economic times, with no job security and minimal savings. Now they face an indefinite period of financial free fall, with months of gigs lost already.

    A nine-time GRAMMY recipient, Sheryl Crow is an American music icon. Her nine studio albums have sold 35 million copies worldwide; seven of them charted in the Top 10 and five were certified for Multi-Platinum sales. Her latest single, “Lonely Town, Lonely Street,” feat. Citizen Cope, is a tribute to Bill Withers.

    In addition to such No. 1 hits as “All I Wanna Do,” “Soak Up the Sun” and “The First Cut Is the Deepest,” Crow has lofted 40 singles into the Billboard Hot 100, Adult Top 40, Adult Contemporary, Mainstream Top 40 and Hot Country Songs charts, with more No. 1 singles in the Triple A listings than any other female artist.

    Many artists have collaborated with her on special projects, including the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Smokey Robinson, Citizen Cope and Tony Bennett.

    For #TheNewGig, Crow will be joined by a star-studded cast of entertainers including Blues Hall of Fame inductees Bettye LaVette, and Robert Cray. Shemekia Copeland & Ronnie Baker Brooks, Ivan Neville, Kim Wilson, Elvis Costello and more will also be taking part as well as special appearances from Bootsy Collins, Steve Jordan, Jeffrey Wright and many others.

    #TheNewGig is hosted by Keegan-Michael Key and sponsored by Jazz Foundation of America and Relix.

    #TheNewGig Sheryl Crow Jazz Foundation of America Relix

    *Feature image via Bandsintown

    Soul Star Betty Wright Dead at 66

    Soul Star Betty Wright Dead at 66

    JD Nash

    Wright was born Bessie Regina Norris on December 21st, 1953 in Miami, Florida. She began her professional career at the age of two.

    Grammy-winning Soul and R&B singer Betty Wright, best known for her hits “Clean Up Woman,” and “No Pain, No Gain,” has died. She was 66. The death was confirmed by her niece this morning on Twitter:

    I just lost my aunt this morning…. and now my mood has changed…. sleep in peace aunty Betty Wright. Fly high angel.

    Betty Wright on stage 2009 Photo: Keith Walters Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0

    In a later tweet she paid tribute to her aunt:

    My auntie was a legend…. she helped me get my first paychecks singing background….. and I didn’t make it to see you this past week and that’s going to haunt me …. R.I.P. Betty Wright.

    Although no cause of death has yet been released, we can assume that Wright had been ill. A May 2nd tweet from long-time friend Chaka Khan read:

    Calling all my #PrayerWarriors. My beloved sister, Betty Wright is now in need of all your prays. “Que Sera, Sera – Whatever Will Be, Will Be.” In Jesus name we pray for Sister Betty. All my love, Chaka.

    Wright was born Bessie Regina Norris on December 21st, 1953 in Miami, Florida. She began her professional career at the age of two when her siblings formed the gospel group, the Echoes of Joy, with whom Wright performed until the mid-1960s. Wright contributed to vocals on the group’s first album, released in 1956.

    She switched from Gospel to R&B at the age of 11, and had her first record deal a year later with Deep City Records. Wright released a couple of locally successful singles for the label. Her first album was My First Time Around, on the Atco label, released when she was just 14. It contained the song, “Girls Can’t Do What the Guys Do,” which landed Wright on the Billboard charts for the first time. (Interesting side note, Allman Brothers co-founder Butch Trucks was the drummer on that album)

    When she was still just 17 years old Betty cut what would become her signature song, “Clean Up Woman.” The record reached number two on the R&B charts, where it stayed for eight weeks. It crossed over to the pop charts, peaking at number six and staying on the Billboard Hot 100 for 14 weeks. It eventually sold over a million copies and was certified gold on December 30, 1971, nine days after the singer turned 18.

    In all, Wright released 20 LPs and 38 singles during her six and one-half decades in the music business. With her whistle-register voice, she was also a much-sought-after studio artist, appearing on no fewer than 75 album releases from artists including Blues Hall of Famer Latimore, Johnny Nash, Stephen Stills, Stevie Wonder, Gloria Estefan, Bob Marley and Joss Stone to name just a few. Her most recent contribution was on the 2018 album Playing Chess by Elise Legrow.

    Far more than a singer, Wright was also a vocal coach (Danity Kane), producer (Gloria Estefan, Jennifer Lopez, Joss Stone), Grammy-winning composer (“Where is the Love”) and record label owner (Ms B Records).

    *Feature image by Diana Levine from Ms Wright’s Facebook

    Rock n Soul Band Aloud Releases Muscle Shoals Inspired ‘Sprezzatura’

    Rock n Soul Band Aloud Releases Muscle Shoals Inspired ‘Sprezzatura’

    Press Release

    Heavily influenced by the Muscle Shoals sound, Sprezzatura was recorded at Mad Oak Studios in Boston just before the band moved to Los Angeles.

    Some bands you can always recognize–they produce the same sound, even the same song, year after year. But great musicians don’t just keep playing, they constantly evolve. Aloud’s new record, Sprezzatura, out on May 8th via Lemon Merchant Records is a showcase for a band joyfully shedding the old and moving boldly forward, both sonically and lyrically.

    Moving forward during a pandemic, of course, means something different from the normal record release process. Touring is off the table. Inscrutable social media algorithms and the sheer volume of livestream notifications popping up in your feed at any given moment can make music feel disposable, but it’s needed now more than ever.

    The Deep Listen” takes you back to the days of losing hours listening to your favorite records and just really *living* in those liner notes. Listeners will receive exclusive video and audio content on all 11 songs direct to their inbox over the course of 6 days starting May 11th.

    Sprezzatura marks a maturation for Aloud’s Henry Beguiristain and Jen de la Osa. The pair have been making music since their teenage years in Miami, where a shared passion for rock bands like Oasis and The Who set them apart from many of their peers in the working-class Cuban community both grew up in. Beguiristain and de la Osa would move to Boston after high school, marry and form Aloud.

    That identity is powerfully clear on Sprezzatura, whose songs grapple with everything from sexual desire in the energetic neo-soul song “Loving U’s A Beautiful Thing”; to the kind of late-night soul searching that might lead you to uproot everything you’ve ever known in the lyrical, occasionally mournful ballad “Waiting (Scenes From A Lonely Planet)”; to the raw, full-throated need to tell truth to power in the galvanic rock anthem “Hungry Land.” The band’s propulsive, soul-influenced rock sound underpins complex, emotional lyrics, a juxtaposition that makes the singles all the more memorable.

    From beginning to end, the album is a raucous, joyful explosion. Heavily influenced by the Muscle Shoals sound, Sprezzatura was recorded at Mad Oak Studios in Boston just before the band moved to Los Angeles. The record was co-produced with Benny Grotto (Magnetic Fields, Ben Folds, Weird Al) and mixed by Grammy award winner Guy Massey (Paul McCartney, The Libertines, Ray Davies). In many ways Sprezzatura is a bittersweet swan song to their old home and the 2015 winter that precipitated the move to sunny Los Angeles. Songs like “Been So Long Since We’ve Seen the Sun,” and “Renters for Life” reveal their experiences living in Boston.

    The excitement animating the record is even more palpable in the band’s high energy live shows, which have earned them comparisons to blues rock icons The Alabama Shakes and The Black Keys. Longtime bassist Charles Murphy and drummer Chris Jago build a propulsive scaffolding for the addition of colorful horns, provided by saxophonist Alanah Ntzouras and trumpetist Vanessa Acosta. Upbeat, pop-rock guitars prop up de la Osa’s signature throaty growl and Beguiristain’s lilting melodies (the two alternate between lead vocals and harmonies), filling out the band’s exciting, effervescent wall of sound.

    It’s clear from the driving, powerful force of Sprezzatura that Aloud is more than ready to come into their own, and step into the spotlight.

    Aloud Experience “The Deep Listen”

    *Feature image by Ojo De Loba

    Craft Recordings Welcomes Victory Records to Its Label Family

    Craft Recordings Welcomes Victory Records to Its Label Family

    Press Release

    Celebrating 30 years of formative music:Victory Records celebrates a new era with a new website, special reissues and more announcements coming soon.

    Concord’s catalog team, Craft Recordings, is proud to welcome Victory Records to its label family. Victory was acquired by Concord in 2019 and their formidable repertoire is now managed by Craft, who also oversees the catalogs of Nitro, Razor & Tie, Stax, Vanguard, Wind-up and more. Signaling a new chapter for the legendary rock, metal, punk and hardcore label, a new Victory Records website launched on May 7th. The site celebrates 30 years of formative music with a line of Victory merchandise featuring both new and throwback designs, as well as special edition vinyl and artist merchandise. Artist pages for all Victory Records alumni will be added as the site expands, so check back for more coming soon.

    Victory’s master recording catalog includes artists such as A Day to Remember, Hawthorne Heights, Thursday and Silverstein. The completion of this deal also brings all of Victory’s incredible legacy catalog under one roof at Concord with the likes of Taking Back Sunday, Atreyu, Bayside, Counterparts, and Between the Buried and Me.

    Formed in 1989, Victory separated itself from the pack as the definitive independent label for punk, hardcore, emo, metal and alternative. Supplying decades of formative music to diehard audiences everywhere, the Chicago-bred-and-based label cranked up the voices of three generations of iconoclasts and built a culture without compromise.

    Victory’s 30 years of enduring music encompasses sales of 15 million records, six RIAA gold-certified full-length albums, six RIAA gold-certified singles, one RIAA platinum-certified single, two BPI silver-certified albums and one Canada Music gold-certified album, in addition to billions of streams as of 2020. From the early days of basement shows, fliers on walls and street teams passing out physical swag during MySpace’s heyday to finally the streaming age, the music of Victory resounds with the same power it did back in the beginning.

    In 1989, in suburban Illinois, a 17-year-old Tony Brummel founded the label. From day one, Victory always paid homage to the DIY hardcore spirit of bands throwing down in basements, VFW halls and anywhere with a mosh pit. Throughout the nineties, Brummel’s signings reflected the pulse of the streets and the indie scene at large. Building an artistic-centric platform, Victory served as home to the likes of Earth Crisis and Hatebreed—who unleashed their seminal 1997 breakout Satisfaction Is the Death of Desire on the roster. 2001 represented a major moment for the company with the arrival of Thursday’s Full Collapse. The latter eventually sold over 400,000 copies, with NME going on to credit the influential album as one of “20 Emo Albums That Have Resolutely Stood the Test of Time” and Rolling Stone ranking it high on their list of the “40 Greatest Emo Albums of All Time.”

    Tenacious marketing, innovative branding, DIY work ethic and a focus on the music above all defined a golden age for Victory. In 2002, Taking Back Sunday unveiled Tell All Your Friends, which sold 2,300 copies in its first week, enough to make tastemakers take notice. Album sales grew steadily—and mightily—over the course of the year and would be a testament to the grassroots efforts of the band, their fanbase and their label. Thanks to nonstop touring and the emerging power of online communities like Yahoo Groups and MySpace, Taking Back Sunday soon found themselves selling out headlining shows. One year after its release, Tell All Your Friends had surpassed 100,000 units and was certified Gold by 2006. Meanwhile, its 2004 follow-up Where You Want to Be bowed at #3 on the Billboard Top 200, marking Victory’s highest chart debut.

    Various other roster acts leapt from Victory’s launchpad to stardom. As part of the roster, Hawthorne Heights served up a pair of gold albums—The Silence in Black and White (2004) and If Only You Were Lonely (2006)—and a gold single “Ohio Is for Lovers.” The group went from tiny gigs to big stages across the country and developed a discography of fan favorites. Leading the metalcore movement, Atreyu flourished on the label with the trifecta of Suicide Notes and Butterfly Kisses (2002), The Curse (2004) and A Death-Grip on Yesterday (2006). Upon impact, the latter seized #9 on the Billboard Top 200. Among other influential releases, Between the Buried & Me’s 2007 opus Colors would be universally lauded on KERRANG!’s “The 21 Best U.S. Metalcore Albums of All Time,” Prog’s “Top 100 Greatest Prog Albums of All Time” and Loudwire’s “Top 100 Hard Rock and Heavy Metal Albums of the 21st Century” and “Top 25 Progressive Metal Albums of All Time.”

    Alongside the band and a fervent audience, Victory helped augment the rise of A Day to Remember into an arena-headlining platinum juggernaut. Coming out of Ocala, FL, with a vengeance, the group pioneered a one-two punch of metal and pop-punk unlike anything else out there. Honing this signature style, the band went on to deliver three gold singles—“All I Want,” “Have Faith in Me” and “I’m Made of Wax, Larry, What Are You Made Of?”—and the platinum single “If It Means a Lot to You.” Additionally, Homesick (2009) and What Separates Me From You (2010) both reached gold status. Rock Sound pegged Homesick among the “Greatest 101 Albums of the Past 15 Years,” and What Separates Me From You landed at #11 on the Billboard Top 200.

    In the end, Victory’s history remains entwined with three decades of impactful and inimitable sounds with worldwide mainstream implications. The underground eventually drives the mainstream.

    Craft Recordings looks forward to working with the label’s alumni to preserve the legacies they have built. Stay tuned for more announcements coming soon.

    About Craft Recordings
    Craft Recordings is home to one of the largest and most prestigious collections of master recordings and compositions in the world. Its rich and storied repertoire includes legendary artists such as Joan Baez, Ray Charles, John Coltrane, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Miles Davis, Bill Evans, Vince Guaraldi, John Lee Hooker, Little Richard, Nine Inch Nails, Thelonious Monk, Otis Redding, R.E.M. and Traveling Wilburys, to name just a few. Renowned imprints with catalogs issued under the Craft banner include Concord Records, Fania, Fantasy, Fearless, Milestone, Musart, Nitro, Prestige, Riverside, Rounder, Specialty, Stax, Sugar Hill, Vanguard, Vee-Jay and Victory, among many others. Craft creates thoughtfully curated packages, with a meticulous devotion to quality and a commitment to preservation—ensuring that these recordings endure for new generations to discover. Craft Recordings is the catalog label team for Concord Recorded Music.

    Victory Records

    Gus Dapperton Returns With “First Aid”

    Gus Dapperton Returns With “First Aid”

    Press Release

    “First Aid” is the initial taste of Dapperton’s evolution into a masterful songwriter, which will further reveal itself throughout this year.

    “Sorry about my head.”

    If you’ve struggled with the many tentacles of depression and its ability to pull you under and away from family and friends—from your entire world—you’ll recognize that sentiment. It’s the opening line of “First Aid ,” the lead song from Gus Dapperton ’s upcoming album. Over spare acoustic guitar, miked so close that it sounds nestled in your ear, Gus delivers the line, and if you’ve followed the 23-year-old’s career from the bright and charming early singles and EPs to 2018’s full-length album Where Polly People Go to Read, you’ll recognize that the singer-songwriter-producer has entered new territory here.

    Dapperton first exploded on scene in 2016 as a singer, songwriter, and vibe maestro who invites you to take up residence deep inside of his subconscious. He released songs straight from his upstate NY bedroom like “Prune, You Talk Funny” and “I’m Just Snacking.” He soon followed up with the 2018 release of Where Polly People Go To Read, showcasing his talent for melodies and lyrical whimsy with tracks like the drama-filled “World Class Cinema,” the slow-tempo aquatic love song “My Favorite Fish,” and r&b-tinged “Fill Me Up Anthem”. World tours followed, playing numerous sold out shows and further honing his skills that he brought to the making of album number two. More recently you can find Gus’s distinct vocals on BENEE’s viral hit “Supalonely,” which currently is taking TikTok by storm.

    “In the past, I’ve written my songs from a place of love and heartbreak. This album is about internal pain and suffering,” he says. There it is, put as plainly as possible. “First Aid” builds in volume and complexity— Gus’ voice is joined by the voice of his sister Amadelle ; there’s live percussion, the cymbals ringing—until it climaxes with the hoarsely yelled repetition of the titular lyric.

    “First Aid,” is the initial taste of Dapperton’s evolution into a masterful songwriter, which will further reveal itself throughout this year. The album explores human pain and suffering, but it’s equally about healing and redemption. This song tackles the internal pain a person can experience in isolation but also hints at appreciating the ones you love. “I would slit his wrists and reminisce it /if it wasn’t for my sis /she’s got heart the size of I-95 /I drive.”

    Dapperton has also announced an exclusive t-shirt for “First Aid,” featuring the single’s artwork and lyrics, with all profits benefiting United Way’s Covid-19 relief program. Visit Gus Dapperton to learn more.

    Gus Dapperton

    *Feature image by Jess Farran