Various artists – Tell Everybody! 21st Century Juke Joint Blues From Easy Eye Sound
Easy Eye Sound
12 Tracks – 45 Minutes
Dan Auerbach has had much success with his group The Black Keys, his side group The Arcs, and also with his own solo recordings. That success has allowed him to create his own studio, Easy Eye Sounds, in Nashville. His studio was named Billboard’s Label of the Year in 2022 and Dan won a grammy in 2103 as Producer of the Year – Nonclassical. The Black Keys has had a long penchant for the blues of the Delta and Hill Country. Dan’s productions have tended toward performers that shared that passion for that style of music or as he calls it in the title – Juke Joint Blues. The album features 12 exclusive tracks recorded in his studio,
The album opens with R.L. Boyce’s “Coal Black Mattie”. The song sometimes also called “Poor Black Mattie” was regularly performed by R.L. Burnside, who Boyce lists as one of his mentors alongside of Mississippi Fred McDowell. Boyce started as a drummer for Otha Turner and Jesse Mae Hemphill, but later switched to guitar with his own solo recordings. Auerbach cites similar influences on his own career.
Next up is Robert Finley’s “Tell Everybody”. Finley is a 69-year-old native of Louisiana and is featured on the album’s cover. He has released two albums to date and has a third scheduled for release in October. His music is certainly rooted in the Hill country sound. Auerbach provides electric guitar on the song as Finley invites everyone to “come on out to the shack, you might not ever come back”. “The party has started now.”
The Moonrisers are a two-person band consisting of Libby DeCamp on dobro and Adam Schreiber on drums and percussion. Their song “Tall Shadow” is a moody instrumental.
Dan Auerbach adds his own song “Every Chance I Get (I Want You in the Flesh”. A thumping ride pushing a synthesizer mix into a powerful blues points to a direction into the 21st century for the genre. The song is an exclusive available only on this cd.
Bentonia, Mississippi’s Jimmy “Duck” Holmes’ “Catfish Blues” was originally recorded in 1941 by Robert Petway and was later popularized by Muddy Waters. Holmes recorded his own version of the song on an album produced by Dan for the artist in 2019 and here is presented in its original mono form.
Aaron Frazer of Durand Jones and The Indications discovered Gabe Carter busking on the street playing an electric guitar and singing with just a drummer. Aaron showed a video of Gabe to Dan who became fascinated with his sound and invited him to his studio. “Anything You Need” is an original song written by Carter and a result of that session. A second song, “Buffalo Road” from that session appears later on this album.
Korean American and Kansas native Nat Myers has roamed across the country but has finally settled with his wife in Northern Kentucky. Dan heard his music online and invited him to come record at his studio. The resulting song “Willow Witchin’” is some quiet porch style music featuring just Nat’s vocals backed by his dobro.
Mississippi’s Leo Bud Welch’s “Don’t Let the Devil Ride” was a song included the artist’s “The Angel in Heaven Done Signed My Name” which was released on the Easy Sound Label in 2017 slightly after Welch’s death at age 85. The song is also presented in a mono form. The singer has a deep moan with burning guitar work.
The Black Key’s offer another song exclusive to the compilation. “No Lovin’” certainly comes from the Hill Country sound with Auerbach’s guitar ripping through behind Patrick Carney’s steady drumbeat and added percussion by Sam Bacco.
Ohio’s Glenn Schwartz got his start playing guitar for The James Gang but was replaced by Joe Walsh. He then shifted to L.A.’s Pacific Gas & Electric in the 70’s. That was followed by a stint in the Christian rock group All Saved Freak Band. Dan first heard him at a bar in Cleveland and his Cream-flavored sound influenced Dan’s own direction in music. Joe Walsh also cited that he had been influenced by Glenn’s sound. Dan brought Glenn in to record in his studio with Joe and Dan’s Band, The Arcs. A resulting song” Daughter of Zion”, which Glenn had previously performed with the All Saved Freak Band and an original song “Collinwood Fire” featuring Glenn in a solo performance on acoustic guitar and vocals are both included on the album. The latter song commemorates a horrible event that occurred in 1908 which resulted in the death of 172 school children following a fire at the Lake View School in Cleveland. Glenn died at the age of 77 in 2018.
The album offers a mixture of classical blues and new artists in the style of the older Hill Country musicians. It is a great introduction to some of the modern artists that are still carrying on the sound, but perhaps with some modern twists. Dan said the mono recordings of Holmes and Welch were included as mono simply enhances the sound of some of the older artists.
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