We are happy to announce that the new record is finished.
After over a year of work, we finally are able to look at it and see it for what it is.
So...what is it?
Let me start by saying this virus has changed a few things. Mainly work. Tours, Festivals, things that we have worked on for a long time, just vanished over night. We are moving forward with the new release however, and hopefully you guys will dig it.
This began after a conversation I had with my friend...Louisiana Blues guitar legend...Lil Buck Senegal. I have chosen to keep the subject of that conversation private, but I will say that I came out of it rethinking the music that I should release.
You see, I have been labeled a ‘blues’ guitarist since I began my career. Not my words....rather the words of others.
I have a deep reverence for real blues music. I have been around...I have played with...learned from...many great bluesmen. Real deal cats.
I would have never said I was a blues guitarist. I would say I played ‘blues inspired’ music. I never felt worthy to carry that title. Many people would disagree...but many others (who know where I’m coming from) would absolutely agree.
I was cool with that.
After that conversation, I began to look around at the ‘scene’. What ‘blues music’ has become. It really has become a blanket term to lump in genres that people find tough to describe.
So, if I would be described as a blues guitarist, I wanted to make a real blues album.
Easier said than done.
I teamed up with my long time producer Allen Dauphin and we began talking about the concept, and I began writing material. I filled up a couple of notebooks with songs...but more than that...specifically writing in the blues genre.
Eliminating things that were unnecessary.
Simplifying things to the essence of what made an idea connect with others.
This whole project became an exercise in moderation. Finding the important parts, doing away with filler.
It also concentrated on what I know to be true.
The songs...the vibe...the tones...all had to be pulled from the mud of the south Louisiana marshes, swamps, and jungles. Pulled from the humid air. Pulled off the live oak trees.
It had to be as real as we could make it, because people had to believe the words and the grooves.
Real blues music always hit me hardest when I could believe the person delivering the material...and the listener...I believe...can spot fake. They may not know that they consciously do, but I think they can.
This group of songs went through a process of finding what made them tick.
Then we made demos.
Lots of demos.
We learned a little something from each one.
The song would evolve.
We would trim away the unnecessary. The grooves we pulled from the history of music that was recorded in the Acadiana area...from Zydeco Beats, to HipShaking stomps that were laid down by cats like Jockey Eitenne for Slim Harpo In Crowley, LA.
We chose guitar tones that harkened back to the cats that played the real thing...Elmore James, Hubert Sumlin, Lighten Hopkins, Robert Johnson, Rudy Richard, Lil Buck Senegal...to modern legends like Jimmy Vaughn, Denny Freeman, Derek O’Brian, John Mooney....instead of following the trend of modern showboating that has become ‘blues guitar’. I chose to follow the masters who told stories with their instruments. That made lasting impacts on the music, not simply passing phrases built mathematically.
I surrounded myself with players that I know have the same deep respect for musical legacy and who are also students of the history of the music, all while carving their own identities.
The new crop of torchbearers. Clint ‘The Chief’ Redwing on drums. Roddie Romero on guitar. Eric Adcock on piano, B3, Fender Rhodes, accordion, and rubboard, Chad Meaux on bass guitar.
As well as a few real legends....Lee Allen Zeno (bassist for Buckwheat Zydeco, Lil’ Buck Senegal, as well as being on countless recordings for major blues labels as a session player) on bass, Zachary Richard (yes...THE Zachary Richard) on blues harp, and Ronnie Eades (of the Muscle Shoals Horns) on sax...and help from Grammy award winning engineer Tony Daigle.
Early Dec. we booked 2 days at Dockside Studio in Maurice with engineer Justin Tocket. The plan was to add a couple more songs to all of the demos we had been collecting all year.
Instead with this crew, and the creative energy flowing in the tracking room at Dockside...surrounded by vintage mics, vintage amps, vintage guitars, vintage outboard gear, all being recorded to 2” tape...we blew through those couple of songs in no time, and then proceeded to re-record all of the other tunes we had been gathering all year...why not?
By the end of the two days we had this record.
We could have continued recording I guess...but, this collection seemed to say everything that we started out to say.
We chose to do 3 covers.
One by The King Of Zydeco...Clifton Chenier...one of my favorite tunes by Clifton “Think It Over One More Time”.
One by the great creole fiddle master Canray Fontenot. A song that has been part of the set for years. It is an arrangement that is not traditional, but one that pays respect to the original melody, but becomes something different...something that is of my own creation. I’m sure it’ll make purist upset, but for the rest of you...I can’t wait for you to hear what happens when incredible musicians get a hold of my interpretation of Canray’s classic “Barres De La Prison”.
Finally...the 3rd cover comes from a dear departed friend of us all...Mr. David Egan. We chose to cover a song a I fell in love with that has not yet been published. It was the last demo David made with C.C. Adcock shortly before David passed...”Don’t Put It In Her Mind”.
The other 6 songs were taken from the pages of the notebooks I filled in the 4 years since the last record.
All played live in Dockside’s tracking room.
Mics picking up bleed from everything adds to the big room sound...but it also means that what was played is what you’ll hear. No take backs...haha...like they used ta do it. Real musicians in a studio playing and singing real music, with real instruments.
True to the nature of who we are....we went in to make a good blues record, and to my ears we’ve ended up with a really great roots rock record.
BUT...Not that far from the mark...and truth be said...there are real blues tracks all over this record..
If you dig blues music...this record will not let you down.
It’s a blast of fresh air that the scene hasn’t seen in a long time.
AND....most of all...groovin’ It is what we do in southwest Louisiana.
The rhythms will make your feet move, the words will paint the pictures, the playing will bring it to life, and the tones will make color jump out of the speakers to paint a 3D landscape of life from the wetlands of Creole/ Cajun country as told by a ‘blues’ guitarist from Erath, LA...that is truly blessed to have had the opportunity to do so.
It’s coming soon.
Check back for updates.
A new blues album.
And it will be called:
Coming April 2020
Middle Finger Guitars
mjn's art space
MJN uses James Trussart guitars
You wouldn't want that to happen now would you?