Northern Roots – Southern Soul

An exciting new album is in the works with the working title “Northern Roots – Southern Soul”.

Why that title? Lots of meaning. In a nutshell, I was born and raised in the northeastern United States. My first foray into the southern states was when I was in the Army. They sent me to school in Georgia, but it was while stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, right on the border of Kentucky and Tennessee, that became immersed in southern culture. Many of my army buddies were from the southern states, so I took trips to their hometowns, ate their food, listened to their music and even picked up their lingo.

When I decided to make music a career I tended toward southern rock, a popular genre in the 1970s, even up north. Seeds of southern soul were planted in me listening to bands like Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Z Z Top and Marshal Tucker. A close friend from Decatur, Alabama introduced me to my favorite band at the time, Wet Willie. Of course all of these bands were heavily influenced by the blues and soul artists of the Delta, Memphis and Atlanta. In my teens I was drawn to R&B and funk so these southern sounds with a heavy rhythm emphasis was a natural fit for me. Later on I dabbled in jazz as well, which has it’s roots in the Mississippi River culture and has influenced many other genres like pop, folk rock and even bluegrass.

It is appropriate for me to be recording in Mississippi. In a sense, I feel like I’ve come home. In fact, the first day of recording at AVA studio in Raymond, Mississippi, as the musicians came in, I felt like I was recording with my old friends. My producer, Tom Easley and I hit it off immediately, even before we met in person. When we began to discuss the album project I got the feeling that he knew exactly the sound I was after, and the first four songs we recorded proved that to be correct. A year and eight songs later, the southern sound is even more pronounced.

While recording the first four songs in June of 2021 I asked Tom if he knew of a female vocalist that would sing with me. His answer was not one, but three. As it turned out, these ladies took my songs into the stratosphere. This time around he added another fantastic feature: a horn section. He mentioned the Muscle Shoals sound, which worked well with the MALACO Records connection. Horns were not on my radar, but it turns out he nailed it. Four of the songs have a killer horn section.

With each addition to the songs, I’m getting more excited. Next up is to solidify my parts, add the ladies vocals and finish the mixes. I feel like my personality is coming through big time on this record and my producer, Tom Easley is helping to define it.

The best part of all is that these songs have a positive vibe, are family friendly and tell a good story. Thank you Tom and the great team you have assembled to make a recording we can all feel good about.

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