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Gary Clark Jr'
Live North America 2016Back when music was only available on a vinyl album, the pure excitement captured on a live album was considered the ultimate document coveted by hardcore music fans. Clark continues this tradition by bringing the live album to a younger generation of music fans. Live North America 2016 was recorded absolutely live, with no overdubs. What you hear is how it went down.
The album includes all new and unreleased live recordings from Gary Clark Jr's 2016 tour in support of his internationally acclaimed 2015 album The Story of Sonny Boy Slim. It features several songs from that album, including The Healing, Grinder, Our Love, Cold-Blooded, and Shake, featuring Leon Bridges and his saxophonist Jeff Dazey. The set is characterized by raw soul and funk, classic solo and blues performances, and several lengthy, tour de force guitar jams. It includes two previously unreleased covers, Jimmy Reed's Honest I Do and Elmore James' My Baby's Gone as well as You Saved Me and When My Train Pulls In - fan favorites from Clark's Warner Bros. Records critically praised debut Blak and Blu.
Clark's incendiary performances were also beautifully captured on Gary Clark Jr. Live, which was released in September 2014 and met with tremendous critical and commercial acclaim. Both live albums chronicle Clark's evolution on stage as his songs expand and find new life beyond the studio recordings. Much like the great blues, jazz, and soul legends of past, these recordings are lightening in a bottle - historical moments in time for an artist who is ever-morphing and one of the truly great improvisers of his generation and our time.LP 1
1. Grinder (Live)
2. The Healing (Live)
3. Our Love (Live)
4. Cold Blooded (Live)
5. When My Train Pulls In (Live)
1. Down to Ride (Live)
2. You Saved Me (Live)
3. Shake (feat. Leon Bridges with Jeff Dazey) [Live]
4. Church (Live)
5. Honest I Do (Live)
6. My Baby's Gone (Live)
7. Numb (Live)$26.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
The Story of Sonny Boy SlimTo sum up Gary Clark Jr. is more challenging every day. He's a musical universe unto himself, expanding at a nearly immeasurable rate, ever more hard to define - as a mind-blowing guitarist, a dazzling songwriter and engagingly soulful singer. He became the first artist ever recognized by the Recording Academy with Grammy Award nominations in both the rock and R&B categories for the same album in the same year, winning the latter: Best Traditional R&B Performance - Please Come Home (from the album Blak And Blu). Rolling Stone dubbed Clark The King of the Summer Festivals as he captivated audiences from Coachella to Glastonbury, Lollapalooza to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, from Metallica's Orion Festival to Jay-Z's Made in America, and of course his hometown Austin City Limits Festival, where he his band set a daytime attendance record.1. Healing
4. Our Love
6. Hold On
7. Cold Blooded
10. Can t Sleep
13. Down to Ride$25.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Gary Clark Jr. LiveThe anticipated first live release from Guitar sensation Gary Clark Jr.
To sum up Gary Clark Jr. is more challenging every day. He's a musical universe unto himself, expanding at a nearly immeasurable rate, ever more hard to define - as a mind-blowing guitarist, a dazzling songwriter and engagingly soulful singer. With his debut album Blak And Blu he has just become the first artist ever recognized by the Recording Academy with Grammy Award nominations in both the rock and R&B categories for the same album in the same year, winning the latter: Best Traditional R&B Performance" - "Please Come Home" (from the album Blak And Blu). Rolling Stone dubbed Clark "The King of the Summer Festivals" as he captivated audiences from Coachella to Glastonbury, Lollapalooza to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, from Metallica's Orion Festival to Jay-Z's Made in America, and of course his hometown Austin City Limits Festival, where he his band set a daytime attendance record.LP 1
1. Catfish Blues (Live)
2. Next Door Neighbor Blues (Live)
3. Travis County (Live)
4. When My Train Pulls In (Live)
5. Don't Owe You A Thang (Live)
6. Three O'Clock Blues (Live)
7. Things Are Changin' (Live)
8. Numb (Live)
1. Ain't Messin 'Round (Live)
2. If Trouble Was Money (Live)
3. Third Stone From The Sun/If You Love Me Like You Say (Live)
4. Please Come Home (Live)
5. Blak And Blu (Live)
6. Bright Lights (Live)
7. When The Sun Goes Down (Live)$19.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Blak And BluClark has been slipping songs from Blak and Blu into his sets while performing at all of this year's major music festivals, including Bonnaroo, Coachella, Osheaga Festival, Sasquatch!, Lollapalooza, and the NOLA Jazz & Heritage Festival. He was also the only artist invited to play both nights of Jay Z's Made in America Festival. In addition to 12 of Clark's original compositions, Blak and Blu also features a 13th song - a blistering cover of Little Johnny Taylor's (popularized by Albert Collins), If You Love Me Like You Say / Third Stone From The Sun (Jimi Hendrix) is actually a complete reworking of the song utilizing the Hendrix riff reinterpreted by Clark. The result is an extraordinary hybrid of the two ideas that breathes new fire to an old favorite.LP 1
1. Ain't Messin 'Round
2. When My Train Pulls In
3. Blak And Blu
4. Bright Lights
5. Travis County
6. The Life
7. Glitter Ain't Gold (Jumpin' For Nothin')
2. Please Come Home
3. Things Are Changin'
4. Third Stone From The Sun/If You Love Me Like You Say
5. You Saved Me
6. Next Door Neighbor Blues$22.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Muddy Waters 100Includes 12 Page Insert
Muddy Waters 100 is the centennial celebration of his birthday (April 4, 1915) and also a commemoration of this immense legacy. This compilation covers the broad spectrum of the Waters catalog from Country Blues to the pioneering Chess studio sessions in Chicago.
The album With an all-star lineup of Blues specialists and veterans under the direction of vocalist/guitarist, longtime Waters alumnus, and close friend John Primer, the mood is set with the trademark Got My Mojo Working, featuring vocalist Shemekia Copeland trading verses with Primer.
Also featuring Bob Margolin, who also spent many years in the Waters band. Johnny Winter (who produced four Muddy Waters albums in the 1970's) was brought in as guest slide guitarist on I'm Ready, and harmonica wizard James Cotton livens up Good News, and I Feel So Good, adding an authentic touch, as he played on the original recordings in the late 1950's. Representing the younger generation of bluesmen are Billy Branch, who sits in on harmonica on several tracks, and guitarists Gary Clark Jr., Keb Mo,' and Derek Trucks, who were requested to add a contemporary flavor to the celebrated repertoire.1. Got My Mojo Working
2. Still A Fool
3. I Be's Troubled
4. I'm Ready
5. Mannish Boy
7. Why Don't You Live So God Can Use You
8. Good News
9. Trouble No More
10. She Moves Me
11. Can 't Get No Grindin'
12. 40 Days And 40 Nights
13. Last Time I Fool Around With You
14. I Feel So Good
15. Fee L Like Going Home$34.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Crossroads Guitar Festival 2013Eric Clapton's Crossroads Guitar Festival 2013 has proven to be a great success, with the DVD, Blu Ray and CD continuing to chart globally. We will complement the other formats by releasing Crossroads 2013 on vinyl for the very first time! The four-LP set features Clapton along with guitar greats Gary Clark Jr., Jeff Beck, Keith Richards, Vince Gill, The Allman Brothers Band, Robert Randolph, John Mayer, Keith Urban, Keb' Mo', Robert Cray, Doyle Bramhall II, Los Lobos, Albert Lee and more.LP 1
1. Tears In Heaven - Eric Clapton
2. Lay Down Sally - Eric Clapton with Vince Gill
3. Green Onions - Booker T. with Steve Cropper, Keb' Mo', Blake Mills, Matt "Guitar" Murphy & Albert Lee
4. Heavenly Bodies - Kurt Rosenwinkel
5. This Time - Earl Klugh
6. Mirabella - Earl Klugh
7. Great Big Old House - The Robert Cray Band
8. She's Alright - Doyle Bramhall II with Gary Clark Jr.
1. Bullet And A Target - Doyle Bramhall II with Citizen Cope
2. Queen Of California - John Mayer
3. Don't Let Me Down - John Mayer with Keith Urban
4. Next Door Neighbor Blues - Gary Clark Jr.
5. Damn Right, I've Got The Blues - Buddy Guy with Robert Randolph & Quinn Sullivan
6. Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad - The Allman Brothers Band with Eric Clapton
1. Congo Square - Sonny Landreth with Derek Trucks
2. Change It - John Mayer with Doyle Bramhall II
3. Ooh-oOh-Ooh - Jimmie Vaughan
4. Save The Last Dance For Me - Blake Mills with Derek Trucks
5. Don't Worry Baby - Los Lobos
6. I Ain't living long like this - Vince Gill with Albert Lee
7. Diving Duck blues - Taj Mahal with Keb' Mo'
1. When My Train Pulls In - Gary Clark Jr.
2. Mná Na HÉireann - Jeff Beck
3. The Needle And The Damage Done - Allman, Haynes, Trucks
4. Midnight Rider - Allman, Haynes, Trucks
5. Key To The Highway - Eric Clapton with Keith Richards
6. Gin House Blues - Andy Fairweather Low with Eric Clapton
7. Got To Get Better In A Little While - Eric Clapton
8. Sunshine Of Your Love - Eric Clapton$69.99Vinyl LP - 4 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Rhythm & BluesDouble LP Features Kid Rock, Keith Urban, Gary Clark, Jr., Beth Hart And Aerosmith Members Steven Tyler, Joe Perry And Brad Whitford!
Six-time Grammy Award winner and 2012 Kennedy Center Honoree Buddy Guy releases his studio album, Rhythm & Blues, on RCA Records. The follow-up to his 2010 Grammy Award winning album Living Proof, this double-disc masterpiece features first time studio collaborations with A-list artists Kid Rock, Keith Urban, Gary Clark, Jr., Beth Hart and Aerosmith members Steven Tyler, Joe Perry and Brad Whitford.
Produced by Grammy Award winning producer/songwriter and longtime collaborator Tom Hambridge (Skin Deep, Living Proof), Rhythm & Blues captures the 76 year-young Guy at the peak of his creativity. Replete with heartfelt vocals, straightforward lyrics and mesmerizing guitar licks, Rhythm & Blues not only exemplifies how blues continues to be the foundation of all genres of today's music, it also illustrates why Guy has been influential in the careers of Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Stevie Ray Vaughan and more.
The Rhythm disc includes rhythm and blues-style blues with deep grooves, such as the Junior Wells' 1960 hit "Messin With The Kid" featuring Kid Rock, the touching "One Day Away" with Keith Urban, and "What You're Gonna Do About Me," a rousing duet with Beth Hart. Guy rounds out the disc with "Best In Town," "Whiskey Ghost," Guitar Slim's "Well I Done Got Over It" and more.
The Blues disc taps into the genre's rich history with "Meet Me In Chicago," "I Could Die Happy," "Never Gonna Change" and "All That Makes Me Happy Is The Blues." Aerosmith's Tyler, Perry and Whitford contribute to the musical lesson with "Evil Twin" while Gary Clark, Jr. joins Guy on "Blues Don't Care."
In a career that spans nearly 50 years with over 50 albums released, the incomparable Buddy Guy recently added the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors and NARM Chairman's Award for Sustained Creative Achievement to his long list of achievements. Guy is the recipient of 30 awards and accolades, including 6 Grammy Awards, 28 Blues Music Awards (formerly W. C. Handy Awards), Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, the first annual Great Performer of Illinois Award, a Billboard Music Awards' Century Award for distinguished artistic achievement, the Presidential National Medal of Arts, in addition to being listed as one of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time by Rolling Stone.LP 1
1. Best In Town
3. I Go By Feel
4. Messin' With The Kid (Feat. Kid Rock)
5. What's Up With That Woman
6. One Day Away (Feat. Keith Urban)
7. Well I Done Got Over It
8. What You Gonna Do About Me (Feat. Beth Hart)
9. The Devil's Daughter
10. Whiskey Ghost
11. Rhythm Inner Groove
1. Meet Me In Chicago
2. Too Damn Bad
3. Evil Twin (Feat. Steven Tyler, Joe Perry & Brad Whitford)
4. I Could Die Happy
5. Never Gonna Change
6. All That Makes Me Happy Is The Blues
7. My Mama Loved Me
8. Blues Don't Care (Feat. Gary Clark, Jr.)
9. I Came Up Hard
10. Poison Ivy$29.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Girl On Fire'Girl On Fire' is about finding your voice, about being unleashed and about trusting your instincts and trusting yourself, says Keys. I can't wait to share it with the world.
Girl On Fire features powerful anthems and intimate ballads, led by Keys' signature soulful voice and personable and relatable lyrics. Keys collaborated with acclaimed and emerging talents, including longtime song writing partner, Krucial, Grammy Award-winner Babyface, renowned writer and vocalist Jeff Bhasaker, critically-acclaimed artist Gary Clarke Jr., up and comers, Pop and Oak, as well as emerging talent from the U.K., Emeli Sande and Jamie XX, among others. The songs on Girl On Fire are anchored by Keys' powerful vocals and trademark piano, but are sonically broadened by heavy drums, electric sounds, reggae and future soul, which gives the album an evolved, modern-day feel while simultaneously sounding like a classic body of timeless music. The album features an inspirational mix of the rich sounds Keys discovered while recording and traveling the world, particularly time she spent in London and Jamaica, layered within her New York City roots.LP1
1. De Novo Adagio
2. Brand New Me
3. When It's All Over
4. Listen To Your Heart
5. New Day
6. Girl On Fire
7. Fire We Make
1. Tears Always Win
2. Not Even The King
3. That's When I Knew
5. One Thing
6. 101$29.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
School of Rock - The MusicalThis Original Cast Recording for School of Rock-The Musical features songs from the immensely popular 2003 film School of Rock. Three-time Grammy Award-winner Rob Cavallo, who has worked with Green Day, My Chemical Romance, Paramore, Goo Goo Dolls, Phil Collins, and Gary Clark Jr., produced the album along with Lloyd Webber. The album features the songs in the stage production, as well as three songs from the film. All original songs are written by Lloyd Webber and Slater.LP 1
1. I'm Too Hot For You
2. When I Climb To The Top Of Mount Rock
3. Horace Green Alma Mater
4. Here At Horace Green
5. Variation 7 / Children Of Rock
6. Give Up Your Dreams
7. Queen Of The Night
8. You're In The Band
9. If Only You Would Listen
10. In The End Of Time (A Cappella Version)
1. Faculty Quadrille
2. Stick It To The Man
3. Time To Play
4. Where Did The Rock Go Intro
5. Where Did The Rock Go
6. Dewey's Confession
7. Act 2 Scene 8 Dewey's Bedroom
8. School Of Rock (Teacher's Pet)
10. If Only You Would Listen
11. In The End Of Time (Rock Version)$29.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Sound The Alarm (On Sale)Booker T Jones is a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Musicians Hall of Fame inductee and Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. Arguably, as the leader of the legendary Memphis soul icons, Booker T and the MG's, he single-handedly set the cast for modern soul on classic Stax tunes like Green Onions and Time is Tight. A plethora of captivating artists join Booker on his upcoming celebratory return to Stax Records, including Anthony Hamilton, Raphael Saadiq, Mayer Hawthorne, Estelle, Vintage Trouble, Luke James and James Jay Picton among many others. Gary Clark Jr., Poncho Sanchez, and Sheila E. also contribute their singular instrumental prowess to the soulful tracks among this highly anticipated release, coming June 11th, 2013.1. Sound The Alarm - featuring Mayer Hawthorne
2. All Over The Place - featuring Luke James
4. Broken Heart - featuring Jay James
5. Feel Good
6. Gently - featuring Anthony Hamilton
7. Austin City Blues - featuring Gary Clark, Jr
8. Can't Wait - featuring Estelle
9. 66 Impala - featuring Poncho Sanchez and Sheila E.
10. Watch You Sleeping - featuring Kori Withers
11. Your Love Is No Love - featuring Vintage Trouble
12. Father Son Blues - featuring Ted Jones$19.99 $15.79Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
The DrifterA new album from Mike Flanigin featuring a who's who of Texas music greats: Billy Gibbons, Jimmie Vaughan, Gary Clark Jr., Alejandro Escovedo, Kat Edmonson, Reverend Gean West & The Relatives.1. The Devil Beats His Wife
2. Fit to be Tied ft. Alejandro Escovedo
3. The Drifter ft. Billy Gibbons
4. All Nite Long ft. Jimmie Vaughan
5. From the Dust
6. Nina ft. Kat Edmonson
7. Stop the World ft. Gary Clark Jr.
8. Tryin' to Make My Way Back Home ft. Reverend Gean West
9. One Little Heart ft. Kat Edmonson
10. This Life$24.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
LonersIndie soul singer and songwriter Arum Rae went from performing on any stage possible to touring with the likes of Gary Clark, Jr. and B.B. King, and independently releasing her 2014 Warranted Queen EP acclaimed by Noisey, Spin, Paste, and more. Her story comes into focus on 2016's Loners EP and forthcoming full-length debut for Secret Road Records.
In addition to performing most of the instruments, Arum produced all of the EP, with the exception of the first single, Wasn't My Time, which was produced by Katalyst (Kanye West, X Ambassadors, Eminem). It's distinctly her vision. Now, Arum's stories have the power to resound with listeners worldwide on Loners. "I hope when people hear my music they can find a sense of themselves in it," she leaves off. "Maybe they can relate to it, and it might move them."1. Wasn't My Time
3. If I Didn't Know Better
5. Heaven$13.9910 Vinyl EP - Sealed Buy Now
Miles Ahead (Soundtrack)The release of the movie MILES AHEAD, Don Cheadle's wildly entertaining and moving exploration of Miles Davis, will be accompanied by this new soundtrack featuring musical highlights from Miles' career and new recordings overseen by Grammy Award-winning jazz/hip-hop artist Robert Glasper.
This is a perfect primer on Davis' career for the new fan and a brilliant audio keepsake of the film for those who've studied his works inside and out. The album features 11 tracks from across Miles' catalogue from 1956 to 1981, select dialogue from the film featuring Cheadle in character, and five original compositions written, co-written, produced or performed exclusively for MILES AHEAD by Robert Glasper. These cues include "What's Wrong with That?" a jam that closes the movie imagining Cheadle as Miles playing in the present day with guest performers Glasper, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Gary Clark, Jr. and Esperanza Spalding; plus "Gone 2015," an end-credits song featuring guest verses from rapper Pharoahe Monch. Cheadle also pens new liner notes for the album discussing the selection and creation of the songs on the soundtrack.LP 1
1. Miles Ahead
2. Dialogue: It takes a long time...
3. So What
4. Taylor Made
5. Dialogue: Listen, you talk too goddamn much...
6. Seven Steps to Heaven
7. Dialogue: If you gonna tell a story...
8. Frelon Brun
9. Dialogue: Sometimes you have these thoughts...
10. Duran (Take 6)
1. Dialogue: You own my music...
2. Go Ahead John (part two C)
3. Black Satin
4. Dialogue: Be musical about this shit...
5. Prelude, Pt. 2
6. Dialogue: Y'all listening to them...
7. Junior's Jam
9. Back Seat Betty
10. Dialogue: I don't like the word jazz...
11. What's Wrong with That?
12. Gone 2015$29.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
FrogtownAnthony Wilson, best known as a jazz guitarist, has released an organic, occasionally 'noir-ish'-sounding album on which he sets up and sings within cinematic musical landscapes, proving himself to be an equally compelling story teller. Frogtown is an area of Los Angeles, whose official name is Elysian Valley. People live there but other than a lush stretch of the L.A. riverbed, there's not much there, which is how the people like it. The same can't be said of this record, which will have you wondering from where came this Anthony Wilson? ... the album's sound and the deftly drawn arrangements (for some reason uncredited) perfectly compliment Wilson's dreamy, rural intentions (producer Joe Harley gets a 'audio consultation' credit). The sound achieves a rare level of transparency, delicacy and three-dimensionality in today's hard-edged audio world. Bernie Grundman cut lacquers from what I assume were high resolution files. I doubt you'll ask yourself 'why buy the vinyl?' after your first listen. - Music = 10/11; Sound = 10/11 - Michael Fremer, AnalogPlanet.com.
Frogtown, a new album of original instrumental and vocal songs, is guitarist Anthony Wilson's widest-ranging work to date, and his debut as a vocalist. Wilson enlisted Grammy-winning producer/bassist Mike Elizondo (Gary Clark Jr., Kimbra, Ry Cooder), a longtime friend and musical colleague, to help him realize this collection of layered and personal sonic stories.
Featuring a cast of renowned musicians - drummers Jim Keltner and Matt Chamberlain, violinist Petra Haden, and keyboardists Patrick Warren and Josh Nelson - each song on Frogtown evokes a distinct feeling and landscape, and takes the listener someplace new. Virtuosic guitar and ensemble work, well-made songs and detailed arrangements, and intimate vocals are the driving forces of the album.
An album highlight is the song Your Footprints - written by Wilson with songwriter Dan Wilson (Adele, Taylor Swift, Semisonic) - featuring a special guest appearance from iconic jazz saxophonist Charles Lloyd. The collaboration with Lloyd alludes to Wilson's deep jazz roots, and evokes memories of his father, the late, great composer/bandleader Gerald Wilson. Other songs summon varied musical influences - FM radio of the 1970's, Ry Cooder's diverse body of work, children's rhymes, guitar styles from the 1920's to the present day.
Frogtown travels into, through, and beyond genres; the album's melodies and lyrics guide the listener through tender and complex emotional landscapes. Anthony Wilson steps confidently into the center of the frame for this musical and personal portrait.1. She Won't Look Back
3. Your Footprints
4. Occhi di Bambola
5. Silver and Flint
6. Our Affair
7. The Cares of a Family Man
10. The Geranium
11. Shabby Bird
12. I Saw It Through The Skylight
13. Downtown Abbey$40.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Broken PeopleAmerican music is a mile-wide river that beckons black and white, urban and rural, dreamer and doer alike to launch their vessels. All the streams of style and genre flow into it; its tributaries are blues and jazz, mountain and folk, rock, soul and R&B.
The release of the debut album by Muddy Magnolias, Broken People, marks the launch of a great new vessel onto that waterway. The album showcases a confluence of style and sound as colorful as it is unlikely, steeped in that river of influence, yet bracingly fresh.
With Broken People, Jessy Wilson and Kallie North take us on an 11-song journey with its origins in two widely divergent backgrounds that came together in a friendship and creative partnership with world-changing resonance.
North was raised in southeast Texas and began singing with her family and studying piano at an early age. She grew to love rich vocal harmonies singing in church choirs and listening to artists like the Carpenters, Alison Krauss, James Taylor and the Eagles. By her early teens, she was singing lead parts in church and in musical theater productions at her high school. Her palette grew when a friend turned her on to the Grateful Dead, and after high school she spent every spare moment in the clubs of Austin, absorbing everything from alt-country and jam bands to New Orleans funk. She met her husband at a concert and moved with him to his native Mississippi. There, on their isolated farm, she had her awakening, starting a career as a photographer, capturing the spirited, deep history of the Mississippi Delta.
"To me, the Delta is the most overlooked and mysterious place," she says. "It was the birthplace of America's music, and all the legends were influenced by everything that came out of it. I went on this personal exploration to learn about the Delta blues and the region's history. I picked up a camera and started taking pictures, blogging about what I was experiencing, and I tapped into all the creative energy lying dormant inside me." When her husband gave her a guitar, she began spending her days on the porch of their farm learning how to connect her first chords. From there, the songs began pouring out and she knew she had to find a way to get to Nashville and write songs professionally.
Wilson, raised in Brooklyn, was in love with music from her earliest days. She was singing before she could talk, and was 5 when her mother recognized her passion for music. "I would cry because I couldn't hit the high notes in Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey songs," she says. Influenced by greats from Aretha and Smokey Robinson to Lauryn Hill, Mary J. Blige and The Notorious B.I.G., she began auditioning in the highly competitive New York entertainment scene and was working professionally in musical theater by the age of 10. Her mother took her to nightclubs where she experienced a variety of live performances. She attended New York's top performing arts schools, including La Guardia High School, the "Fame" school, where she discovered her love for gospel music and took part in the gospel chorus for four years. She worked at Cafe Wha? in Greenwich Village, making $500 a weekend while still in high school.
She sang backup for Alicia Keys in her teens, then worked four years with John Legend, and through him with legends like will.i.am, Kanye West, Raphael Saadiq and Babyface. Legend mentored her in songwriting and recording before she began writing songs on her own for American Idol winner Fantasia Barrino and others. Inspired by her evolving love of songwriting, she too moved to Nashville, looking for a wider creative palette. There, while meeting with then-BMI executive Clay Bradley, her eye settled on a photograph of "a rundown juke joint piano" in his office.
"I want to meet whoever took that photo," she said. The photographer was North-it had been taken during her creative awakening in Mississippi-and the subsequent meeting led quickly to collaboration and an epic friendship.
"The first day we wrote together," says North, "there wasn't much thought that we were blending genres and worlds. That never came up. It was just natural. She had never written a country song and I was writing them every day. We sat down to write one but when we listened back it was a country R&B song. And we decided to become songwriting partners." Before long, they had their first cut as collaborators, and they were off and running.
"The spirit of the Muddy Magnolias existed from the moment we met," says Wilson, "but we didn't know we were the Muddy Magnolias yet." North was toying with the idea of a solo career; Wilson had aspirations of making history as an African-American female songwriter in Nashville. Their new friendship was a game-changer.
"We spent a whole year writing, trying to understand what our message was when we combined our stories," says Wilson. Then one day over afternoon wine at Burger Up, their favorite hangout in the 12 South section of Nashville, both admitted to be being at a crossroads. "The next thing you know," says North, "Jessy said, 'What if we made a record together?' It was like all of our dreams in one."
"We went back to that same office on Music Row where I saw the photograph," says Wilson, "and sat down side by side in Clay's office and said, 'We've got something to tell you. We're going to make an album together.'" Bradley believed enough to sign on as their manager. They held three days of band auditions and found four best friends who had been playing together since college, primarily doing jazz. The fit was perfect, providing just the right sonic backdrop for their soulful approach and high-energy delivery.
As they continued to write and perform, opening for the likes of The Zac Brown Band and Gary Clark, Jr., they put together a project that crosses genres effortlessly, showcasing two voices that soar together in a blending of cultures as electrifying as if Janis Joplin and Tina Turner, or Whitney Houston and Lee Ann Womack had joined forces.
Broken People combines poetic imagery and vocal passion, with the musicianship and production of Motown or Muscle Shoals by way of the raw honesty of Sun Records. Of course it deals with love, longed for and unleashed, in songs like "I Need A Man," "Why Don't You Stay" and "Devil's Teeth," but the album soars as it reaches for bigger themes, dealing with the need for hope in "Take Me Home," for love on a societal scale in "Shine On" and "Brother What Happened," and hope for the future in "Got It Goin' On." With "Leave It To The Sky," the two, joined by John Legend on vocals and piano, make a powerful case for spiritual solutions, and few songs in the modern lexicon are as steeped in present-day reality as the gospel- and R&B-tinged title track.
"Ultimately," says North, "this album is a result of an unlikely friendship and is a testament to what can happen when you diversify your relationships."
"It's about getting out of your comfort zone and being rewarded with a great friendship," adds Wilson. "We've both felt the power of that."
"Our path is so much better and our lives are so much richer because of it," says North, "and we want to bring people along on this journey."
"We want to see what society would be like if we all reached out in ways we normally wouldn't," adds Wilson.
And that is the magic and the message. The music of Muddy Magnolias, live and on record, comes from a place where the Mississippi meets the A-Train by way of Nashville. Whether yours is the back porch or the front stoop, Spanish moss or window box garden, dusty country lane or crowded subway car, rural honky-tonk or uptown club, this is music that beckons. Muddy Magnolias are collaboration without boundaries, musical healing in a landscape of the heart, and all of us who treasure creative energy, honest art and the possibilities of love and unity, are better for their arrival.1. Broken People
2. Brother, What Happened?
3. Got It Goin' On
4. Why Don't You Stay
5. Take Me Home
6. Shine On!
7. It Ain't Easy
8. I Need A Man
9. Devil's Teeth
11. Leave It To The Sky (feat. John Legend)$18.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now