FROM KARYN: John Blangero has been one busy guy as of late. He was finally able to find a little time and provide us with an update on his next record. As always, John can tell it much better than I. Read on to learn about SIGNS & WONDERS, due out this fall!
My next album, Signs & Wonders, is finished. We recorded it largely in Pittsburgh at Dave Granati’s Maplewood Studios, with Nashville’s Brian Foraker doing the final mix (along with producer Ace Acker) and the final master. Brian served in the same capacity for the first album, Delta Tales.
What can I say? The new album has surpassed all my expectations. I can’t wait for people to hear it. There are ten songs on the album, and all were written specifically for the album. Like a retro vinyl LP, the album is broken into two sides with five songs on each side. Today, I’d like to tell you a bit about the first side of the album, which I call the “Signs” side. It is dedicated to the big horn sections and the southern soul side of my music. If you liked Free Will in China Blue and The Snake on Delta Tales, you’re going to love this side.
The songs on the “Signs” side are: (1) Bitter Waters Sweetened (2) No. 6 Magnolia Avenue (3) Lanterns on The Levee. (4) Buried In the Blues Again, and (5) Jubal Takes A Wife.
I wrote all of these except for Buried in The Blues Again, which was written by Ace, who also co-wrote Lanterns on The Levee. Bitter Waters Sweetened is another southern soul stomper with some great gospel like backing vocals. I play a lot more keyboard solos on this album than on the first album and a couple of these appear on Bitter Waters Sweetened. including a Hammond organ solo, a Fender Rhodes electric piano solo, and a Yamaha grand piano solo (of which I am particularly proud). No. 6 Magnolia Avenue is a midtempo dance song with an earworm hook, rousing horns and classic 70s-style background vocals. It is to be the first single from the album. We are currently planning a video to go with this song.
Next up: Lanterns on The Levee, my take on the great Mississippi flood of 1927. Many other songwriters, such as Randy Newman, have written songs about this catastrophic historical event. I even throw a little homage to Randy into this song with a roundabout variation of one of his piano figures from his Louisiana 1927. For those of you who are literature buffs, the title comes from Walker Pearcy’s wonderful autobiography and directly refers to the flood. SNEAK PREVIEW: "LANTERNS OF THE LEVEE."
Ace brought Buried in The Blues Again into the project; I loved it the very first time I heard it. It is a simple blues song performed live in the studio, except for the background vocals. My lead vocal evokes a Bobbie Blue Bland vibe right down to tossing in one of his trademark vocal squalls. See if you can pick it out!
The last song on the “Signs” side is the epic Jubal Takes a Wife, which tells an elaborate story of Southern life and sin. This is another song that boasts, in my opinion, a great chorus hook. This tale of Jubal and Suzanne continues on the “Wonders” side of the album, but that is another tale to tell.
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