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Sun King Rising on the Rise Part II

by Karyn Mueller for The Lowdown

One of my favorite sources of content for the Lowdown comes from Sun King Rising himself. As I was listening to Delta Tales the other afternoon I started to wonder how “Signs & Wonders” would differ from "Delta Tales." I will defer to SKR here and let him tell us in his own words:

“When Karyn asked me to contrast Delta Tales with the new album, Signs & Wonders, which is currently being recorded, I wondered where I would even start. My songs on Delta Tales were written across a long period of time. The earliest ones were Let There Be Light (the song where the Sun King first appears), In A State of Grace, Down the Delta Road, Love Turns Grey, and Drive Me to Nashville. All were written between 2003 and 2010 (I think!).

I updated a few lyrics here and there, but not much. Evangeline In the Morning has its roots in the same period but was finished in its current form with the help of Ace Acker during the recording of Delta Tales. I then wrote three songs in 2020 specifically for Delta Tales after the recording had begun. They were Beneath the Southern Sun, Milkweed and Thistle, and Free Will in China Blue, which I wrote after we thought we had finished Delta Tales and wanted to add a bonus track. These latter stage songs stand out as far more sophisticated compositions, both musically and lyrically, than my earlier songs. They also helped to focus the theme of Delta Tales around the Southern cultural experience.

Free Will also is a bona fide southern soul stomper that really let me bring in the horn section. It has been the most popular song so far from Delta Tales. Which brings me to Signs & Wonders. The new album was written in a flurry of creativity starting after Delta Tales was released in October 2020. It involves the natural extension from songs like Milkweed and Thistle and Free Will. Because I already had the theme in mind, I think I've been able to significantly improve my lyrics and I have spent a lot of time on them. Signs & Wonders has an integrated set of narratives portrayed in the songs. Some of the songs even reference to one another. I view Signs & Wonders as an almost cinematic work born of southern noir and gothic tales of love, sin, murder, redemption, and damnation.

We are going to include the lyrics in the next release, and I hope people will enjoy them. The music is also the best by a country mile that I have ever written. We have some very catchy songs on this album, and they are drenched in Southern soul. I don't want to give away the store.... but the titles of the new songs are:

Anchorless · Lanterns on The Levee · Jubal Takes a Wife · She Was a Blonde · Bitter Waters Sweetened · No. 6 Magnolia Avenue · Alabama Nocturne · Low Wine and Cruel Ruin · End of the Tunnel.

I am proud of these songs and our ongoing recordings give me great hope that Signs & Wonders will be artistically superior to Delta Tales.”

Karyn here again. In early October Sun King Rising and the band will convene in Pittsburgh to enter the studio and shoot a live music video. Stay tuned because Signs & Wonders is on the fast track for an early 2022 release!

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