Bobby Rush (Solo)
w/ Adam Ezra
Featured Artist #1
Bobby Rush (Solo)
Naming your album after a song entitled "Porcupine Meat" may seem a little unusual unless you're Bobby Rush, who earned his first gold record in 1971 with a hit entitled "Chicken Heads." He elaborates on his recent composition: "If a lady won't treat me right, but she doesn't want anyone else to have me, that is hard to digest." Hence the lyric, "too fat to eat, too lean to throw away." Porcupine Meat is Rush's debut release for Rounder Records, and one of the best recordings of his astonishing 60-plus year career. Released in late 2016 the album went on to garner a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues Album after a debut at #1 on the Living Blues radio chart.
Rush estimates that he has cut over 300 songs since he first began making music. He has been honored with four Grammy nominations, as well as 41 nominations and 10 awards from the Blues Foundation, and a 2006 induction into the Blues Hall of Fame.
But make no mistake: Rush is not your typical octogenarian. At age 82, he exudes the energy of a 20 year old, and is on the road for over 200 dates a year. His hectic tour schedule has earned him the affectionate title "King of the Chitlin' Circuit." Rush has traveled the globe, and has performed in such faraway places as Japan and Beirut. In 2007, he earned the distinction of being the first blues artist to play at the Great Wall of China. His renowned stage act features his famed shake dancers, who personify his funky blues and the ribald humor that he has cultivated during the course of his storied career.
Porcupine Meat will not only please Rush's older fans, but is likely to win over manynew ones. Billington reflects, "We wanted to come up with something fresh, while staying 100% true to Bobby."
The album was recorded in New Orleans, and Rush was pleased and proud to be given the opportunity to make an album in his home state for the very first time. His impassioned vocals and in-the- pocket harmonica playing are among the best performances of his career. Unlike most of his recent releases, these sessions only feature real instruments and no synthesizers. All of the rhythm tracks were cut live in the studio, often edited down from jams that on several occasions ran close to ten minutes.
For the project, Billington assembled some of the best Louisiana musicians, including Shane Theriot, David Torkanowsky, Jeffrey "Jellybean" Alexander, Kirk Joseph, Cornell Williams, and others. Rush brought along his old friend and longtime collaborator, guitarist Vasti Jackson, who worked with Bobby and Scott on getting the songs ready for the studio. Guitar greats Dave Alvin, Keb' Mo', and Joe Bonamassa all make guest appearances on the album. Rush has always been a prolific and clever songwriter. The songs he penned for Porcupine Meat such as "Dress Too Short," "I Don't Want Nobody Hanging Around," "Me, Myself And I," "Nighttime Gardener," "It's Your Move," and the title selection, all equal or rival his best material. "Funk o' de Funk" delivers exactly what the title suggests and what Rush has always done the best, which is putting the funk into the blues. While "Got Me Accused" is inspired by events from Rush's own life, the lyrics tell an all-too- familiar tale about the rampant racial injustice that afflicts our society. Producer Billington and his wife Johnette Downing (the well known New Orleans songwriter and children's musician) co-wrote a couple of fine selections, "Catfish Stew" and "Snake In The Grass."
Bobby Rush is the greatest bluesman currently performing. Porcupine Meat is a testament to his brilliance, which presents him at his very best, and doesn't try to be anything that he is not. "I just try to record good music and stories," he humbly states. With this recording, he has more than accomplished his goal, and has produced one of the finest contemporary blues albums in recent times.
Featured Artist #2
Adam Ezra Group's songwriting is making waves around the country.
The co-write "Let Your Hair Down" with producers Shep Goodman and Aaron Accetta, (American Authors), just received "Song of the Year" at the New England Music Awards. A songwriting partnership with the legendary John Oates is taking Ezra back and forth between Nashville and tour. The theme song "Grow Your Own Way" was central to Midwest insurance giant, Country Financial's 2014/15 marketing campaign. In addition, Adam Ezra's debut efforts in movie scoring have lead to an appearance at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival and the release of Adam Ezra Group's new album, aptly titled, Songs for a Movie.
This 16 song marathon studio production is the culmination of three years of writing, planning, arranging, and recording for the independent film release, "Folk Hero & Funny Guy." Much of the writing and recording occurred while on tour; in hotel rooms, hallways, green rooms, and while literally driving the American highways often referenced within the album.
A tireless touring outfit, the Adam Ezra Group (AEG) played upwards of 200 shows in 2015, often devoting their time to local charities and always going out of their way to connect with fans. The Group is made up of lead singer, songwriter and guitarist, Adam Ezra, Alex Martin on drums, Turtle on percussion, Corinna Smith on fiddle, Francis Hickey on bass and Josh Gold on keys. Together they are creating a powerful, inclusive community around AEG shows that is beginning to be compared to a social-movement as much as a traditional music fan-base. It's this dedication to fans that inspired the 2016 "Get Folked Concert Tour" in which Ezra ventured solo/acoustic to the homes of 30 fans in as many days and almost as many states to play house concerts throughout the entire month of January.