Best New Music: Tony Joe White and Moxyblossom

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Tony Joe White: Boot Money

When Tony Joe White died of a heart attack on October 24, 2018, at the age of 75 he left behind a bunch of vocal and guitar demos for what looked likely to be an unfinished album. The beloved songwriter nicknamed the Swamp Fox because of his unique roots-rock and R&B sound, found early success for writing such classic songs as his 1969 hit “Polk Salad Annie” and for “Rainy Night in Georgia” which he wrote, was a hit for Brook Benton in 1970. He also wrote “Steamy Windows” and “Undercover Agent for the Blues”, both hits for Tina Turner in 1989, and his 90’s career included touring with Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker, and Waylon Jennings. 

In the 2000’s, White revived his recording career with a series of well-received albums including “Heroines”, featuring duets with female vocalists including Jessi Colter, Shelby Lynne, Emmylou Harris and Lucinda Williams. In the last five years of his life he released three albums on Yep Roc records leading No Depression magazine to state “Tony Joe White is the real king of the swamp.”

Sliding doors, and in 2019 enter Dan Auerbach, guitarist with The Black Keys and a hugely successful producer of albums by artists such as Lana Del Rey, Dr. John, Ray LaMontagne and Yolo. Auerbach and White had met at a festival in Australia in 2009. White’s son, Jody, was friends with Auerbach and they had spoken about doing a record with his father that never happened. After White’s passing, Jody began digitizing his father’s demos, pulled nine songs and called Dan. Auerbach stepped in with a bunch of Nashville friends and session players, including drummer Gene Chrisman, keyboardist Bobby Wood, bassist Dave Roe, guitarist Marcus King, and fully realized and finished the now posthumous album “Smoke from the Chimney” due out on May 7 on Auerbach’s Easy Eye Sound label. The first single “Boot Money.” captures White’s  gritty, swampy sound and soulful groove along with Auerbach’s bluesy guitar playing. Auerbach describes the sound as “kind of like a snake slithering out of the swamp,” is new on this week’s playlist. Check it out and/or the animated video, which imagines Auerbach and White recording the song together in the studio. 

For fans of: J.J. Cale, Taj Mahal, Shemekia Copeland, The Arcs.

Moxyblossom: I’d Rather Be The Moon

When you’ve been around the music business as long as I have you meet a lot of people. Artists, managers, agents, publicists and record label folks come in and out of your life and sometimes back again. A couple of weeks ago, an industry friend David Andreone, who I had last spoken to in 2010 when we both worked at now-defunct music websites slipped into my email box with a reconnect hello and asking my opinion of this song. At the time there was no project name, just this info. In a nutshell, the song is a collaboration by Jacob Snider a composer/songwriter/producer who like every artist I know is developing a number of projects. They include one with Jim Fairchild of Grandaddy and another with Emma Koenig (Ezra of Vampire Weekend’s sister) and this song with Evelyn Cormier an actress and singer. As you can imagine I get a lot of music sent to me, and I just can’t listen to all of it, and it took a reminder for me to give the track a listen. I was delighted to report back that I liked it and would play it on my radio show, and so Moxyblossom was born and pushed out into the world. “I’d Rather Be The Moon” find’s Cormier’s tenor voice alongside Snider’s falsetto, trading lines about two people’s completely different experiences of a flamed-out relationship. The music is moody: plucked strings, keys, a simple stick beat, and a beautiful string arrangement. I’m more than a little intrigued to hear what comes next from these two. Give the song a digital whirl on this week’s playlist, and lemme know your thoughts.

For fans of: The XX, Broken Bells, Angus & Julia Stone

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Meet The Scientists, The Artists, Community Leaders, The Chefs, The Educators, The Investors and The Innovators Who are Spark.