Song notes from Raise The Roof.... We'll get right to the question everyone has been asking.... "How was it to work with Dr. John (a.k.a Mac Rebennak) on Blues Across America?" A friend of mine in Los Angeles contacted Mac and asked if he would be willing to sing with an artist that he didn't know who was not on a major label . Obviously he said, "I'll need to hear the song". Three weeks went by and I assumed I would need to go to my second choice (unnamed), when the phone rang. This deep, gravelly voice drawled out, "Is diiis Tooommm?" I said yes and he simply replied, "Dis is Dawkta Jawen... Let's do dis toone..."
We agreed to record after his show at the One World Theater in Austin on September 16, 2001. Little did we know at the time what that tragic week would bring. When September 11 hit, after the shock wore off, I realized that this would not happen since all entertainment events were cancelled across the country for at least a week. I called his management firm (in New York City) on the 13th, and they said that his tour would resume in Austin and he was still planning on recording with me after the show.
I can only say that Dr. John is an angel. He was so very gracious and humble. He worked his tail off, singing over and over until 5:00 in the morning, to make sure that it was right. When we were finished he asked me to listen closely one more time. The he said, "If it's not exactly what you want, we keep going..." What a great memory and what a wonderful person. I remember my last vision of him slowly shuffling into the Austin Omni Hotel with his cane at 5:30 in the morning...
James Govan is one of my favorite singers in the world. You can (and should) see him at Rum Street Boogie, on Beale Street in Memphis, where he has headed up the house band for many years. When I walked into the club about 8 years ago, I was just floored. His voice is the one that inspired me to write Blues Across America and I was fortunate enough to get him to perform with me. He epitomizes blues, R&B, and soul.
Answers to a couple of other questions
How and where did we record the intro and exit to Raise The Roof? The answer
our secret. Was that me introducing myself??? Of course not! It was a wonderful person with a vibrant, distinctive voice that I have the pleasure of seeing every day. Jimmy Bumper our mailman. We call him "Bumpy".
One of the benefits of co-writing with great songwriters in Nashville is teaming up with a writer that turns out to be a world class musician as well, like John Hobbs. Hes played on dozens of #1 country and pop hits. He perfomed the amazing piano solo on Chulatown as well as the piano on That Boy. What a great guy and what an amazing talent!
Adrian took over almost all the other keyboard assignments on this CD. He played all the Hammond organ parts. You would think hed been playing Hammond all his life. He picked it up four years ago
Song notes from Lost in the Land of Texico....
Wayne Toups first caught my eye (and ears) at the New Orleans Jazz Fest in the early 90's. His aggresive pop spin on traditional Cajun was what I really needed to bring Do Bea's Dance to life. He tore it up at the session in Baton Rouge
My long-time friend, band member and session player, Pat Coil, was my first thought to play the southern honky-tonk style piano in Get Out of Austin. A trip to his new home in Nashville to record him proved my gut instincts were right...
The first song, "When You Call Upon The Heart," was written as an anthem for the Sam Shepard screenplay, Curse Of The Starving Class, which became a Showtime cult classic. I wrote the song with Patrick Henderson, a gospel writer in Washington D.C. To meet the typically tight movie deadline, we wrote and recorded the song and sent it to the film studio in less than two days. The director called and asked if I had a "road-house song" as well; I sent them "Lost in the Land of Texico" and they used it too.
Dolby Laboratories began mixing music in 5.1 Surround in 1998 and decided to assemble a 5.1 Sampler of songs to demonstrate the technology. When Dolby heard "Lost in The Land of Texico" they selected it to go on that CD. Dolby's second CD sampler release includes "River On The Rise." The last song on the CD, "Sign Of Love," is featured in the Showtime original movie Annie-O.