Steve Azar Brings In B.B. King’s Backing Band For New Delta-Inspired Album

Steve Azar recruited a pretty impressive backing band for his latest album, Down At The Liquor Store, his first new release in five years. Azar recorded the new project, due out Aug. 11 on Ride Records, with The Kings Men, the group of top rate musicians who served as B.B. King’s backing band for years until his passing.

The project was recorded last Spring at Club Ebony in Indianola, B.B. King’s hometown, and Azar was the first artist to ever record a full-length studio album at the historic venue. The combination of Azar’s Delta-born songwriting approach and the band’s musical background and intuitive nature created a unique and soulful sound that isn’t country, specifically rock, or traditional blues, but something Azar terms “Delta Soul.”

The album’s title was derived from Azar’s experiences in his younger days helping his parents, descendants of Lebanese/Syrian immigrants, run the family business which served as a kind of community center for generations of Mississippians of all backgrounds and races.

“To have recorded an album with these monumental talents in this place that has meant so much to the greater Mississippi music community has been a true honor,” said Azar. “We all pitched in and made the most of the opportunity, and we just couldn’t be prouder of the result which, in a way, represents a microcosm of the special place we call the Delta.”

Down at the Liquor Store is accompanied by a full-length feature documentary Something In The Water. The film chronicles the making of the album and the trajectory of The Kings Men within the context of the Mississippi Delta’s worldwide musical influence. For Azar, the projects are yet another vehicle to spread the spirit and rich soul of the Delta region with the rest of the world. Mississippi is celebrating its Bicentennial this year and in connection with that, Steve has been appointed Music & Culture Ambassador of the State.

In 2013, he co-founded the Mighty Mississippi Music Festival with this year’s edition set for the weekend of September 29 – October 1 at Warfield Point in Greenville.

 Down at the Liquor Store Track Listing:
1. Rena Lara
2. Start To Wanderin’ My Way
3. Tender And Tough
4. Wake Me From The Dead
5. Down At The Liquor Store
6. She Just Rolls With Me
7. I Don’t Mind (Most Of The Time)
8. Chance I’ll Take
9. Over It All
10. Road Isn’t There Anymore
11. These Crossroads
12. Ode To Sonny Boy
13. Greenville


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Hollabaugh, a staff writer at MusicRow magazine, has written for publications including American Profile, CMA Close Up, Nashville Arts And Entertainment, The Boot and Country Weekly. She has a Broadcast Journalism and Speech Communication degree from Texas Christian University, (go Horned Frogs), and welcomes your feedback or story ideas at [email protected]

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