Even without her bold Texas hair Leslie Satcher is unmistakable.
The ever-delivering entertainer will release her latest full-length effort, Two Days In Muscle Shoals, on Friday, March 9, marking three firsts for a woman whose music is normally known for tearing out your heart or tearing the roof off a honkytonk with her songwriting and records.
“The one thing I wanted is for this to be a joyful, fun album,” says Satcher. “There are times when you want to put on a Sheryl Crow album and have fun. I’m a huge fan of Sheryl’s and I want people to put my record on when they want something for a Saturday afternoon.”
Her first release with a band, Leslie Satcher & The Electric Honey Badgers, led her to find that balance. Fine art classes led her to paint her first album cover during a trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, after the project was complete. Another first is for the 10-track project to be released as the singer-songwriter’s publishing company, Notting Hill Music, begins delivering country records from its Los Angeles and London outposts.
“I’m gambling on them just like they’re gambling on me,” says Satcher, who was signed to Warner Bros. Records nearly two decades ago. “Andy McQueen, the head of our [Notting Hill] label has always been a music innovator. They do a lot of worldwide digital releases and sync, encompassing rock, pop, hip-hop. Myself and Brown & Gray are their first forays into what might or might not be considered country—I’m probably gonna be Americana country or blues country, I’m not sure. We did get on the first round Grammy ballot under Best Country Duo or Band. It’s sort of confusing because at the end of the record there’s a gospel song which I think could get nominated for a Dove Award.”
Two Days In Muscle Shoals’ concept came when Notting Hill co-writer and producer Brad Crisler sat down to write the blues in the winter of 2017. Out of that session came “Deep Water Woman.”
“We only had half the album, and decided we wanted to record the songs, perhaps as demos,” says Satcher of the first session at the NuttHouse. “Brad said, ‘Let’s get out of our headspace and go to Muscle Shoals,’ cuz these [songs] are the blues—Texas blues. After we cut four sides we loved, we made a call back to Nashville for a specific configuration [of musicians]. It wound up being two days of recording.
“I didn’t re-sing anything. We brought in the Shoals Sisters (Marie Tomlinson Lewey & Cindy Walker) who have done backgrounds on all those great records. And I started calling friends Vince Gill and Sheryl Crow, who sang on the single, ‘This Won’t Take Long,’ Trisha Yearwood came in and sang on two songs, and my sister sang on one with me.”
The Honeybadger band brings star power too. In addition to being Bob Seger’s bandleader, Jim Moose Brown contributed writing credits on two sides and plays keys. Tommy Harden, who is out with Reba McEntire, contributes drums for Satcher. Americana artist James LeBlanc, who has a new album out of his own, plays lead guitar. Ex-Warner Bros./Curb artist Heidi Newfield plays harmonica, and not just harmonica but cross harp, self-taught from old blues records like Muddy Waters.
“Heidi got me listening to [those] older African American acts,” says Satcher of her inspiration. “I have a huge influence from Texas blues. These songs are sort of like if Bonnie Raitt and Stevie Ray Vaughan had a baby. One of my huge influences is Bekka Bramlett. At an estate sale I found a Bonnie & Delaney album, her parents, looking all hippie cool and bad to the bone in a foldout. I pinned it up in the studio for the second session and told the band, ‘We wanna do THAT!’”
In this new music, Satcher hopes fans will gain some healing, kick back and let it ride.
“There is a spiritual thread to this album,” says Satcher. “When people listen—let the songs get in their bones—they’ll find some healing. That’s my prayer.”
With Notting Hill, Satcher hopes her music will have the best chance to reach a global audience. She’s already booked in March for the Country2Country (C2C) CMA Songwriter’s Series in London and multiple shows surrounding that date.
“I think if we only write for ourselves in this little corner of the world, how can we relate to what’s happening in the world? And how can they relate to us if we don’t reach out with our music or go over there and meet/understand them in their world? That’s what I am most excited about with Notting Hill, to have the best shot at having my music exposed.
“We’ll start doing more shows with different configurations of the band from the album,” continues Satcher, who is in the process of signing with her first agent in years. “Some of the [bandmates] are out with other people. I really would like to play a lot more theaters.”
Most of all, Satcher hopes to take her strong determination and drive to the next level by staying true to her Texas roots.
“You know I have a bluesy style,” sums Satcher. “I’ve always had that. Even labels push their artists who have a bluesy stile towards me to write. But these songs were written solely for myself. This kind of music has always been imbedded in my songs/albums. It’s just this time I didn’t say, ‘I’m gonna write this and pitch it to Trisha Yearwood.’ I wrote it and asked her to come sing on it.”
Two Days In Muscle Shoals Track Listing
1.) “Run It Down South” featuring Trisha Yearwood (written by Leslie Satcher/Brad Crisler)
2.) “Listenin’ To The Blues” (written by Leslie Satcher/Jim “Moose” Brown
3.) “All God’s Creatures” (written by Leslie Satcher/Brad Crisler)
4.) “This Won’t Take Long” featuring Vince Gill & Sheryl Crow (written by Leslie Satcher/Brad Crisler/James LeBlanc)
5.) “Who I Belong To” featuring Trisha Yearwood (written by Leslie Satcher/Jim “Moose” Brown)
6.) “Chrome Halo” (written by Leslie Satcher)
7.) “Waitin’ On The Sun To Shine” (written by Leslie Satcher/Brad Crisler)
8.) “Deep Water Woman” (written by Leslie Satcher/Brad Crisler)
9.) “Nowhere To Be But Gone” (written by Leslie Satcher/Larry Shell/Larry Cordle)
10.) “Crown” featuring Jeannie Winn & Brad Crisler (written by Leslie Satcher)
The Electric Honeybadgers
James LeBlanc – guitars & vocals
Jim “Moose” Brown – Hammond B3 & Wurlitzer piano
David Hood – Bass guitar
Tommy Harden & Jon Davis – Drums
Heidi Newfield – Harmonica
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