A new album of never-before-heard Tony Joe White tunes, Smoke from the Chimney, is set to be released by Easy Eye Sound on May 7.
The nine-song project, produced by Dan Auerbach and rounded out by Nashville studio musicians, got its start as a number of raw voice and guitar demos from White’s home studio before being transformed into full band arrangements harkening back to the albums White recorded in the late ’60s and early ’70s in Nashville and Muscle Shoals.
A track from the project, “Boot Money” has been released along with an animated video from director Robert Schober which colorfully places White and Auerbach in the recording studio to kick off the tune before following along while White lives out the song’s storyline.
Among the musicians on the album are legendary keyboardist Bobby Wood (Elvis Presley, Dusty Springfield, Wilson Pickett), Nashville pedal steel ace Paul Franklin, next-generation guitar hero Marcus King, and Grammy and ACM award-winning fiddler Stuart Duncan, just to name a few.
Since meeting White backstage at an Australian music festival in 2009, Auerbach sought to make a record with him. For nearly a decade, White’s son Jody tried to line up session time for them but Tony Joe demurred. “For one reason or another, my Dad would never just want to go into a studio and write with somebody, or go work with somebody,” said Jody. “He liked to do it at his place, and his way, and it turned out how it turned out, you know what I mean? So, this album really all worked out perfectly. He was making these tracks for Dan all along, but we just didn’t know it.”
“Jody and I had been talking about this record for so long, and it didn’t happen for a reason,” said Auerbach. “It’s because it wasn’t supposed to happen. I was in a nervous cast of characters until the last few years, and if you’d given it to me any earlier, it wouldn’t have been right. I felt like all these people on the record were the right people and they laid in there behind Tony Joe. It felt really magical when we were making it happen. These songs feel like a collection to me and they all seem to work together, in a weird way, even though they’re so different. There’s some heartbreaking ballads and some really raunchy carnal blues. But it all works together like scenes of a movie.”
Smoke from the Chimney Track List:
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