Eric Bibb announces new album “Dear America”
Eric Bibb has known many different Americas; The good the bad and the ugly. Born in New York in 1951, the love at first sight of the folk revival of the 60s remains so vivid in the memory of the 69-year-old that he can still remember the idealism of the night air of Greenwich Village and imagine Bob Dylan standing in his living room. Yet equally striking are the gloomy flashpoints in society last year, when protesters highlighted the open wound of race relations in the United States as a bitter presidential election drew lines of conflict. jagged battle.
Now, with the pain of recent events still hanging in the air, Bibb has announced his new album “Dear America,” released September 10 via Provogue Records / Mascot Label Group, with guest appearances from Ron Carter, Eric Gales, Shaneeka Simon, and more. Listen to the new song “Born Of A Woman” with Shaneeka Simon below.
Strongly literate and historically informed, Bibb is a citizen of the world whose motherland the United States – with all its pain and shame, hope and wonder – has bled into his art at every step since the 1972 debut album, “Ain’t It Grand,” heralded as a new force in blues, folk and whatever genre he was keen to descend on. The Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter may never have addressed the United States – or shed light on himself – with such focused eloquence as he does on “Dear America ”. “I say whatever I want to say to someone dear to me,” Bibb considers. “But it’s also a self-portrait.”
If you could call your country what would you say? When Bibb embarked on the title track that would galvanize the album “Dear America,” the songwriter found himself unwrapping a seven-decade relationship with an extreme drama partner. “It’s a love letter,” he explains of the basic concept of the record, “because America, for all its associations with pain and its bloody history, has always been a place of incredible hope and optimism. To be an American, and especially to come from New York, is to be blessed.
In November 2019, the band frontman hit Brooklyn Studio G to follow “Dear America” with producer / co-writer Glen Scott and a crack studio group. “It was sort of a series of cosmically orchestrated events,” he recalls. “I was so happy to record with Ron Carter, who I had an early connection with through my dad. Tommy Sims was all over the sessions, a wonderful bass player I worked with in Nashville before. I’ve played with a lot of great drummers, but Steve Jordan has this authority: it’s just the hit, man. As for Eric Gales on “The whole world has the blues“- he was just sublime, probably the most powerful electric blues player at the moment.”
Fate is a casual concept, but from his early years all the signs pointed Bibb towards a less ordinary life. His father, the late Leon Bibb, was the big bang that started it all: a charismatic singer, actor and ringleader, who paraded in Selma with Martin Luther King in ’65, moved into orbit. Bob Dylan and Paul Robeson (Eric’s Godfather), and brought home the ethic that art was more powerful when imbued with real life. “My father was the door to the world I live in,” nods Bibb, who picked up his first acoustic guitar at the age of seven and has never let go. “All this link between music and avant-garde social movements has always been at the base. I never “decided” that I was going to be a socially sharp songwriter. It was intrinsic. He must be there. I write what I see.
There are lighter songs on the tracklist, Bibb points out, pointing to the benevolent breath of the locomotive-themed “Talkin ” Bout A Train” or the gracious opener “Whole Lotta Lovin” “with his heartfelt salute to American roots music that put him in his path.
On the melancholy “Emmett’s Ghost,” Bibb looks back at the appalling murder of Emmett Till, whose incendiary lynching in 1955 galvanized the civil rights movement. “This song was written before the George Floyd affair,” he explains, “but it sounds like it has a special resonance right now.” Meanwhile, on Whole World’s Got The Blues, Bibb puts his ear to the ground to harness the street-level unrest in his homeland and beyond.
“This album is a love letter,” Bibb said again, “because all the woes of America, and the woes of the world, can only go into some kind of healing and balance with this energy that we call love. That’s my belief. You see young people now and it’s amazing, with the whole Black Lives Matter movement. All of these things let me know there’s a kind of reverberation of that 60s energy. . You can’t keep a good thing down. Now is this time of ‘watch and pray’, and it’s an incredibly inspiring time to write songs … “
“Dear America” by Eric Bibb
1. Whole Lotta Lovin ‘(feat. Ron Carter)
2. Born of a Woman (feat. Shaneeka Simon)
3. Whole World’s Got The Blues (feat. Eric Gales)
4. Dear America
5. A Different Image (feat. Chuck Campbell)
6. Do you say
7. The Ghost of Emmett (feat. Ron Carter)
8. White and black
9. On the way
10. Talkin ” Bout A Train Part 1 (feat. Billy Branch)
11. Talkin ” Bout A Train Part 2
12. The Kingdom of Love (feat. Tommy Sims & Glen Scott)
13. Oneness Of Love (feat. Lisa Mills)