Black Joe Lewis has the ability to transport listeners to a different space and time in reality. The first time I saw a performance, I went from being a middle-aged woman in the year 2009 to a teenager in the ‘50s who snuck out, and was peeking into the window of a juke joint witnessing “the devil’s music”; I have been a huge fan ever since.
Lewis combines the best musical influences and styles from the last six decades and cranks out a bluesy, jazzy, funky, punchy soul sound that, when added together, equals pure rock and roll.
Electric Slave (out August 27 on Vagrant Records) is dotted with inspiration from some of music’s greats. The song “Young Girls” has a distinct New York Dolls vibe. My favorite track, “My Blood Ain’t Runnin’ Right,” is the song that Lou Reed wishes he recorded in 1973. “Vampire” has kitschy ‘50s feel that summons the ghost of Lux Interior. “Guilty” makes Rob Tyner not roll over in his grave, but shimmy, shake and smile. Do not mistake anything on Electric Slave as copycat of other artists; these songs are simply the product of people with amazing tastes in music.
I like all things Black Joe Lewis including the harder, dirtier turn he takes on the new EP. The whole album sounds fuzzed out, which produces an effect that makes Lewis’s amazing vocals sound better. Hearing a perfect album is a rarity, and Electric Slave is a perfect album without a weak song on it.
Electric Slave pays homage to a non-digital era. It sounds like it was made using vintage gear and recorded on analog equipment. If you close your eyes, you can imagine that you are sitting in on a jam session. When I played the EP for my husband, he had just come home from a long day at work and he reluctantly agreed to listen to one song before going to bed. I played him “Vampire” knowing that he would love it, and seven songs later he was wide-awake playing air drums and proclaiming, “This is the best album I’ve heard in years!”
Download the album and pre-order it now. I am going to make it a required listening for all my friends. Black Joe Lewis will be performing at Terminal West September 8.
Most of Electric Slave was produced by GRAMMY award winner Stuart Sikes (White Stripes, Cat Power, Modest Mouse) and recorded at Church House Studios in Austin, Texas. Three of the new tracks (“Skulldiggin,” “Dar Es Salaam,” “My Blood Ain’t Runnin’ Right”) were recorded and produced by John Congleton (Explosions in the Sky, St. Vincent, Okkervil River) at Elmwood Studios in Dallas.
The band will tour supporting Electric Slave beginning in September, playing a number of shows along the east coast including a show at New York’s Terminal 5 on September 26. For complete itinerary, please see below.
2. Young Girls
3. Dar es Salaam
4. My Blood Ain’t Runnin’ Right
6. Come To My Party
8. Make Dat Money
9. The Hipster
11. Mammas Queen
BLACK JOE LEWIS ON TOUR
July 14 Sun Cincinnati, OH “Bunbury Music Fest”
Sept 7 Nashville, TN @ Mercy
Sept 8 Atlanta, GA @ Terminal West
Sept 9 Charleston, SC @ Pour House
Sept 10 Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle
Sept 12 Boston, MA @ Royale
Sept 13 Portland, ME @ Port City Music Hall
Sept 14 Fredricton, NB @ Harvest Blues Festival
Sept 15 Halifax, NS @ Seahorse Tavern
Sept 18 Montreal, QC @ La Sala
Sept 19 Toronto, ON @ Lee’s %
Sept 20 Ithaca, NY @ The Haunt %
Sept 22 Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer %
Sept 24 Providence, RI @ Fete Lounge
Sept 25 Hamden, CT @ Spaceland Ballroom %
Sept 26 New York, NY @ Terminal 5 #
Sept 28 Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop %
Sept 30 Milwaukee, WI @ Turner %
Oct 1 Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue %
Oct 2 Lincoln, NE @ Bourban Theatre %
Oct 3 Norman, OK @ Univ of Oklahoma %
% = w/ Pickwick
# = w/ Okkervil River, Pickwick