A whole Blog post about an album release!!?? Well yeah, albums are a big deal around here, especially ones that have taken as long to finish as this one.. If you’re only gonna to be a blip on a newsfeed or forum might as well pack as much info in as you can. “JOY” is the third 7 song set by Rated Blue and was originally intended to be released in 2017 after our second “Turnabout” album.. “Turnabout” dealt largely with what was happening in the American 2016 Election and dealt with the (at the time) preposterous notion that Donald Trump was the front runner… what an uhm… err… ‘surprise’ when he became much more than that.. The unexpected inversion of reality in the Western world, a marriage ending and other factors contributed to a severe case of artistic apathy and a couple of completed songs for “JOY” sat and languished forgotten until recently when the Muse’s whispers once again could be heard and some new ideas took form. An added inspiration was the addition of a new friend and collaborator Dave Williams who appeared in our studio with the band of a good friend I was doing some paid work for. Dave is a retired music teacher and lifelong musician and was right at home with our Hammond L-100 organ and Leslie having taken the same rig on the road years ago. After their first session here Dave told me “hey, if you ever need someone to play Hammond on any recordings give me a call”, it was all I could do not to kiss him! Rated Blue is a guitar trio and I have always thought if we ever gained a collaborator they would need to be much more than a ‘keyboardist’ but someone who actually knew how to play Hammond as an instrument unto itself with the switches, drawbars and Leslie and all the good stuff that makes a Hammond a Hammond. For the universe to put that exact human being right into our obscure little studio in the middle of nowhere is nothing short of a miracle..
“JOY” collects songs new and old, some being written 20+ years ago that have been dabbled with and demoed but never properly recorded and released with a band (Mesmerized, Engine 18, Joy). In addition are songs that range from a couple of years old (Wrong Foot, Don’t Let Me Linger) to the newest being written within the past month or so (My Brother John, Chances Are) Although there is a cohesive theme underlying the selection of songs on JOY it is not as singularly focused as Turnabout was. Previously we’ve always tried to record and present songs as we would perform them live at shows but this time we let the songs dictate what they needed and as a result they are much more stylistically and sonically diverse than anything we’ve done yet. The extra texture of the Hammond in turn opened our ears to experimenting with more keyboard sounds and Vocal harmonies to complement the full wattage power-trio sound we have had from the beginning, the bare-knuckled baritone telecasters, Peter Cox’s “magic mortar” bass playing and Connor’s explosively precise drumming are still very much intact and the song arrangements have become a little longer and more adventurous as well so we’re kind of excited to push this baby out the door!
We are fortunate to have produced this album “DIY” with our own independent Studio and Label. We also have enjoyed the freedom of using our own Studio Operating System and a great combination of Open Source and Commercial Linux-based Audio software, the DAW we used is Ardour, an excellent project getting better all the time. The DIY aesthetic has long meant independence from large music labels and corporations but it is important for musicians to realize the creative tools you use can also be independent from large proprietary Software companies on the production side of things. The album is linked here to Soundcloud for free listening for anyone but releases will soon follow next week on Spotify, Google Play, Apple Music and all major streaming platforms, if you like what we’ve done and you subscribe to any of these streaming services please consider listening and following us on them to help us build more of an audience and earn a small return on our invested time and effort. We are aware of how many places there are for people’s attention to be divided in this day and age so we are very grateful to anyone for taking time to listen, critique or comment, it is very much appreciated!
Here is “JOY”
Now on Spotify (and all other major streaming services)..