Friday, January 15, 2010

The King and the Queen

In 2001, Jack White of the White Stripes dedicated his breakthrough album White Blood Cells to country singer Loretta Lynn. A few years later, he would convince the 69-year-old Lynn to make an album in which he would play bandleader and producer. The result was Van Lear Rose - a country music classic that showcased Lynn's obvious talent and gave credence to White as one of the more influential musicians in recent time. With the success of Van Lear Rose under his belt, it's hard not to get excited about his latest project in the making in which he plays producer and bandleader once again. The legend he will be working with this time around is none other than the "queen of rockabilly" herself - Wanda Jackson - who has been hailed as the "sweet, little lady with the nasty voice." I saw her a few years back at the Continental Club and, at 72-years-old, she still sounds great.

And as 2010 should be a big comeback year for Wanda Jackson, the same should hold true for the "king of psychedelic rock" and one of my musical heroes - Roky Erickson - as he will be teaming up with the band Okkervil River to record original music for a new album entitled True Love Cast Out All Evil due out this April. The songs on this album were selected from sixty unreleased Erickson songs. Okkervil River frontman, Will Sheff, had this to say about the new album:
[These tracks went] unreleased due to decades plagued by the kind of personal tragedies that would destroy someone less resilient. There were songs written during business setbacks including the Elevators' painful break-up, songs written by Roky while he was incarcerated at Rusk, and a great deal of songs that reminded me of the sense of optimism and romanticism that I think sustained Roky through his worst years and ultimately reunited him, a few years ago, with his son Jegar and his first wife Dana ... The quality of the material we ended up with was exhilarating.

If you want to know more about the musical icon that is Roky Erickson, you should check out You're Gonna Miss Me which is, in my opinion, one of the best musical documentaries around.

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