Thursday, February 27, 2014
– Dave and Phil Alvin are joining forces for a new album.
The brothers, who have had an at times difficult relationship, announced they would release "Common Ground: Dave Alvin + Phil Alvin Play and Sing the Songs of Big Bill Broonzy" on June 3 on Yep Roc. This will be the first album the brothers, who were the mainstays of The Blasters, have made together in almost 30 years.
"We argue sometimes, but we never argue about Big Bill Broonzy," says Dave Alvin when explaining why he and Phil were inspired to record "Common Ground." The Alvin brothers, who founded seminal early LA punk roots band The Blasters in 1979, have shared an interest in Broonzy since childhood. After an illness nearly took Phil's life in 2012, they resolved to return to the studio and pay tribute to the blues legend.
The disc includes 12 songs that capture a 30-year cross section of Broonzy's work, performed by the Alvins' in a roots and stomping country blues style.
"He looked so slick," says Phil about the cover of his first Broonzy album, which he purchased in a department store at age 12.
Dave agrees, "I remember the day Phil brought that record home. It's a strong childhood memory - like stealing a Playboy for the first time."
The Alvins' interpretations of Big Bill range from faithful to loose and Dave and Phil both play guitar and sing. They are joined on some tracks by Dave's band members Lisa Pankratz (drums) and Brad Fordham (bass) as well as The Blasters' pianist Gene Taylor. Other tracks feature noted session musicians Bob Glaub (bass) and Don Heffington (drums). All tracks were recorded at Winslow Court Studios in Los Angeles.
Though this is their first album together in decades, the Alvin brothers collaborated last year on "Ghost Brothers of Darkland County," the southern gothic supernatural musical by Stephen King, John Mellencamp and T Bone Burnett. They also sang a duet on "What's Up With Your Brother" for Dave's last Yep Roc release "Eleven/Eleven."
Brothers Alvin will tour extensively in 2014, including dates with the Roots on Rails series in April. A Record Store Day exclusive release of four songs from "Common Ground" cut at 45 RPM on two 10-inch records packaged as a 78-style album book will also be available via Yep Roc on April 19.
1. All By Myself
2. I Feel So Good
3. How You Want It Done
4. Southern Flood Blues
5. Big Bill Blues
6. Key To The Highway
8. Just A Dream
9. You've Changed
10. Stuff They Call Money
11. Trucking Little Woman
12. Saturday Night Rub