New Press Release
Mark Pucci Media
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 10, 2022
Contact: Mark Pucci (770) 804-9555 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Seven-Time Blues Music Award-Winner Rory Block Set to Release Her New Album,
Ain’t Nobody Worried, October 7th from Stony Plain Records
TORONTO, ON – In a storied career of many accolades and firsts, celebrated seven-time Blues Music Award-winner Rory Block will release perhaps her most-ambitious album yet, with Ain’t Nobody Worried, coming October 7th on Stony Plain Records.
As the third volume of her “Power Women of the Blues Series,” Ain’t Nobody Worried follows the logical course of its predecessors. Produced by Rory Block and Rob Davis for Aurora Productions, Ain’t Nobody Worried was recorded and mixed by Rob Davis at Kentucky Studios, Sandy Hook, Kentucky; and mastered by Toby Mountain of Northeastern Digital. Rory Block sang all the vocals, played all the guitar parts, slide, bass and percussion.
“The inspiration for this recording was born during the dreaded shut downs,” recalls Rory Block about the album’s genesis. “Being quarantined led us to the idea of Home Broadcasts, which soon blossomed into two concerts per week over two years with an incredible following of viewers from around the world. We were all hungry for togetherness and music, and found ourselves clinging to the idea that some form of normalcy still existed, somewhere, almost certainly in music. After covering just about every blues, folk and Old Timey song I ever knew, the idea popped into my head to reach into the iconic songbook of the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s. That meant music that was on the radio over 50 years ago. In its own right it could be called historic, early American music. Viewer requests for their own favorites strengthened and expanded this idea, turning the concerts into a major potpourri of material. It was challenging, satisfying, and inspiring. The consensus was that it was time to hear these incredible songs again.
“While it was challenging, and I never had enough time to really learn the songs properly, no one minded or expected my acoustic versions to be replicas of the originals. We wanted to remember, celebrate and cling to the emotions and memories these great songs embodied. We wanted to sing along. We wanted it to be a sentimental journey with an unexpected twist. That’s what this record is all about.
“I started referring to it as ‘The Campfire Sessions.’ That meant ‘Hey, pass me the guitar... lemme try that one!’ I was the person saying pass me the guitar- and that was just alright with everyone.
“In keeping with my latest ongoing project, ‘Power Women of the Blues,’ and inspired by the enthusiasm generated by the Home Concerts, I chose hit songs performed or written by female artists whose music changed the world. I could do multiple volumes easily as there are, as always, just too many great songs to choose from.
“There will be those who will question why I would decide to do songs by legends such as Gladys Knight, Mavis Staples, Mary Wells and others. Why attempt to resurrect such untouchable greatness? I suppose the answer is the same reason I dare to do Robert Johnson, Bessie Smith and other early blues legends. I do not do these songs to create a better version than the original. Those versions are enshrined in the halls of Musical Heaven. I do these songs because I play the music I love the most. Creating new versions honors the original artists. And, as I learned during the Home Concerts, it’s time we thought about these amazing songs again.”
Ain’t Nobody Worried Track Listing and Comments by Rory
1. I’ll Take You There
The Staple Singers (featuring Mavis Staples)
Not much explanation needed. This is one of the all-time great and powerful crossover gospel songs with an immense rhythm track, graced by the matchless voice of Mavis Staples. Mavis proved that gospel is a force in pop music. “I’ll Take You There” was the first track we recorded and is the first track on this CD. It just felt right.
2. Midnight Train To Georgia
Gladys Knight and The Pips
Who can say “Midnight Train to Georgia” wasn’t one of the most soulful songs of its time, and who didn’t try to learn to sing listening to Gladys Knight’s superlative rich vocals? Who didn’t try to learn backup vocals and dance moves from the Pips? This song was a must-do, and the second track we recorded.
3. My Guy
Mary Wells nailed this perfectly-crafted song by Smokey Robinson, giving it passion, charm, and a wry sense of humor. I recorded it in the same key as the original, but then was dismayed to find my natural vocal range was deeper, so I thought about slowing the track or re-recording it. In the end, I sang it in a somewhat jazzy head voice and went with it. I could have given it a bit of growl in a deeper key, but maybe it didn’t need growl. After all, it is a spirited and fun song, and I had a great time singing, especially on the outro.
4. Fast Car
Remember when this song came on the radio and blew our minds? It was a trendsetter, with a stereotype busting, cutting edge approach that was almost unheard of at the time. It was, however, (if I can pat myself on the back), an idea I had always cherished - taking an acoustic song and suddenly applying an earth shaking drum track when least expected, taking the song, with its emotionally honest and arresting story, to another level altogether. Tracy was one of the first to really turn this approach into pure gold.
5. I Cried Like A Baby
I met Koko Taylor on the road in Germany. I opened for her and her tighter-than-ever band for several shows on that tour, including a TV show that ended up as a laser disk (remember those)? She dubbed me “Little Miss Dynamite,” a name I deeply appreciate and cherish. No one could nail the power of a sexy full-out blues wail like Koko. On the outro, I ad lib one of my conversations with her, including her worldly wisdom and advice.
6. Love Has No Pride
Greenwich Village in the ‘60s was a hotbed of immense musical talent, with the likes of Bob Dylan living just two doors away from The Allan Block sandal shop, Joan Baez performing in local venues, Bonnie Raitt making waves with her heart wrenching blues, and the list goes on and on. My first boyfriend, Stefan Grossman, was friends with many of the pivotal players in the burgeoning scene. One of his good friends was a great songwriter and musician named Eric Kaz, who, together with Libby Titus, wrote ”Love Has No Pride.” We always thought it was the best song ever written, performed by Bonnie, the best singer on earth.
7. I’d Rather Go Blind
This song led the way for the concept of this recording, establishing the theme celebrating great women of song. I just kept saying, “I can’t wait to sing ‘I’d Rather Go Blind.’” This song is one of the most haunting and moving portrayals of heartbreak ever written, sung by the amazingly gutsy blues voice of a woman who meant every word she sang. Etta, we got the tissues out.
8. Lovin’ Whiskey
This is the song I thought no one would care about. This is the song that got me on an airplane. This is the song that launched my career. This is the song I didn’t want to put on the record. This is the song that earned me a gold record and has remained my most popular and requested song for over 3 decades. I have heard repeatedly that it’s because it’s about the hidden struggles of the heart, and knowing we are not alone. More people say that it helped them through the hardest times of their lives than any other I have written. Murphy’s Law, you never know. Oh yes, great guitar player Bud Rizzo played the original heart-wrenching solo. I decided to follow it note for note, for better or worse, on my acoustic version. I also stuck with the original drum pattern that I somehow constructed on one of the first drum machines ever invented. It made no sense in that it wrapped around so the “one” beat was in a different place every verse, but it somehow worked… and you know, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
9. Dancing In The Streets
Martha and The Vandellas
Great song, great performance from Martha and her Vandellas, great groove, solid gold, what’s not to love? Had to do this one for the pure joy of it.
10. You’ve Got A Friend
This song came on the radio in one of the hardest periods of my life. Waking me from a deep sleep in a state of despair, hearing the vulnerable and unpretentious voice of Carole King made me sit up straight in bed and say “Maybe I can do this!” It was a life changing moment. She was the voice of every woman.
11. Freight Train
This could be the most influential guitar style ever created. Libba Cotton once was Nanny to the Seeger children, until she was overheard sitting in another room singing this haunting tune. I celebrate her, not because this song became gold, but because in the most unassuming way, quietly and without a lot of fanfare, her guitar picking became one of the most influential guitar styles of all times.
"I do these songs because I play the music I love the most." -- Rory Block
Previous CD Press Release January 2019
Mark Pucci Media
January 27, 2019
Contact: Mark Pucci (770) 804-9555 / email@example.com
Rory Block Announces Second Release of Her “Power Women of the Blues” Series with
Prove It on Me, Coming March 27 from
Stony Plain Records
TORONTO, ON – Six-time Blues Music Award-winner (including the 2019 award for the “Acoustic Artist of The Year”) Rory Block announces the release of the second installment in her “Power Women of the Blues” album series with Prove It on Me, coming March 27 on Stony Plain Records. It follows the critically-acclaimed 2018 release of her first CD in the series, a tribute to the legendary Bessie Smith titled A Woman’s Soul.
Pre-order Prove It on Me & Listen here: https://smarturl.it/proveitonme
Rory was recently nominated for another Blues Music Award - “Traditional Female Blues Artist” (AKA – The Koko Taylor Award) - for the upcoming BMAs in Memphis in May. “I am incredibly honored to be nominated for ‘The Koko Taylor Award,’” she said upon hearing the news. “I met Koko in Germany years ago when I opened for her. We crossed paths again at various times on the road, where she began to introduce me as “Little Miss Dynamite.’ It means the world to me to be nominated in a category that honors her memory and her incomparable, historic legacy. I feel as if she is not gone but remains among us- supporting, encouraging, and cheering on the next generation of blues women.”
“Power Women of the Blues” is a project that had been simmering in her imagination for 54 years Rory told the media upon the Bessie Smith album’s release. “It has been my longstanding mission to identify, celebrate and honor the early founders—men and women—of the blues. This series is dedicated to the music of some of my all-time favorite iconic female blues artists, many of whom were shrouded in mystery during the sixties blues revival, while the recordings of others had simply disappeared.
“I also want to mention that the direction of my career essentially took on a new focus when I decided to begin the ‘lifetime retrospective’ projects, starting with ‘The Mentor Series’ (6 CDs specifically celebrating the rediscovered blues masters I met in person as a teenager). Now ‘Power Women of the Blues’ is the newest series of tributes dedicated to great founding women of the blues. The reason these tribute series are particularly relevant to Stony Plain Records is because they have all of them on their label, and that's a project exclusive to Stony Plain. I signed with them and started with the Son House tribute, and so on to the current series.”
Prove It on Me is an important step forward for Rory Block. On it she finds a new more mature voice uniquely her own while paying homage to some of the groundbreaking blues women of a bygone era.
“With this new recording I decided to celebrate some of the great female artists who were not as well-known as Bessie Smith (with the obvious exception of Ma Rainey and Memphis Minnie). Women of that era were certainly not given support to leave home, children and families to hop a freight train and go from bar to bar,” Rory explains. “Society really would have frowned utterly on that, and women knew it. They didn’t have permission to go out there as much as men did. Their recorded material might have been left in the back of an archive somewhere, and perhaps not widely promoted as a result. Some of their recordings probably got swept under some rug somewhere, and many great women artists essentially disappeared. Still other voices did make it through, people like Big Mama Thornton, Rosetta Tharpe, Sippie Wallace, and some of the women who sang jazz like Ella Fitzgerald, and also gospel, like Mahalia Jackson. Knowing the above, my goal with Prove It on Me was to bring to light some of these great talents who for whatever reason did not become as famous.”
On Prove It on Me she erases the decades, breathing fresh life into Ma Rainey’s version of the title cut and Memphis Minnie’s “In My Girlish Days” interjecting them with both a sass and sensibility in a clarion call torn from today’s headlines. Plus, she introduces us to some women who got lost in the rewriting of a musical history that figuratively buried some of the best female singers of the ’20s and ’30s with “He May Be Your Man” by Helen Humes, who replaced Billie Holiday in the Count Basie Orchestra in 1938; the attitude dripping “If You’re A Viper” originally released by a Chicago singer known as The Viper Girl Rosetta Howard; and “I Shall Wear A Crown” by blind gospel singer Arizona Dranes.
Prove It on Me also includes the original song, “Eagles,” that has a very special, personal meaning to Rory. “The words to ‘Eagles’ are directly from my life, with one single line for someone else as mentioned in the liner notes,” she confesses. “My book addresses my childhood- but even then I did not detail things in full and left many things unsaid. Just didn't feel necessary or a good idea at that point.”
The Blues Foundation has said of Rory: “Today she is widely regarded as the top female interpreter and authority on traditional country blues worldwide." And Rolling Stone magazine credited her with recording “some of the most singular and affecting Country Blues anyone, man or woman, black or white, old or young, has cut in recent years.”
In a career that has thus far produced 36 albums and numerous world tours, Rory Block's fabled odyssey finds her at the absolute height of her talents, and at the top of the touring world as the premier voice of today’s acoustic blues guitar, renewing the promise of long forgotten blues women of the past and adding new energy that’s a piece of her heart. “My husband, Rob and I, we talk about it a lot,” she admits. “We jump into the car every day and listen to whatever we just recorded. That’s what gives us energy. That’s what gives us purpose. I think to myself if I’m ever not recording, there’s going to be some kind of dropout to my life. There’s going to be some kind of void. I always have to be surrounded with music to feel the energy I need to live. I mean, its energy, its spirituality. I live and breathe music.”
For more information, please contact:
U.S.: Mark Pucci Media (770) 804-9555 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Elsewhere: Eric Alper 647-971-3742; Eric@ThatEricAlper.com