Ladies and Gentlemen, we have reached the moment at which I don a top hat and threadbare carnival barker’s jacket and make myself hoarse in harassing the clientele, the passersby on the internet midway, singing relentlessly the praises of a writer and singer of unusual authority and spiritual dimension whose exciting new work is perhaps his greatest ever, etc. After some months of this sort of thing I will run around behind the tent, exchange top hat and jacket for denim and stetson, pour a stiff drink, and walk out under the footlights to become the attraction itself.
The new album BLOOD BROTHERS will be released June 22nd. The first single - 'Blood Brothers,' a song I wrote with Billy Conway - is out today and you can listen to it right now (it goes up on the streaming services Friday, so if you use Apple Music, Spotify, or Pandora, please go find the song, add it to a playlist, and share it around; I learned how to do this myself three weeks ago, and it's not that hard). Perhaps more important to me as a mortgage-holder, and the owner of two vehicles from the twentieth century, the Pledgemusic pre-order campaign for the album also starts today. What that means is you can pre-order the album right now, and have it before the release date.
BLOOD BROTHERS is my 6th solo record in 18 years on the road. We returned to Pachyderm Studio in Canon Falls, Minnesota, in the middle of a tour. Tape reels rolling, ghosts convened, everyone taking their meals together at the long table, laughing, working. To the band from Wolves we added old friend Eric Heywood on pedal steel, so that this time we have essentially both versions of my longtime road band in one room together: Bo Ramsey in your left speaker, Eric Heywood in your right, Billy and Moses top dead center. What is commonly referred to as an embarrassment of riches, one hundred and fifty years on the road between us. We left the blues out this time, and there's more light through the window.
What we came up with is reverie: the collision of love and time, the almost palpable sense of dislocation on waking from a strong dream, or the sharp stab of knowledge attached to the smell of woodsmoke, or perfume. Every one of these songs tells a story, but through a frame, like a portrait. My story, your story, either one. I invite you to hear them.
Did I mention the back-up singers? We are, by and large, married to them, or in some cases entangled. I’ll let the engineers in the audience work out the wiring diagram, but Kris Delmhorst sings, as does Pieta Brown, and Tift Merritt, and Laurie Sargent, and Kate Lorenz. If this band were to embark on the road all at once and together, we would have to call it ‘Company Picnic.’ My friend Kenneth Pattengale from the Milk Carton Kids plays a guitar duet with me on the song 'Pretty Hands' to close the album, though he is not married to any of us, so far.
BLOOD BROTHERS will be available everywhere music is sold on June 22nd. You can Pre-order it now on CD and vinyl to hear it early, and get access to other things, including: single premieres, weekly updates, original demo recordings, stories, and a variety of limited edition and hand-made items not available elsewhere. You can get one of the six vinyl album test-pressings, a page of coffee-stained and scarcely legible hand-written lyrics, or one of 30 or so beautiful ink pens made from the butt sections of split-cane bamboo fly rod blanks by my friend Jimmy Watts. Or, perhaps even a deck of playing cards bearing my likeness. ‘There are so many things to buy,’the poet sings.
In addition to those things we're making available two unreleased albums: JEFFREY FOUCAULT, LIVE IN PORTLAND (recorded at the Alberta Rose Theater in Portland, Oregon, 11/5/15, with Billy Conway on drums and Eric Heywood on pedal steel and electric guitar: a righteous outing, even without bass) and the original HORSE LATITUDES SOLO/ACOUSTIC DEMOS, featuring studio-quality solo recordings of the songs from that album, a few songs that didn't make it onto the album, and alternate versions of songs that did. These are not just downloads friends, but actual printed record albums in the compact disc format.
The AccessPass comes with any purchase and includes access to the digital download of the album, and to the various updates, track premieres, etc. By pre-ordering the album, and perhaps as importantly by sharing the campaign, you increase the chances that this album gets enough traction to keep us on the road, working. If I was trying to get famous I would have made other decisions in my life. I want to earn enough money to write songs, make records, tour behind them, and pay everyone I work with fairly, so we all make a living. That’s hard to do, and it's getting harder all the time.
I played a prison this week, surrendering my wallet and keys to a guard so I could pass through three sets of locked doors to stand on the free throw line in a gymnasium and sing to forty guys in metal folding chairs who wouldn’t get to go home after I left. If the proposition any given night is to try to make us all feel more human, and less lonely, then this was a particularly intense version of that transaction, and it brought home to me how lucky I am. My whole job is to tell the truth and make it rhyme. As Billy Conway likes to say, 'Beat that.'