Luther Badman Keith has pulled out all the stops for his new recording, “Blues Nation” (BMB Records). In his first new recording in seven years, Badman lays down a collection of self-penned, blues-infused tunes that draw from almost every element of America’s musical landscape, including blues, rock, soul and funk. There are hints of Motown flavor and Afro and Latin grooves and beats. You can hear influences ranging from Carlos Santana to Luther Allison and Chuck Berry.
“Blues is at the center of everything I do in music, but blues is a lot like hot sauce -- you can put it on almost anything and it’s gonna taste better,” Keith said in a release. “That’s why you are going to find some good old-fashioned blues songs and some songs that use the blues to rise to a whole new level.”
His back-up band on “Blues Nation” is superb. In addition to Keith on vocals and guitar, the group includes Keith Owens on rhythm guitar, Jim David on keyboards, Darryl Lee on bass and Milton “Heavyfoot” Austin on drums. The horn section features Mark Croft (trumpet) and Billy Furman (saxophone, harmonica), and percussionist Mike Racette adds Latin flavors.
The Badman has also assembled an impressive list of guest artists, including multiple Detroit Music Award winner Paul Miles (who interacts with Keith on the rousing “Talking Old Bluesmen”), Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members The Original Vandellas (Rosalind Holmes and Annette Helton), and background vocalists Jaki G and Champagne Page. One song, “Nose Wide Open,” was recorded live at the now defunct Memphis Smoke nightclub and features the late James Payton on saxophone.
On the title track, “Blues Nation,” Keith takes the listeners on a sonic journey across the United States.
“When you think about it, we are, in fact a blues nation, from Atlantic to Pacific and even beyond,” Keith said. “We wanted to capture that spirit in the song. It’s a song for blues lovers and people who love any kind of American music.”
Keith will celebrate the release of “Blues Nation” at several upcoming events, including shows at 8 and 10:30 p.m. on Saturday (Jan. 15) at historic Baker’s Keyboard Lounge, 20511 Livernois in Detroit (313-345-6300), $5 cover; Jan. 21 at Nancy Whiskey’s, 2644 Harrison in Detroit; and Jan. 29 and Feb. 4 at Buffalo Wild Wings, 280 W. Nine Mile Road in Ferndale as part of the Ferndale Blues Festival.
OK, now stand, put your right hand over your heart, remove your hat and join in:
“I pledge allegiance to the United States of the blues. One nation, under a I-IV-V groove, with funk and freedom for all.”
For more on “Blues Nation,” click www.badmanbluz.com.
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