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“From the Reach” is here!
The week of May 19 marks the first simultaneous worldwide release of a Sonny Landreth album, and you can pick up a copy here now! “From the Reach” will be available all at once in North America, Europe, Japan and Australia, and it’s Sonny’s first disc on his own imprint, Landfall Records.
The new album features guest appearances from a number of especially noteworthy friends: Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, Vince Gill, Eric Johnson, Robben Ford, Dr. John, Jimmy Buffett and Nadirah Shakoor. Longtime collaborator Dave Ranson is again on bass, Mike Burch is on drums, and friends Steve Conn and Sam Broussard are featured on keys and acoustic guitar, respectively. The new disc can also be purchased electronically from iTunes and other digital media outlets.
“It’s the classic dream come true,” Sonny says of the all-star affair. “I wrote these songs with these guests in mind, as a tribute to their influence on me. Inviting them to come aboard led us down some amazing paths.” The album’s been in the works for the better part of a year, though a couple of tunes have longer lineages: the riff from “The Goin’ On” dates back to Sonny’s first stint with John Hiatt and was written years later with Wendy Waldman during pre-production for “Levee Town;” and “Howlin’ Moon” came together during demo sessions for “The Road We’re On.”
“From the Reach” also features Jack Spencer’s photography and graphic design by Grammy nominee Megan Barra. “Megan’s work has been inspirational and very much a part of the music itself. I’ll always embrace the LP concept with the music and artwork going hand in hand,” Sonny says. “And my old friend Jack Spencer’s incredible imagery projects the essence of what this album is about.”
The disc’s title, Landreth notes, pulls in many meanings. “When I write, I try to surrender to the flow of it all and see what bubbles to the top. This time around, the word reach kept coming up. In addition to its obvious meaning, it can relate to an expanse – a reach of sky, desert, water, or in particular a channel or body of water. Also, it can refer to the direction of the wind in nautical terms, so Megan utilized waterway maps in the package design. I felt like that all really fit well thematically with the album. For me, the title is the connecting thread in terms of the writing process and the project as a whole. I reached out to all these great artists and what you hear on this disc is what came back.”
“The band was impeccable,” Sonny adds. “Though we’ve recorded before, this time Dave and Mike were involved in every step of my writing process. I wrote the songs specifically for each artist in hopes of catching their vibe and their magic, and together the three of us tested the songs live in various venues.”
Catch ’em live
In April, Sonny and the band bypassed the airports and boarded a tour bus for the first time in years, crisscrossing New England and the Midwest, winding up at Houston’s International Festival before playing even closer to home. The band then played numerous shows at and around Lafayette’s Festival International de Louisiane and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. At Jazz Fest, Sonny also joined Jimmy Buffett and fellow “From the Reach” guest Nadirah Shakoor onstage for several tunes including Sonny’s “U.S.S. Zydecoldsmobile.”
Also at the Fairgrounds, Sonny joined C.J. Chenier, Stanley “Buckwheat” Dural, Jr., Paul “Lil’ Buck” Sinegal, Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes and a number of other legendary artists in a tribute to C.J.’s dad, late great Zydeco pioneer Clifton Chenier. “Playing acoustically in the trailer backstage before the set with C.J. on accordion and David Dopsie on rubboard, it felt like a real coming home weekend for me,” Sonny says.
And that’s not all: Late Saturday night in New Orleans Sonny also joined Warren Haynes and Gov’t Mule onstage for an Albert King tune as part of the band’s fifth anniversary celebration of “The Deepest End.”
Sonny and the band have many more live dates planned in support of the new disc; please check our Tour Dates section for the latest.
And the Guitar Player readers have selected …
… Sonny Landreth as Best Slide Guitarist! The May issue of the venerable publication unveiled the winners of its 2008 Readers’ Choice Awards. “This is a real honor and a surprise,” Sonny says, “and this means a lot to me because I’ve been a fan of the magazine forever.”
In fact, Sonny and the band had a lot of fun headlining a “Guitar Player Presents” show at New Orleans’ Mid City Lanes’ Rock ’N’ Bowl during Jazz Fest. The show was organized by Jimmy Leslie and also featured fellow hometown artists Roddie Romero & The Hub City All Stars. Plans for a possible second edition are in the works.
Thanks as always for your support, and please spread the word about SonnyLandreth.com and SlideLines.