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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Al Basile Is "At Home Next Door" on New 2-CD Set Coming October 16 from Sweetspot Records

Al Basile Is At Home Next Door on New 2-CD Set of 1960s-Style Memphis Soul/Blues, Plus a Retrospective Compilation Disc Coming October 16 from Sweetspot Records

RUMFORD, RI – Singer/songwriter/cornetist Al Basile announces the October 16 release of At Home Next Door, a special two-CD set from the former member of the legendary Roomful of Blues that includes both an album of all-new songs done in a ‘60s Memphis style, as well as a 14-track retrospective of his earlier works on his own Sweetspot Records label. This is the ninth Duke Robillard-produced album from two-time Blues Music Award nominee Al Basile, and distribution for the new double set is by City Hall Records. The new release also comes during a watershed year for him, with the recent publication of a career retrospective book of poetry, A Lit House.
Disc one, titled At Home, includes 13 re-mastered blues songs from Al's Sweetspot catalogue (1998-2010) featuring Duke Robillard and the cream of New England blues talent, plus a new acoustic blues song with Al singing live to Duke's solo guitar accompaniment.
Disc two, titled Next Door, is comprised of 13 all-new original songs from the pen of Basile, whose style showcases both his poet’s talent as a wordsmith, as well as his film noir flair for storytelling. The new tracks display a 60s Memphis R&B flavor, with accompaniment from Duke Robillard, the Duke Robillard Band (Mark Teixeira – drums, Brad Hallen – bass), Roomful of Blues alumni horns (Doug James – baritone/tenor sax, Rich Lataille – alto/tenor sax, Carl Querfurth – trombone) and special guest Scott Hamilton on tenor sax.
“Great songwriting is in short supply, and, dare we say it, especially in the blues. You'll find no recycled mediocrity in the work of Al Basile,” wrote Michael Cote in Blues Revue. “Perfect for those who expect a little intelligence in their music, thanks to his reputation as a published poet,” said the Jazz & Blues Report. “If you want to hear swinging blues, this is the place,” reported Steve Jones in Crossroads Blues Society.

Al Basile has had a prolific career as a singer/songwriter/cornetist in blues and jazz circles; as a poet/playwright/fiction writer; and until a few years ago, as a teacher/coach at an independent school in his native Rhode Island. Al has focused more on reaching the public since leaving teaching, and his last four CDs placed in the top 15 on the Living Blues airplay charts in the months of their release. He has been nominated for two Blues Music Awards as best horn player in 2010 and 2012.

Al's reviews consistently comment on his strengths as a writer. He uses his lyrics to tell stories with universal appeal, bringing to the task his skills as a published poet but keeping the words strong, simple, and evocative. His ease and strength as a vocal storyteller continues to grow with each release, and his cornet playing is rich, nuanced, and succinct, informed by jazz but instantly communicative as an alternate voice. His songs are all lyrically and melodically deep, and the characters and situations are like compressed theater.

While Al kept his various artistic talents alive and growing throughout his 25 year teaching career, he has moved into the public eye quickly since leaving that profession. He's a model for his generation in showing how to have sequential careers, remain independent, and produce work that is both accessible and thought-provoking. His music sounds good – you can put it on while making dinner – but if you have time fore a careful listen – the deeper you look, the more you'll find.

“Blues – is it a form or a feeling? People who like to talk 8-12-16 bars and 1-4-5 chords will find plenty of blues on the first disc in this collection,” says Al Basile in the liner notes. “These songs of mine are drawn from my Sweetspot catalogue going back to 1998 and they stick pretty close to the form while covering different styles. I think they show that I’m At Home with the Blues.

“Those who aren’t sticklers about stylistic hybrids and different chord changes and song forms will find lots of blues feeling on the second disc, which is grounded in 60s Memphis soul-blues, but like most of my song collections has a mix of blues, soul, classic R&B, swing, gospel, and even a bow to Motown. I think these new songs show that I’m equally comfortable in the musical territory Next Door to the Blues.

“Personally I'm a blues-is-a-feeling guy, but you can make up your own mind, or even have it both ways. This is all music I loved writing, performing, and recording – I don't dye my hair, but my roots are showing.”

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