Title track, “Smoke from the Chimney,” from upcoming Tony Joe White album available today
Produced by Dan Auerbach from nine unreleased vocal/guitar demos; Smoke from the Chimney out May 7th via Easy Eye Sound
Video premiere and interview with Auerbach up now at gardenandgun.com
April 16, 2021 – Nashville, TN – Tony Joe White was one of the world’s finest painters. Okay, maybe not in the traditional sense, but the images he conjured with his lyrics have the originality and depth of anything hanging in the Louvre—albeit free of pretension and probably wearing alligator boots. In a few short brush strokes, listeners get a basic understanding of what he’s trying to say, but it’s not until the entire song is revealed that the intricacies of White’s songwriting and delivery garner the attention they deserve.
Today, Garden & Gun premiered “Smoke from the Chimney,” a slow-burning, nostalgic ballad from White’s upcoming posthumous release of the same name—a great example of his painting skills. In speaking with the record’s producer Dan Auerbach about the “treasure trove” album, Garden & Gun wrote that Tony Joe had “the kind of sound capable of converting casual listeners into superfans.” Auerbach echoed, “As soon as I heard ‘Rainy Night in Georgia’—I think I heard it at a record shop, Hymie’s, in Minneapolis—I just remember it blowing my mind. I bought the record and became an instant fan.” An accompanying music video for “Smoke from the Chimney” was directed by noted artist and designer El Oms who hand-painted each cell of animation. Fans can now watch the video right here and pre-order or pre-save Smoke from the Chimney from Easy Eye Sound ahead of its May 7th release at this link.
Smoke from the Chimney, a nine-song album of never-before-heard Tony Joe White tunes, will be released on May 7th on Auerbach’s Easy Eye Sound label. Produced by Auerbach and rounded out by Nashville’s most seasoned studio musicians, Smoke from the Chimney started out as a number of unadorned voice and guitar demos from White’s home studio before being transformed into full band arrangements harkening back to the albums he recorded in the late 60s and early 70s in Nashville and Muscle Shoals—just as he was emerging as an internationally recognized songwriter and recording artist.
In the last 10 to 15 years of his life, White would preserve new compositions or revisit older tracks in his home studio with only a guitar—usually his Fender Stratocaster—and that inimitable voice. After his father’s death in 2018, Jody White started transferring those multitrack home recordings to digital files. Looking back on the moment he unearthed the demo of “Smoke from the Chimney,” he recalls a mix of happiness, gratification, and shock. As he continued to find other songs that didn’t make an album, he moved the material into a separate folder. Within a year, those select recordings would evolve into Smoke from the Chimney.
“These songs feel like a collection to me and they all seem to work together, in a weird way, even though they’re so different,” says Auerbach. “There’s some heartbreaking ballads and some really raunchy carnal blues. But it all works together like scenes of a movie.” The cast of musical characters brought in by Auerbach to accompany White’s guitar and vocal recordings includes legendary keyboardist Bobby Wood (Elvis Presley, Dusty Springfield, Wilson Pickett), Nashville pedal steel ace Paul Franklin, next-generation guitar hero Marcus King, and Grammy and ACM award-winning fiddler Stuart Duncan, just to name a few. “These are the musicians who I would have hired if Tony Joe were here,” Auerbach told Garden & Gun. “They would have loved each other. Part of the reason this worked is because it was the right people.”
Jody believes that his father would love the way Smoke from the Chimney turned out. “I feel like it’s validation that Tony Joe was one of the greatest of all time,” he says. “That he could make something so potent, even so late in life, is something that not many people can do. I think it’s going to make people who loved him already love him even more.”
Smoke from the Chimney Tracklist:
Smoke from the Chimney
Boot Money
Del Rio, You’re Making Me Cry
Listen to Your Song
Over You
Scary Stories
Bubba Jones
Someone Is Crying
More About Tony Joe White: Across five decades as a performer and storyteller, Tony Joe White—a.k.a. “The Swamp Fox”—left an indelible mark on American music. His catalog offers indisputable classics such as “Polk Salad Annie” and “Rainy Night in Georgia,” and his songs have been recorded by Ray Charles, Kenny Chesney, Waylon Jennings, Tim McGraw, Willie Nelson, Elvis Presley, Dusty Springfield, and Tina Turner.
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