Dr. John Talks to New York Times About "Locked Down"; Guardian Gives "Inspired" Album Five Stars: "Terrific Stuff"
Dr. John, who launched his three-week residency at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) last night, is the subject of a feature article in the New York Times that looks at his career and the unexpected turn it takes on his new album, Locked Down, produced by Dan Auerbach. They are featured in the Wall Street Journal, which says the "incendiary new album ... both harks back to [Dr. John]'s past and breaks new musical ground." Locked Down earns four stars from the Independent and the Times of London, which says Auerbach "has brought out the best in a true American original." The Guardian gives a perfect five stars to this "inspired" album: "[N]o one makes music like this: the Night Tripper rampages inimitably through swamp blues, voodoo funk and Afrobeat, with his trademark piano ... Terrific stuff."
Dr. John, who launched his three-week residency at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) last night with a tribute to Louis Armstrong, is the subject of a feature article in today's New York Times. Titled "Dr. John Revamped," the article takes a look at the BAM residency, the career of Dr. John—Mac Rebennak—and the unexpected turn it takes on his new album, Locked Down, out next week on Nonesuch Records. Rebennak and the album's producer, Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys, talk with the Times about this new direction for the legendary musician who had made a name for himself with the "psychedelic voodoo stage persona" of Dr. John.
"[A]t 71, when many musicians might be cashing in on nostalgia tours or eyeing retirement, Dr. John appears to be stepping outside of that persona, both personally and professionally," writes the New York Times' James C. McKinley Jr. "He has an ambitious new album, Locked Down, a collaboration with Dan Auerbach, the singer and guitarist from the popular blues-rock duo the Black Keys. And this weekend he begins a three-week residency at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, a series of nine concerts intended to celebrate his contribution to American music over six decades."
Auerbach discusses the goals he brought to the project, one of which, McKinley explains, "was to persuade Dr. John to let his mask slip and to create songs about Mac Rebennack, his real self." The articles also explores the Afro-pop and other flavors infused on the album and the musicians Auerbach brought into his Nashville studio to bring it all to life.
"The album is a departure for Dr. John, who on recent records has stuck close to the mix of New Orleans jazz, funk and soul that he has mined since the 1970s," writes McKinley. "But Locked Down sounds raw, with staccato songs set to urgent, turbulent grooves, their beats drawing as much from African pop music as from American R&B.
Read what Rebennak and Auerbach have to say in the feature article at nytimes.com.
Dr. John and Auerbach are also featured in articles in today's Washington Post and in the Wall Street Journal. The latter article, titled "Dr. John's Unlikely New Partner," looks at this latest turn in Dr. John's "much-laureled six-decade career," Locked Down, which the Journal's Steve Dougherty describes as "an incendiary new album" that "both harks back to Mr. Rebennack's past and breaks new musical ground." Read the article at wsj.com.
As noted yesterday in the Nonesuch Journal, Locked Down has already earned a number of rave reviews from both sides of the Atlantic, with Uncut naming the "hugely successful" and "enormously funky" record Album of the Month and Rolling Stone, MOJO, and the NY Daily News all giving it four stars. Now comes additional critical praise from the UK, where the Independent gives Locked Down four stars, and the Guardian rates it a perfect five out of five stars.
The album is "inspired," says the Guardian's Dave Simpson. "[N]o one makes music like this: the Night Tripper rampages inimitably through swamp blues, voodoo funk and Afrobeat, with his trademark piano ... It all powers along on tunes from his top drawer, from the instantly funky title track to the irresistible grooves of 'Ice Age' and redemptive soul of 'God's Sure Good.' Terrific stuff." Read the five-star review at guardian.co.uk.
The Times of London gives the album four stars. "On Locked Down Dr. John sticks resolutely to what he does best, his seductive growl framed by lurid tumpet blasts, soul guitar licks and seesawing organ runs," writes reviewer Will Hodgkinson. "Producer Dan Auerbach ... has brought out the best in a true American original.
To pre-order the album Locked Down on CD (out April 3) and vinyl (out April 21, Record Store Day), head to the Nonesuch Store, where pre-orders include an exclusive print of Dr. John and Auerbach plus MP3s of the complete album available release day.
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