BLUES WUNDERKIND AND FILM SOUNDTRACK DARLING RELEASES FIRST OF THREE VIDEOS DIRECTED BY MEMPHIS AUTEUR FILMMAKERS ALAN SPEARMAN, MIKE MCCARTHY AND CHRISTOPHER REYES
It’s surprising that there haven’t been more homegrown contemporary blues artists to spring forth into the mainstream from Memphis in the last decade. The city is home to Beale Street, The Blues Foundation, and The Blues Hall of Fame, plus a plethora of musicians from ZZ Top to John Mayer have dropped in temporarily to soak up the bluesy soul of the city over the years. But there has yet to be a breakout local star to cast a shining light on the mid-south’s oldest musical tradition. That could change with the release of Hex & Hell.
The album is a marriage of groove heavy blues and rock, a note-perfect juke joint soundtrack created with the help of some of Memphis’ finest players at one of Memphis’ best kept secrets, Music & Arts Studio, including Amy Lavere and Khari Wynn (Public Enemy) on bass, Adam Woodard (Harlan T. Bobo, Jack O., Star & Micey) on organ, Krista Wroten (The Memphis Dawls) on violin, Jana Misner (The Memphis Dawls) on cello, Suzy Hendrix on sax, and Daniel Farris (The Coach and Four) on drums.
Just as in most overnight success stories, this narrative is a long time in the making.
The Memphis-born Freeman, who has been called “a walking blues encyclopedia and folk/blues wizard,” has spent the last decade honing his skills playing solo and with the jug band-inspired Bluff City Backsliders along side current Sun Studio engineer Matt Ross-Spang. Freeman also wrote the score for MTV’s Savage Country and contributed tracks to the Brewer-directed and Academy Award-winning Hustle & Flow. Not to mention, Hex & Hell’s “Magic In My Home” was included in the remake of Footloose. In the last few years, Freeman has become masterful at coupling sight and sound.
Which brings us to the video for “Magic in My Home.” With an exclusive debut today on The Vinyl District and directed by Emmy award-winning director Alan Spearman, the mesmerizing clip alludes to traditional deep south mysticism featuring barren fields, a touch of voodoo and acclaimed “jook” dancer Lashonte Anderson. It is the first of three videos to be released for the album, each created by a local noted director and executive produced by Brewer.