If you hear the name The Kentucky Headhunters, and your mind goes to songs like “Walk Softly on This Heart of Mine,” “Dumas Walker,” and “Oh Lonesome Me,” then you just might need to rethink what The Kentucky Headhunters are all about. The last article we posted about this group was back in October 2014, when they released the album, “Pickin’ On Nashville”. We said in that article that they were a ‘hybrid of Country, Southern Rock and Blues”. And now – they are really putting that blues in the forefront! With the help of Johnnie Johnson, the new album is real blues music!
Alligator Records will release the new album, “Meet Me in Bluesland”, on June 2, 2015. Get ready for it! All of Country’s Chatter readers know me. They know I’ve been around country music for a long, long time – and they know what I like listening to. I’m a classic (traditional) country music fan. And, while I’ve learned to broaden my listening range through the years – now letting in some of the newer country/pop and country/rock sounds – real country music will probably always be my favorite.
I’ve always thought of the Headhunters as a country southern rock band. Their music was heard on country radio, and made its way up the country charts. So this album is very different, and for me – it was very unexpected from this group. The press release I received with the album tells us the album actually came about from 2003 sessions with Johnnie Johnson and The Kentucky Headhunters. Johnnie was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, and continued to perform until his death in 2005. This is the first time these recordings have been released.
“The minute Johnnie sat down with us, the music was a kind of ecstasy,” says guitarist/vocalist Richard Young. “Johnnie made us play like real men,” adds guitarist/vocalist Greg Martin. “Playing with him, the groove got bigger and much more grown up.” Drummer Fred Young explains, “We all admired Johnnie from the start. The first time we played with him was the first time I ever felt like we were doing it right. The music we made on Meet Me In Bluesland is as good as it gets.”
The relationship between Johnson and The Kentucky Headhunters dated back to 1992. Headed to New York for a Grammy Awards party, Greg picked up the new Johnnie Johnson CD, Johnnie B. Bad, for the ride. The band listened to nothing else all the way to New York. Having no idea he’d be at the party, they were shocked to see Johnnie Johnson sitting alone at a table. After some quick introductions, the musicians talked for hours, becoming fast friends. In 1993 they released their first collaboration, That’ll Work, on Nonesuch. They took the show on the road, playing gigs from the West Coast to New England, from Chicago’s Buddy Guy’s Legends to New York City’s Lone Star Café. They performed at The Jamboree In The Hills in Belmont County, Ohio, where Johnson, with the Headhunters triumphantly jamming behind him, played to over 30,000 fans. [Source]
There are 11 songs on this album. I couldn’t find anything bad to say about any one of them! If you like blues at all – you are going to love this CD. The songs you will hear are “Stumblin’,” “Walking With The Wolf,” ‘Little Queenie,” “She’s Got to Have It,” “Party In Heaven,” “Meet Me In Bluesland,” “King Rooster,” “Shufflin’ Back to Memphis,” “Fast Train,” “Sometime,” and “Superman Blues”.
In addition to their web site, keep up with the latest from The Kentucky Headhunters on their Facebook page (and remember to “Like” it while you are there). They guys are tweeting, too! Follow them @KyHeads. If you aren’t already following Country’s Chatter on Twitter, we’d love to have you! You will find us @countryschatter.
Back with more soon!