Where were you in 2008? The last time Boz Scaggs released an album, Fidel Castro had just retired, gold prices hit $1,000 an ounce for the first time and Barack Obama was about to become the first African-American President of the United States.

Scaggs will release MEMPHIS, his first album of new material in five years, on March 5. Recorded in (surprise!) Memphis, Tennessee at the historic Royal Studios with producer Steve Jordan, Scaggs says that the recording process went smoothly. “It’s one of the easiest projects I’ve ever had. I sang songs that feel entirely comfortable to me,” he told Rolling Stone. “We recorded the 13 tracks to this record in three days. It just sort of fell out easily in the nicest way.” Some of the musicians he worked with on the album included guitarist Ray Parker Jr., who has played with Scaggs in the past, as well as Stevie Wonder (but is probably most well known for his monster ’80s hit, “Ghostbusters”).  Also on the album is legendary piano player Spooner Oldham (who has worked with Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan and Neil Young, among others). As for Jordan, he was the drummer in Keith Richards’ band the X-Pensive Winos, and also plays in the John Mayer Trio. 

The sound and history of Royal Studios – where Al Green, Chuck Berry and Rod Stewart have recorded – played a big role in the album. “That sound is iconic.” Scaggs continued, “The sound that comes into that room and the music that came out of the Willie Mitchell reign down there is one of the basic soundtracks of my life,” he said. “The aura is so tangible around that studio.”

Scaggs plans to tour in March to support the album.   

– Adam Greenwald / JACK-FM Minneapolis


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