Revisiting a Music Legacy …American Classics Recut at Sam Phillips’ Historic Memphis Studios

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(Memphis, TN) – Red Hot: A Memphis Celebration of Sun Records is a jubilant, homegrown album honoring the legacy of the tiny independent label that changed the face of popular music.

All proceeds from the Americana Music Society release, due June 16, 2017, will benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®, leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases

The collection is co-produced by singer-guitarist Luther Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars, and Tamara Saviano, the Nashville-based writer-producer and author of Without Getting Killed or Caught: The Life and Music of Guy Clark. A cast of roots music notables celebrates the work of Sam Phillips, an inaugural Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee who founded his Sun label in 1952.

Red Hot was recorded at the two legendary Memphis recording studios operated by Phillips — the humble Sun Studio, opened in 1950 as Memphis Recording Service, and the futuristic Sam Phillips Recording Service, opened in 1959 with Charlie Rich’s “Lonely Weekends” session.

Cutting hundreds of storied sessions at those locations, Phillips recorded world-altering hits by early rock ’n’ roll stars Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Roy Orbison; country music luminaries Rich and Johnny Cash; and blues/R&B lions Howlin’ Wolf, B.B. King and Junior Parker, to name a few.

The new album’s personnel sport a direct connection to Sun’s history — Luther Dickinson and his younger brother Cody, the North Mississippi Allstars’ drummer, are the sons of late musician-producer Jim Dickinson. Sitting in as vocalist and pianist with the Jesters, a Memphis garage band that included Phillips’ son Jerry among its members, Jim recorded “Cadillac Man,” one of Sun’s last singles, in 1966.

The Dickinson brothers serve as the hub of Red Hot’s house band, which also includes bassist-vocalist Amy LaVere, one of the Bluff City’s best-known front-women; singer-guitarist John Paul Keith, a solo notable and a former member of the Tearjerkers; and keyboardist Rick Steff, whose credits include work with Cat Power, Dexy’s Midnight Runners and Memphis’ own Lucero.

Keith, LaVere and Luther Dickinson take lead vocals on numbers originally performed by Phillips’ artists — respectively, Warren Smith’s “Red Cadillac and a Black Moustache,” the Miller Sisters’ “Ten Cats Down,” and Howlin’ Wolf’s “Moanin’ at Midnight.”

Cut intimately and live at the music’s historic sources, Red Hot: A Memphis Celebration of Sun Records restates Phillips’ inclusive, democratic mission for music in contemporary terms.



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