Chris Thomas Mixes Old With New On 'Dirty'
Chris Thomas King -- who played Tommy Johnson in the film "O Brother Where Art Thou" and was featured prominently on the soundtrack and subsequent Down From the Mountain tours...Chris Thomas King -- who played Tommy Johnson in the film "O Brother Where Art Thou" and was featured prominently on the soundtrack and subsequent Down From the Mountain tours -- has slated Oct. 8 for the release of a new solo album. "Dirty South Hip-Hop Blues," the artist's ninth studio set, will be released on his own newly founded label, Century Blues Records.
"I see 'Dirty South Hip-Hop Blues' as a defining album for both myself and for the blues genre, and a test for the blues genre to see whether it will move forward," King recently told the Boston Globe. Bucking current trends, the album features no guests, nor any accompanying artists for that matter, as King is the only musician heard on the recording, playing guitar, drums, bass, and various other instruments.
The set finds King continuing in his style of fusing blues traditions with hip-hop elements on such songs as "Mississippi KKKrossroads," "Welcome to Da Jungle," and "Gonna Take a Miracle." The artist also updates his "O Brother" contribution of the traditional "Hard Time Killing Floor Blues" with a newly recorded acoustic studio version included on "Dirty South." Half of the songs on the 20-track disc have been remixed from "Act II Revelations 2000 & Beyond," an album sold only via the Web and King's concerts.
Along with such notables as Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring Dan Tyminski and Jerry Douglas, Emmylou Harris, and Ralph Stanley, King remains on the road with the Down From the Mountain tour, which visits St. Louis, Mo., tomorrow (Aug. 6). After the trek's Aug. 21 finale in Pelham, Ala., he will appear at a handful of festivals in September. For full tour information, visit his official Web site.
As for Century Blues Records, King has modeled the label after other artist-founded entities, such as rapper Master P's No Limit Records. Along with touring, he is seeking talent in the blues and hip-hop genres, and plans to release discs by new artists in the coming months.