Booker T. Jones hasn’t been messing around between studio albums. The soul legend released the Roots-backed “The Road from Memphis” in May 2011, and is preparing to put out a new full-length later this month.
The road to his new album’s release begins with “Watch You Sleeping,” premiered exclusively on Billboard.com.
The song, a funky slow-burner at nearly four minutes long, features Kori Withers on vocals. Withers, daughter of major soul player Bill Withers, adds a saccharine vocal to Jones’s deeper croon.
“When I came out to California, Kori’s dad was the first person I produced out here,” Booker T. said of his collaboration with the singer. “I went to a 50th anniversary celebration for him in West Virginia. They had a film of his life, and Kori was singing on the film. John Burk suggested that we use her on the song. Kori is very expressive. She’s her own person, and she’s a beautiful singer.”
The release of “Watch You Sleeping” precedes “Sound the Alarm,” Jones’s newest release, which arrives June 25 on Stax Records. In addition to his work with Withers, the singer’s album is set to feature collaborations with Mayer Hawthorne, Anthony Hamilton, Estelle, Gary Clark Jr. and more, establishing a definite sense of the old colliding with the new.
“It’s a record that captured the essence of Booker T. while being modern but not too slick,” Concord A&R chief John Burk told Billboard. “The guests were really great. They had the right spirit, and they all appreciate him as an artist. The album has the feel of a collision of generations.”