Papa Mali’s New Album Set for March Release, Relix Premieres Title Track

January 15, 2015

Papa Mali’s next album is set for release on March 17 via 429 Records. He recorded Music Is Love at The Living Room in New Orleans with producer John Chelew (Blind Boys of Alabama, Vic Chesnutt, Richard Thompson and John Hiatt). Joining Papa Mali in the studio were Johnny Vidacovich (drums), Mike Dillon (vibraphone, tablas), Casandra Faulconer (bass), Dave Easley (pedal steel), Josh Paxton (Hammond organ, piano, farfisa) and The Harmonaires (vocals).

Today Relix premieres the title track from the forthcoming album, which David Crosby originally recorded on his If I Could Only Remember My Name album (Crosby co-wrote the song with Graham Nash and Neil Young).

Papa Mali explains that he decided to record the cover through the input of his producer: “John Chelew has a real talent for listening, watching and then getting inside the mind, heart and soul of those he chooses to work with. Like the Artist & Repetoire guys of a past era, this process enables him to match the artist with the perfect song – one that will enhance the original material, while also providing a touchstone for the well of inspiration that those originals sprang from. This gift permeates all of his productions and is perhaps, most evident in his first Grammy-winning collaboration with The Blind Boys of Alabama, Spirit Of The Century. Who else would think to pair the longest-running gospel group of all time with the songs of Tom Waits, Ben Harper and The Rolling Stones? Pure genius! Suddenly, these master vocalists (who had been recording since 1936) had crossed over to a new generation of fans and were on everybody’s ‘hot’ list.

“In choosing material for Music Is Love,” he adds, “John and I spent countless hours just hanging out, playing guitars, talking about the art of making records and listening to stacks of vinyl. He had first been introduced to my music through the songs I had written with Robert Hunter and recorded with 7 Walkers, so this was our goal – to further explore and redefine the swampy roots of my Louisiana upbringing with the psychedelic West Coast sounds that he and I had both come of age with in the late sixties and early seventies. One night we were taking turns spinning records at my place, when John pulled out David Crosby’s If I Could Only Remember My Name. The look on my face must have spoken volumes, because we both became elated, excited and reverent, as though he had miraculously stumbled upon a sacred artifact. When the needle came down on that first song, we instantly knew we had our title track, the song that somehow ties the rest of the album together and tells the story of who I am, where I’ve traveled and where I’m going.”

Here’s the full track listing for Music Is Love:

1) Lonesome Road

2) I’m a Ram

3) Make a Way

4) Bottle Up and Go

5) Let’s Burn Down the Cornfield

6) Wild Gardenias

7) Music is Love

8) Bought & Sold (Body & Soul)

9) Spike Driver

10) Go Down Water

11) Cane River Waltz

12) For Free