John Oates’ new solo album — Mississippi Mile — dropped today, and it is a welcome addition to the brackwater Blues oeuvre we have come to appreciate from established greats like Eric Clapton and Tom Jones, but not Cyndi Lauper. John Oates is the other, guitar playing, half of Hall and Oates and it is so great to see John strike out on his own to sing and play the kind of music that branded him growing up:
Here’s the official PR Blurp from the John Oates website explaining the mission of Mississippi Mile:
“This album is about honoring the tradition of the song itself,” Oates explains. “I wanted to go back to the songs that really shaped me when I was growing up. I wouldn’t be the musician that I am today without these songs. It’s a stripped-down effort to showcase what the song was before it ever made it on the record and became a hit. The music you hear on Mississippi Mile is as close to a live album as it gets.”
The tracks on Mississippi Mile directly capture what Oates and the musicians played on the first take in the studio, with the exception of only two overdubs, giving the record a live album feel. The strong group of musicians–which include renowned performers such as Bekka Bramlett, Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas and co-producer Mike Henderson, to name a few–help Mississippi Mile reach a diverse level of sound unlike any other record to date.
The 12-track album chronicles Oates’ musical inspirations from Curtis Mayfield’s “It’s Allright” to Allen Fraser’s “Dance Hall Girls” and even the Hall & Oates classic “You Make My Dreams Come True,” all intertwining elements of Oates’ authentic roots sound. “Deep River” was penned by Oates about the Nashville flood, while paying homage to Doc Watson’s “Deep River Blues.” The album’s title-track is the other Oates original song, kicking-off the album with reverence to his strong respect for classic American music.
Here’s John singing the signature song from Mississippi Mile:
John’s voice is, at times, feeble and thin — but that’s okay, because he’s serving the spirit of the songs. His guitar playing is strong and vibrant. You get some great Bluesy bends and signature slides and some countrified twang, too.
Here’s the iTunes Ping! proof that I bought Mississippi Mile this morning. I put my money where my reviews are…
John Oates is a talented singer and performer — and with the rise of Mississippi Mile — he sets the bar even higher for the excellence of his legacy.