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Albums Of The Week: The Black Keys | Delta Kream

Dan Auerbach & Pat Carney head for the hills & reconnect with their inner bluesmen.


THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:The Black Keys’ 10th studio album Delta Kream celebrates the band’s roots, featuring 11 Mississippi hill country blues standards that they have loved since they were teenagers and before they were a band — including songs by R. L. Burnside and Junior Kimbrough, among others. Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney recorded Delta Kream at Auerbach’s Easy Eye Sound studio in Nashville; they were joined by long-time sidemen of blues legends like R. L. Burnside and Junior Kimbrough. The album takes its name from William Eggleston’s iconic Mississippi photograph that is on its cover.

Auerbach says of the album, “We made this record to honor the Mississippi hill country blues tradition that influenced us starting out. These songs are still as important to us today as they were the first day Pat and I started playing together and picked up our instruments. It was a very inspiring session with Pat and me along with Kenny Brown and Eric Deaton in a circle, playing these songs. It felt so natural.” Carney concurs, “The session was planned only days in advance and nothing was rehearsed. We recorded the entire album in about 10 hours, over two afternoons, at the end of the “Let’s Rock” tour.”

The music from northern Mississippi, which came to life in juke joints, has long left an imprint on the band’s music, from their cover of Burnside’s Busted and Kimbrough’s Do The Romp on their debut album The Big Come Up to their subsequent signing to Fat Possum Records, home to many of their musical heroes, and to their EP of Kimbrough covers Chulahoma.

In addition to paying homage to these Mississippi blues legends with Delta Kream, The Black Keys are working with VisitMississippi, the state’s tourism organization, to sponsor new individual markers for Burnside and Kimbrough on the Mississippi Blues Trail, which tells the stories of the state’s blues artists (both renowned and obscure) through words and images. Both musicians are currently acknowledged on a group marker in Holly Springs entitled Hill Country Blues. The new markers will be erected in the proposed locations of Holly Springs and Chulahoma,places closely associated with Burnside and Kimbrough — a fitting tribute to these architects of Hill Country Blues and further recognition of their enduring contributions to American music.

Formed in Akron, Ohio in 2001, The Black Keys cut their teeth playing small clubs, the band have gone on to sell out arena tours and have released nine previous studio albums: Their debut The Big Come Up (2002), followed by Thickfreakness (2003), Rubber Factory (2004), Magic Potion (2006), Attack & Release (2008), Brothers (2010), El Camino (2011), Turn Blue (2014) and, most recently, “Let’s Rock” (2019). They have won six Grammy Awards and a BRIT and headlined festivals in North America, South America, Mexico, Australia, and Europe.”

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