Posts Tagged ‘Booker T. Jones’

Matt Berninger’s debut album “Serpentine Prison” will drop October 16th via Book Records, the new imprint of Concord Records. In his two decades spent fronting The National, vocalist and lyricist Matt Berninger has become unphased by early-hour work responsibilities. “The thing is, when you’re in a band and you’re touring, 3 a.m., 4 a.m. lobby calls are a regular thing,” he says. “And that’s after you get back from the show at 1 a.m.—not because you’ve been out partying, but because you couldn’t get back to the hotel until that time.”

With the release, Berninger has dropped a fun new music video for his “One More Second” which features him showing off some dance moves in the awesome video directed by Chris Sgroi.  the promotion of Berninger’s debut solo record Serpentine Prison, an album recorded over a two-week period in late May and early June of last year that was produced by industry legend Booker T. Jones with contributions from just about every musical associate and friend in Berninger’s extensive rolodex. “It’s the most collaborative thing I’ve ever done,” says Berninger.

I didn’t actually have any intention to make a solo album. I started out trying to make a covers album with Booker. I was lucky enough to know Booker from a long time ago, but in the process of just sharing cover ideas with him, I did share a few songs that were sort of these orphan songs that didn’t fit with any other band, and then he was like, “Well do you have any more of these?” When we went into the studio last summer, we went in with twelve originals and seven covers, and I was gonna just pick the best out of whatever happened in these two weeks. And at the end of the two weeks the originals were good enough to stand on their own. So I just picked ten of those that worked well together in a sequence and that’s how it turned into a solo album.

Matt Berninger of The National will share his debut solo record Serpentine Prison this month via Book’s Records. The single “One More Second,” was released last month, which followed the release of the album’s title track and “Distant Axis.” “I wrote ‘One More Second’ with Matt Sheehy with the intention for it to be a kind of answer to Dolly Parton’s ‘I Will Always Love You,’ or sort of the other side of that conversation,” Berninger says. “I just wanted to write one of those classic, simple, desperate love songs that sound great in your car.”

Berninger has remained no less resolute in a number of creative enterprises. Not only working on material for the follow-up to The National’s 2019 album I Am Easy to Find, Berninger has been working alongside the band’s Aaron and Bryce Dessner—as well as his wife Carin Besser—on a film adaptation of Cyrano, the off-Broadway musical they developed with playwright Erica Schmidt that starred her husband Peter Dinklage (Dinklage will reprise the role for the film).

Serpentine Prison is out now.

50 years ago, Booker T & The M.G.’s released their ode to The Beatles’ Abbey Road, and to the street where Booker and his band recorded: McLemore Avenue. Here Booker T. Jones (keyboards), Steve Cropper (guitar), Donald “Duck” Dunn (bass), and Al Jackson Jr. (drums) deliver funky, bluesy takes on 13 songs from The Beatles’ album, making them all their own. In fact, their renditions caught the ears of The Beatles, and Paul McCartney has used the M.G.’s version of “The End” as his walk-on music on tour for years. Cut from the original analogue master tapes by Jeff Powell in Memphis, pressed onto 180-gram vinyl at MRP and housed in a Stoughton-printed sleeve, the music and the iconic album art have likely never looked or sounded better. It’s worth lining up across the street for!.

As the longtime house band for Stax, Booker T. & The M.G.’s not only helped to shape the label’s iconic sound but also backed sessions by some of the biggest acts of the ’60s—from Otis Redding and Carla Thomas, to Sam & Dave and Wilson Pickett. The group also released many acclaimed titles of their own, and their 10th studio album, 1970’s McLemore Avenue, was no exception. Inspired by The Beatles’ Abbey Roadreleased just a year before, Booker T. Jones set out to record a tribute to the album—naming his version after the Memphis avenue where Stax Records stood. In an interview Jones recalled that when he first heard Abbey Road, “I thought it was incredibly courageous of The Beatles… They were the top band in the world but they still reinvented themselves.”

Featuring the classic lineup of Booker T. Jones on keyboards, Steve Cropper on guitar, Donald “Duck” Dunn on bass, and Al Jackson Jr. on drums, the instrumental McLemore Avenue offers a supremely funky take on Abbey Road’s songs in the form of three medleys and one standalone version of “Something.” AllMusicpraised that “Not only is McLemore Avenue a stellar interpretation of Abbey Road, it’s one of the finest Booker T. & the M.G.’s albums to boot.”

This special 50th-anniversary edition of the LP has been cut from the original analogue masters by Jeff Powell at Memphis’ Take Out Vinyl and pressed on 180-gram vinyl at Memphis Record Pressing. The album comes housed in an old-school-style tip-on jacket, featuring the classic, tongue-in-cheek cover image of the band crossing McLemore Avenue.

matt berninger

The National frontman Matt Berninger has promised his first solo LP for 2020. ‘Serpentine Prison’ it was produced and arranged by Booker T. Jones, with plenty of guest appearances lined up too. “More about it soon,” Berninger told fans on social media in October 2019, “but basically I’m the luckiest man in the universe with lots of brilliant friends who can play instermints [sic].”

For his proper solo debut, the National frontman teamed up with legendary producer and keyboardist Booker T. Jones for a stately set of mid-tempo ballads. Featuring contributions from everyone from Andrew Bird to Mickey Raphael, the album promises to be closer to typically sparse singer-songwriter fare than Berninger’s past solo detours (see his dancey 2015 collaborative record Return to the Moon, recorded with Brent Knopf under the moniker El Vy). On the title track, Berninger has said he dug “back into my own garbage” after focusing on writing from more character-based perspectives on the National’s 2019 album I Am Easy to Find. Expect more middle-aged ennui on this batch of introspective musings, like early highlight “Distant Axis,” a co-write with Walter Martin of the Walkmen that Berninger has described as being about “falling out of touch with someone or something you once thought would be there forever.”

Berninger shared a new track “One More Second” from his upcoming debut solo record Serpentine Prison, out on October. 16 via Book’s Records. The single follows the release of the album’s title track and “Distant Axis.” “I wrote ‘One More Second’ with Matt Sheehy with the intention for it to be a kind of answer to Dolly Parton’s ‘I Will Always Love You,’ or sort of the other side of that conversation,” Berninger says. “I just wanted to write one of those classic, simple, desperate love songs that sound great in your car.”

Release date: October 16th

It’s not yet known if Berninger’s collaboration with Phoebe Bridgers, ‘Walking on a String’, will appear on the record, but it’s the first full non-National venture from the singer, who previously collaborated with Melomena’s Brent Knopf on 2015’s EL VY album.

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Matt Berninger of The National is releasing his debut solo album, “Serpentine Prison”, on October 2nd via Book, Berninger’s new imprint with Concord. Now he has shared another song from it, “Distant Axis,” via a video for it. Matt’s brother, Tom Berninger, and Chris Sgroi directed the video which features Matt lying on the floor while various objects are dropped towards him (including, randomly, a Predator VHS tape). Matt wrote the song with Walter Martin (formerly of The Walkmen).

“I met Walter Martin fifteen years ago when the The National opened for The Walkmen on a tour of shitty clubs in the American southeast. On that tour, I learned a lot about how to be in a band without ruining your life. I also learned a lot about Florida, Tennessee and Georgia. Walt and I have stayed friends, and about three years ago we started passing ideas back and forth. Distant Axis started from a sketch Walt sent me named Savannah. I think it’s about falling out of touch with someone or something you once thought would be there forever.”

Previously Berninger shared the album’s title track, “Serpentine Prison,” via a video for it. Booker T. Jones produced Serpentine Prison, with additional production by Sean O’Brien. The album features an array of special guest players, including: Matt Barrick (The Walkmen, Jonathan Fire*Eater, Muzz), Andrew Bird, Mike Brewer, Hayden Desser, Scott Devendorf (The National), Gail Ann Dorsey (David Bowie, Lenny Kravitz), Booker T. Jones, Teddy Jones, Brent Knopf (EL VY, Menomena), Ben Lanz (The National, Beirut), Walter Martin (The Walkmen, Jonathan Fire*Eater), Sean O’Brien, Mickey Raphael (Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan), Kyle Resnick (The National, Beirut), Matt Sheehy (EL VY, Lost Lander), and Harrison Whitford (Phoebe Bridgers).

Back in February, before the pandemic overtook America, Berninger shared a cover of Mercury Rev’s classic “Holes,” from their 1998 album Deserter’s Songs. The cover is part of the 7-Inches for Planned Parenthood series and was originally shared via a video for the track. In April, for Late Night with Stephen Colbert Berninger performed the cover from home, aided remotely by Steph Altman on piano.

In April Berninger contributed guest vocals to “Quarantine Boogie (Loco),” a hilarious new COVD-19 themed song by Walter Martin.

Last year Berninger teamed up with Phoebe Bridgers for the new song, “Walking On a String,” which they performed in Netflix’s Between Two Ferns: The Movie. Then they shared a studio version of the song via a black & white video featuring them recording it .

The National released a new album, I Am Easy to Find, back in May 2019 via 4AD.

At the beginning of the year, Berninger, along with The National, surprised fans with a cover of INXS’ classic hit, “Never Tear Us Apart.”  Their rendition of the ‘80s hit was for Songs For Australia – a covers compilation, featuring songs mostly by Australian acts, that benefitted country’s rehabilitation efforts, following devastating wildfires.

The official video for Matt Berninger’s “Distant Axis”, from his forthcoming solo album ‘Serpentine Prison.’ Produced by Booker T. Jones, the album will be released via Book Records in conjunction with Concord Records on October 2nd.