Recently, along with my friend Lee McCrae and my former Uni teacher Simon Warner, I was invited to work on a pretty interesting project.
As a lecturer in Popular Music Studies at the University of Leeds, a large part of Simon’s academic work deals with the Beat Generation of the 50s and 60s. Through this professional interest, he has links to Jim Sampas, producer of the seminal Jack Kerouac poetry-influenced album Kicks Joy Darkness. Released in 1997, the record features contributions from beats William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, alongside Michael Stipe, Lee Ranaldo, Joe Strummer, plus many others. It’s an amazing listen.
Several albums on, Jim’s latest project is entitled Paint it Black: An Alt-Country Tribute to the Rolling Stones, released on his Reimagine Music label. It’s a brilliant tour through the music of one of the world’s most familiar bands, interpreted by a range of artists that, it might be argued, don’t sound particularly that much like the Stones – and in a good way. Among the artists are The Handsome Family, Everest, Great Lake Swimmers and much more from the alt-country/Americana scene.
Both Lee and myself were asked by Jim to assist with publicity for Paint it Black, and we’ve both received co-producer credits as a result, which I’m extremely grateful to both Jim and Simon for, particularly as I think that it’s completely unwarranted (I really don’t think I did that much!) What a bunch of amazing guys.