Dear America is blues veteran Eric Bibb's first album for Provogue Records. If you could call out to your country, what would you say? When Eric Bibb embarked on the title song that would galvanize his latest album, Dear America, the songwriter found himself unpacking a seven-decade relationship with a partner of dramatic extremes. Bibb has known many different Americas, the good, the bad and the ugly. Born in New York City on August 16th, 1951, the thunderbolt of the Sixties folk revival remains an era so alive in the 69-year-old’s memory. Yet just as vivid are the dark societal flashpoints of the last year, when protesters highlighted the open wound of US race relations while a bitter Presidential election scrawled jagged battlelines. “This album is a love letter,” Bibb explains of the record’s root concept, “because America, for all of its associations with pain and its bloody history, has always been a place of incredible hope and optimism. You see young people now and it’s amazing, with the whole Black Lives Matter movement. All of those things let me know that there is a kind of reverberation from that Sixties energy. You can’t keep a good thing down.” Recorded before the pandemic shuttered the world’s recording studios, the chemistry on Dear America is palpable, with each musician playing with the emotional commitment demanded by the material. In November 2019, the bandleader hit Brooklyn’s Studio G to track the album with producer/co-writer Glen Scott, along with a studio band featuring the talismanic drummer Steve Jordan and Memphis guitar sensation Eric Gales. What resulted is a thoughtful record that brings Bibb full circle, taking the pulse of these febrile times while returning the songwriter to his proud roots in New York. “My home now is Sweden,” says Bibb, “But New York City was where I came of age. So to be there, recording this album that had so much to do with my whole journey – it was really inspiring.” And yet, just as the history of the United States has both light and shade, so does ‘Dear America’. It’s a record that laces its exploration of the nation’s most poisonous issues with hope, love and a brighter road ahead. All is not lost, stresses Bibb, and neither are we. Bibb leaves no doubt that the future is ours to write.
Eric Bibb - Dear America - Vinyl LP Released 10/09/21
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