With his recent signing to Oakland's HighTone Records, the legendary Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown has found a label that embraces the full spectrum of his musical palette. His newest offering, Timeless, will be released on September 14, 2004.
Brown burst onto the national music scene in 1947 as an important innovator on the electric guitar. His 78 rpm and 45 rpm recordings from the late '40s and early '50s featured him fronting a big band, performing "jump blues" and swing with unusual energy and vitality. Those early recordings remain the standard that many use to measure his impressive musical output. He has always "pushed the envelope" with a spontaneous creativity that embraces a wide variety of styles and showcases his masterful proficiency on a number of instruments.
Brown reached the milestone of his 80th birthday on April 18th, 2004, with his creative spark, vitality and sense of humor intact. Not only does he continue to be a virtuoso musician, but also he continues to push that creative envelope, embracing any form of music that interests him and melding it all into what writer Peter Guralnick labeled as uniquely "Gate's Tune."
There are very few musicians so original that you can hear one or two notes and instantly name the artist. Brown is one of those few unique individuals. He puts his firm stamp on everything he performs: Blues, Jazz, Country, Cajun, Bluegrass, Calypso, R&B and Funk all find a welcome place in his wide repertoire.
Timeless was recorded live and in the studio under the guidance of Brown's longtime manager and producer, Jim Bateman. The material is true to "Gate's" live shows, with jazzy covers of "Satin Doll" and Joe Zawinul’s "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy," country honky-tonkers "Tennessee Blues" and "Dark End of the Hallway," blues workouts "Jumpin’ the Blues" and "The Drifter," plus his crowd-pleasing extended version of "Unchained Melody."
In the liner notes of his first American album release in 1978, Hall of Fame songwriter John D. Loudermilk labeled Brown as "the most American artist yet." In a recent review of one of his live performances, writer Danté Dominick said, "…if we needed one person who lives and breathes all things American music and can present it in all its varied glory, Clarence 'Gatemouth' Brown is that person."
The importance of his legacy has not gone unrecognized. He won the first Grammy Award ever presented in the Traditional Blues category for his 1982 release titled Alright Again!, and he has received seven additional nominations. He is in the Blues Foundation's Hall of Fame, is a multiple recipient of their W. C. Handy Awards and is a past recipient of the "Entertainer of the Year" award from the Blues Foundation. He has been presented the Rhythm and Blues Foundation's prestigious Pioneer Award. The Country Music Association included him in their 25th Anniversary Celebration televised on CBS, and their museum in Nashville has his memorabilia on display. In May of 2004, the Memphis Chapter of The National Academy Of Recording Arts And Sciences presented him their "Heroes Award," the highest honor bestowed by a regional chapter of NARAS®.
However, Brown does not rest on his past accomplishments; he's always living the present moment to the fullest, continuing to tour and to delight audiences all over the world. His favorite piece of music is whatever he is playing at the moment! This new release is a strong contribution to his Timeless place in American music.
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