The Red Black & Blue EP (Vol 1) (out April 13th) is JC Brooks’ follow-up to 2017’s The Neon Jungle and explores political themes surrounding being black in America in 2018. The music takes influence from the politically-charged soul artists of the 70s, specifically Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye and Gil Scott Heron. The EP was recorded over a one-year period between the election of Donald J Trump and the fall of ’17 and shows the scars of the political landscape but also retains the party and dance elements that JC Brooks is known for. As always, his goal is to blast through the negativity and get to a better place through revitalized soul music.
Red Black & Blue includes “Anywhere But America (Part 1)” as the first single and video. The track is a breakup letter to someone who talks a good game but treats you like shit when it counts the most and then still has the nerve to expect unwavering gratitude. The choir and use of the church organ throughout the song, played by renowned recording artist Frank McComb, continues to paint a backdrop of a funeral held in a Black church. JC cleverly entwines lyrical ideas from M.L.K’s “I Have a Dream” speech with the Star Spangled Banner. “Anywhere But America” is a witty villanelle expressing Black America’s disdain for the country’s actions of the past and present.
“Anywhere But America” was created to satisfy the need for the JC Brooks Band to return to their soul roots. What was not known was that the song would be a scrupulous break-up letter to America that would stab any lover in the heart. The music lays out visuals of a ghostly platform for JC to write his ode to America. The choir and use of the church organ throughout the song, played by renowned recording artist Frank McComb, continues to paint a backdrop of a funeral held in a black church.
JC cleverly entangles lyrical ideas from M.L.K’s “I Have a Dream” speech with the Star Spangled Banner. “Anywhere But America, Part One” is a witty villanelle expressing Black America’s disdain for the country’s actions of the past and present.
The band’s percussionist JoVia Armstrong composed “Anywhere But America” and lead vocalist JC Brooks wrote its lyrics. Armstrong focused on creating simple chords for a simple song that will guide attention to JC’s lyrics and vocal delivery. The studio production of the song took it to another level of intensity. The band recorded the song in just two takes. Adding male and female choir-like vocals to the background made it a bit more Gospel. A dark and haunting reverb was added to the kick drum in the verses. Renowned recording artist Frank McComb was in Chicago during the production of the song and the band was able to grab him to play organ, which really took us to church. The lyrics are compelling and JoVia’s composition and production create a solid, powerful vessel to carry their message.
Glide is thrilled to premiere the official video for JC Brooks’ “Anywhere But America” (below) a courageously soulful composition that is both fervently emotive and packed with melodic precision. Brooks sings with a renowned purpose that summons the great soul singers of past and present including Charles Bradley, Sam Cooke and Raphael Saadiq.