In the decade since releasing Baby, They Told Us We Would Rise Again, Southern rockers Bloodkin released a career-spanning box set and Daniel Hutchens released a solo album. While Danny and Eric would work on a song here and there, sending ideas back and forth via different technologies, as well as play gigs with an occasional new song thrown in, recording a new Bloodkin album wasn’t discussed.
Then in late 2018 early 2019, a decade after their last album, Daniel and Eric started to talk about making another record. They got together to see what they had, Daniel with his notebooks and Eric with his stray pieces of music and lyrics, and sat for a few hours in Eric’s apartment, going through their ideas and playing their guitars. They realized they had something and that there was still plenty of chemistry to be found in their songwriting collaborations.
They reached out to David Barbe, who has been at the helm of many of their studio albums, and got started at Chase Park Transduction in Athens, GA in February 2019. Daniel and Eric were joined by a crew of old friends and they ended up with four sides and decided to release it as a double album.
The 15-song Black Market Tango includes several tracks with the classic Bloodkin formula of Danny’s lyrics with Eric’s guitar progressions, but there are just as many that find the band stretching itself in new directions.
Today Glide is excited to premiere the new album in its entirety ahead of its official release on April 16th. Kicking off with the fiery, Rolling Stones-meets-the-Clash at a Southern dive bar rock and roll of “Transistor Radio,” the album finds this band pulling no punches as they unleash one badass track after another.
Though these guys have been at it for a while now and have been cited as influences for groups like the Drive-By Truckers, their ability to craft timeless rock is fully intact. We hear their vibrancy in songs like the laid back “John Coltrane in Nagasaki,” the acoustic soulful swagger of “Trashy,” and the mournful and twangy blues riffing of “Her Blues.” The band doesn’t hold back on making poignant statements on current events while also cutting loose.
Elsewhere on the album, we find the band laying down chugging rock and roll, busting out dirty country rock, garage punk, and straight-up boogie. Through it all, we are treated to a sprawling and impressive collection of songs from a band that represents another era of rock and roll while still sounding fresh as hell. Listening to Bloodkin brings to mind the kind of beer-soaked live concerts that bring people together in dark and sweaty rooms, which is a feeling we are all still missing but hoping to get back to in due time. The band confesses that there are a lot of different moods on here that all manage to coexist in a harmonious way, and they are eager to play this music in front of an audience.
Danny Hutchens shares his thoughts on the record:
It’s hard to track where this record came from as far as the songwriting. It started back in the ‘90s when I wrote “God’s Bar” as a short story, but was never satisfied with it. It told too much, in a way, and the mystery is so important. I shelved it for years, then finally pulled it back out around 2008 and realized it should be a song. So it veered off in that direction and wound up on our 2013 box set ONE LONG HUSTLE, but somehow it was still incomplete because the rest of the landscape hadn’t been drawn. The other songs.
I’ve always thought that songs are time travelers. I read an interview once where someone told Bob Dylan that one of his songs sounded like it could have been written during the Civil War, and Dylan said something along the lines of, “It probably was. These things float around in the ether until you pick up on ‘em.”
Speaking for myself, more often than not, I figure out what my songs are about years after I’ve written them. And the songs find their righteous place in the records where they belong. This record seems to be about looking through fences and across borders and seeing our own faces looking back at us. “On both sides of the River/All the daughters and the sons/Feel the same cantina fever/So bless us every one.”
Eric Carter weighs in:
This is one of the few things I’m good at. I play guitar and collect random pieces of music that I capture on my phone. Little riffs and ideas. And if they stick, I’ll sit and play them over and over until, hopefully, they’ll start to take some sort of shape. Sometimes a thing will get stuck in my head while I’m taking a walk or chopping vegetables at work and I’ll have to keep it locked in my head until I can get to a guitar. If all goes well, I’ll get it to this buddy of mine that I’ve known for almost 50 years, and he’s pretty good with words, so we’ll try to marry the two things and sometimes he’ll add a little music change and we bang it around into a song. And then we teach these pieces to some other friends of ours, learn them and go play them in front of people. Or go into a studio and record them to be preserved forever!