Soul man John Nemeth has followed an unusual path. Born in Boise, ID, to Hungarian immigrant parents, he got his start singing at Catholic Daughters of America luncheons and made a living as a truck driver. But he always followed his muse. After living for a time in Oakland ("the most southern city on the west coast," he says), John relocated his family to Memphis last year to be closer to the birthplace of blues, soul, and rock `n roll. Though his rental truck broke down in Arizona en route, 2 days later he was at Scott Bomar's Electraphonic Studio with the Bo-Keys, cutting his new album 'Memphis Grease.'
`Memphis Grease' is an aptly-titled 13-track album, out on Blue Corn Music (home to Ruthie Foster) March 25. It's slathered with fatback soul and blues done the Memphis way: tight horn lines, whirling organ with John's soaring voice and wicked harp playing front and center. John honed his harmonica skills while driving trucks, jamming to Junior Wells records on the road. Lead single "Sooner Or Later" is a driving, up-tempo soul number but Nemeth shines on the ballads, too; "If It Ain't Broke" and "Testify" burn slow, from the gut.
While mostly originals, the album does include three covers. `Grease' kicks off with Otis Rush's "Three Times A Fool," and includes "Stop," made popular by Howard Tate, and Roy Orbison's timeless "Crying."
Scott Bomar, who composed the film scores for `Hustle & Flow' and `Black Snake Moan' and produced Cyndi Lauper's `Memphis Blues,' produced the album. The Bo-Keys are a group of veteran Memphis players that made their names backing the likes of Al Green, O.V. Wright, Rufus Thomas, and the Bar-Kays.
Nemeth nabbed 5 Blues Music Award nominations in the past 2 years, and he's performed and worked with Robert Cray, Keb' Mo', Elvin Bishop, Junior Watson. Scott will also be touring this winter and spring, with more dates to be announced.
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