TRACK: John Paul Keith – ‘How Can You Walk Away’; a love letter to the Memphis sound

John Paul Keith

MEMPHIS’ John Paul Keith, an artist deeply embedded in the raunch and the blues of his home city, has announced the follow-up to his 2018 album Heart Shaped Shadow; it’ll be out on Wild Honey Records come February 19th and it’s entitled The Rhythm Of The City.

He’s shared the album’s opening track, “How Can You Walk Away”, and if you adore the sound of the Home of the Blues, you’ll find much to groove on. Take a listen below.

John Paul says: “Sometimes you sit down to write a song and you don’t get very far, no matter how hard you work on it. But sometimes a song just appears, almost fully-formed, and it’s very exciting when that happens.

“‘How Can You Walk Away’ felt like it wrote itself. And I knew right away I wanted to open the album with it. Sometimes you just know.

“The background vocals were performed by Tierinii and Tikyra Jackson of Grammy-nominated group Southern Avenue and arranged entirely by them.

“We’d never worked together before, but I was a fan – they have that blood harmony that only siblings have. They came into the studio and just nailed it. It was my first time hearing what they’d come up with, and I didn’t ask them to change a thing. They were incredible to work with.”

“This is my first album to feature a horn section on every track, and for this song, we chose to use only tenor and baritone saxophone, a combination that is very powerful, especially in a minor key. There’s just something really sexy about that sound.”  

It’s his fifth solo album, his first to be self-produced, and it’s a love letter to his city.

 “I was at my home in Memphis one evening and heard a car pass by blasting Al Green’s ‘Love and Happiness’, which was recorded just a couple miles away,” he says.

“I was struck by how Howard Grimes’ drumming just seems to embody something about the feel and the pace of life for me here. I thought to myself, ‘Howard Grimes is the rhythm of the city.’ My next thought was, ‘That sounds like a title track.’”

John Paul Keith’s The Rhythm Of The City will be released on digital, trad black and limited edition blue vinyl by Wild Honey Records on February 19th; you can pre-order your copy from his Bandcamp page, here.

Follow John Paul at his website and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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