Putting Down Roots Press Release





Top blues sax sidewoman’s second release reveals vocal and songwriting skills alongside hot and soulful sax.

Oakland, CA – Fresh from sold-out Bay Area shows and gearing up for extensive national and international touring in support of the new album, acclaimed big-toned tenor player Nancy Wright announces a March 31 national release date for Putting Down Roots, her first release on her own Direct Hit Records label. This self-produced, all-original album features six instrumentals and six personally conceived vocal tracks, showcasing her growth as a songwriter and vocalist. Spanning blues, R&B, funk, New Orleans, and gospel styles, this homecoming honoring Wright’s musical roots is a follow-up to her debut release Moanin’, a “soul jazz tour de force.”

Backing Wright is a team of cohorts she records and tours with from the rising soul-blues group The Frank Bey and Anthony Paule Band (Nancy is featured on both of the band’s 2013 releases): Guitarist Anthony Paule (Charlie Musselwhite), keyboardist Tony Lufrano (The Whispers), drummer Paul Revelli (Joe Louis Walker), and bassist Paul Olguin (Tracy Nelson). She recorded at Kid Andersen’s Greaseland Studios, in San Jose, CA, and Kid masterfully contributed guitar work to six of the tracks on Putting Down Roots.

“I wanted this CD to feature the musical styles which most influenced me as a player. I decided to challenge myself by doing a full CD of original material and by adding songwriting and vocals for the first time. I chose seasoned, supportive players who have a demonstrated track record of working well together — and a studio and engineer that we were all familiar and comfortable with.”

Putting Down Roots opens with “Sweet Satisfaction”, an ode to the power of romantic love, and Wright’s naturally bluesy voice conveys charm and conviction. “Funkin’ It Up” serves up a hip-shaking, back-bone slipping James Brown groove, followed by the pensive, shifting “Just Can’t Put a Finger On It.” Wright’s upbeat sax plays over an infectious cha-cha beat on “A Serendipity,” and New Orleans flavors speak loud and proud in funk instrumental “The Big Queen.” Wright delivers soulful King Curtis sax stylings in “Hush Little Darlin’,” and the influence of Nancy’s early mentor Lonnie Mack is evident in Guitarist Kid Andersen’s style on “Well I’m Travelin’.” “Grooving Easy” is an easy-going, toe-tapping, out-for-a-Sunday drive instrumental, and “Lovely Pretender” is fueled by powerful, Junior Walker-inspired sax work, followed by the deep gospel ballad “Seems I Still Love You.” “Boogie for JL” honors John Lee Hooker, who Nancy toured with, including a Carnegie Hall showcase. The album closes with the deeply introspective “Sanctity in Blue.”

The whole CD is enhanced by the emotional, melodic, and technical breadth and depth of Wright’s command of the sax. The language of her full-toned, throaty tenor moves from tight, syncopated funk, to broad sweeping phrases of soaring altissimo, breathy croons, purrs, and growls. Wright owns the mood of each song, fluently shifting from technical control to raw emotion and back.

Wright toured North America, Europe, and Asia with such artists as John Lee Hooker, Lonnie Mack, Elvin Bishop, Commander Cody, Johnny Adams, Earl King, Joe Louis Walker, Maria Muldaur, Frank Bey, and Greg Nagy, and recorded with artists B.B. King (on the Grammy award-winning “Blues Summit” album from MCA Records), Katie Webster, Elvin Bishop, Joe Louis Walker, Little Charlie and the Nitecats, Mark Hummel, Mighty Mike Schermer, Lady Bianca and others. She also performed with Robert Cray, Bonnie Raitt, Pinetop Perkins, Hubert Sumlin, Lowell Fulsom, Son Seals, Ike Turner, The Blues Broads, Houston Jones, Steve Willis, Macy Blackman and many others. In 2013, Wright was awarded the West Coast Blues Hall of Fame Blues Saxophone Player of the Year. Wright performs with her own Rhythm and Roots Band and other artists as she continues to reach out to new blues audiences, including joining Tommy Castro and the Painkillers on the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise in January 2015.

Promotion of PUTTING DOWN ROOTS includes an extensive touring schedule in 2015, including The Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise in October with Tommy Castro & The Painkillers; European and US touring with The Frank Bey and Anthony Paule Band this summer; and Bay Area appearances with Macy Blackman.

For further information, see www.nancywrightmusic.com or contact Nancy at nancywrightmusic@gmail.com.

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