Like the Radio Dial of yore that serves as its fitting name, Jason Blum’s new album tunes into a wide range of stylistic, emotional and locational signals. It takes the listener on a journey akin to the wide travels that brought him to making such a rich and diverse, yet definitive collection of songs. As Blum sings on the seductively swaying title track, “There’s a song that will carry you across the ocean tuning in on your radio dial.” Jason Blum will release Radio Dial on March 26, 2013 on Bitchin Records.
The title track was produced and engineered by Tom Schick (Paul McCartney, Rufus Wainwright, Ryan Adams, Sean Lennon), but the entire album was produced by Blum himself and mixed by James Stevens at EAR Studios in Austin. Radio Dial blends together Blum’s recording journey through studios and scenes in Austin, New York and Maryland as well as his years perfecting his vision in his home studio.
While recording, Blum’s talents as a professional chef took him all around the state of Texas. As Jason observes, “I’d cook a meal for people and then get out my guitar and play them some songs.” Doing so kept winning him new friends and supporters. He even hosted a BBQ for Ian MacLagan and 100 friends for his 66th birthday party, right after his induction into the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame.
Radio Dial features a wealth of notable players: Lee Alexander, Andrew Borger and Greg "Wiz" Weickzorek from Norah Jones’s band, Rufus Wainwright bassist Jeff Hill, and such world class drummers as Shawn Pelton of the Saturday Night Live band and J.J. Johnson (formerly with John Mayer and now with Tedeschi Trucks Band).
Radio Dial opens with “Josephine,” which reaches back to
Blum’s early folk roots, enhanced with modernist touches, and wraps up with the jazzy romanticism of “Blooming in the Sun,” a duet with his friend, rising jazz singing and songwriting star Kat Edmonson. The track also features Danny Gatton associates John Previti on bass, drummer Brooks Tegler and guitarist Jim Stephanson.
In between, he touches on a stunning breadth of moods and modes. His time in Texas near the borderlands brings a Tex-Mex flavor to the slow devotional dance of “Las Estrellas” and rollicking fiesta of “Barcelona,” while the heat of the desert wafts through “New Mexico Sunset” (which features New York singer Betty Black on harmonies) and the haunting tale of “Dude Barrachon.”
His youthful punk/new wave influences bring a kick to “I Know Evil,” in both the vibrato heavy music and the Cajun inspired video, featuring only Blum and a lone dancer shaking her way through an Austin cemetery. All 10 tracks on the album share that rare quality of transporting listeners to vivid musical and lyrical locales.
Jason Blum will be on the road in Texas next month, making his way up to NYC for a special CD RELEASE PERFORMANCE at Rockwood Music Hall – Stage 2 on Wednesday, March 27th at 7pm. Expect additional tour dates to be announced soon.