Today Americana UK premieres Jerry Joseph’s “The Man Who Would Be King,” the second single from his forthcoming album, Baby, You’re the Man Who Would Be King, due for release on September 29, 2023, on Cosmo Sex School Records. The track, out today, was recorded in NYC and produced by Eric “Roscoe” Ambel, and features a band made up of some of New York’s best players. Listen here.
Joseph recalls, “I just listened to ‘The Man Who Would Be King’ for the first time in a while. The day I wrote it was a beautiful day in a dark time, the election was looming, we had gone through a summer of putting on gas masks and fighting the feds trying to take our city, plus massive fires and Covid, and in the middle of it all were my kids and the oak tree and the gravity of love.”
Eric Ambel remarks, “I love albums that are a journey and as we went along I was trying to bring something different to each of the songs. We were getting some cool stuff and Jerry continued to pull out more interesting things. He told me the story of his recent attempts at the harmonica and as a guy who’s struggled with the harp himself, I felt the joy coming out of the way he played it.
We ended up using that cool harp on four songs including ‘The Man Who Would Be King’. That one really gave me that special throw your hat in the air rodeo feeling.”
The first single, “The War I Finally Won,” was released on July 18 and premiered with Americana Highways who praised "Music lovers should have all eyes on this cross-pollination right now — what better and more complementary duo is out there that could come close to rivaling this team of Jerry Joseph and Eric Ambel in terms of having such disparate strengths? And yet at the same time, two things you can count on from each of them is heights and ecstatic peaks of energy in the flow of the music, and catchy hooks."
After the rollercoaster of 2020 with the excitement of Joseph releasing The Beautiful Madness, the album he recorded with Patterson Hood producing and Drive-by Truckers as his backing band, to international critical acclaim, quickly turned to disappointment when he had to cancel his ambitious touring plans due to the pandemic, he borrowed a vintage camping trailer from a friend, parked it in his driveway and wrote. Most of the nine songs on King came from that session and while working on them, Joseph didn’t have a cohesive theme beyond a focus on simplicity. Joseph recalls, “Loads of different issues came up during early Covid, a lot of intimate family time, spiritual soul searching, dodgy sobriety and the disappointment of releasing the album of my career right as the world closed. All those things were on my mind as I started to work on this album.”
Joseph had long wanted to make a NYC album, having spent a lot of time there. He met Ambel in 2018 when Eric sat in with his band at a show at Rough Trade in Brooklyn and the seed was planted. In the summer of 2021, Joseph traveled to NYC to record the album with Ambel at his Brooklyn studio, Cowboy Technical Services. Ambel assembled a band of stellar musicians including Jeremy Chatzky on Bass, Phil Cimino on Drums, Charlie Giordano on Hammond Organ, Wurlitzer Electric Piano & Accordion and himself on Electric Guitars, Acoustic Guitars, Keyboards, Percussion & Harmony Vocals with Casey Neil on Harmony, Joe Flood on Fiddle, Mary Lee Kortes on Harmony Vocals, and Cody Nilsen on Pedal Steel, adding their skills to a song each. The album was mostly recorded in a week with Mario Viele engineering after which Ambel added some additional recording from his home studio, Evie’s Terrace.
“I had long been talking about making a New York record, I have spent a lot of time there but never made an album there. Eric Ambel assembled a seriously wicked band, and I don’t know what he does, but it sounds like NYC to me.”
Jerry Joseph will be on tour this Summer and Fall, with European dates coming this Winter. Check JerryJoseph.com for more dates being announced.
Catch Jerry Joseph on tour:
August 18, 19 & 20 Discovery Park - Virginia City, MT (with Jackmormons)
August 25 Tim’s Tavern - Seattle, WA (with Jackmormons)
August 26 Sea Monster Lounge - Seattle, WA (with Jackmormons)
August 27 Tim’s Tavern - Seattle, WA (with Jackmormons)
September 7 Greensboro Cultural Center - Greensboro, NC (with Jackmormons)
September 8 Shiloh & Gaines - Asheville, NC (with Jackmormons)
September 9 The Palm Room - Wrightsville Beach, NC (with Jackmormons)
September 10 Heist Brewery - Charlotte, NC (with Jackmormons)
October 7 The Old Church - Portland, OR *Record Release Show