On March 11, 2022, The Sully Band, voted Best Live Band at the 2020 San Diego Music Awards, will release their debut LP, Let’s Straighten It Out, conceived in the hallowed halls of Henson Recording Studio in Hollywood, California (formerly A&M Studios). With Let’s Straighten It Out, Sully and his bluesy, nine-piece beast of a band take us on a journey through the ups, downs, and all-arounds of love by way of 10 classic ‘60s and ‘70s soul, blues, and R&B tunes. The album will be released via Belly Up Records, and marketed and distributed by Blue Élan Records.
This labor of love album was recorded in only five jam-packed days, with “mostly-live” versions of carefully curated love-themed songs that made a mark when they were originally released and yet also feel relevant today. Sully’s soulful, heartfelt vocals cut across layers of horns and guitars that take the listener on an emotional arc of joy, disappointment, struggle, and redemption.
Multiple Grammy Award-winning producer Chris Goldsmith (Blind Boys of Alabama, Ben Harper, Charlie Musselwhite, Big Head Todd) provided the musical curation that makes up Let’s Straighten It Out. Treasured tunes like Billy Preston’s “Nothing from Nothing” and Jackie Wilson’s “Higher and Higher” share the tracklist with lesser-known nuggets like “Hallelujah, I Love Her So” by Ray Charles; the title track, first recorded by Latimore in 1974; Shuggie Otis’ “Ice Cold Daydream”; and “I Wish It Would Rain,” first made a hit by The Temptations. Acclaimed San Diego soul singer, Rebecca Jade, shared vocal duties with Sully on Mac Rebennack (aka Dr. John) and Jessie Hill’s “When the Battle Is Over,” while on “If You Love Me Like You Say,” the late Albert Collins is evoked by Anthony Cullins, the 20-year-old guitar sensation from Fallbrook, California.
Anchored by Grammy Award-winning slayer of the bass, James East (Eric Clapton, Elton John, Michael Jackson, and many others), The Sully Band is composed of seasoned, accomplished players who hail from diverse locales like Japan, Panama, and the island of Lemon Grove. The horn section features sax-flute-harp-man Tripp Sprague (Kenny Loggins, The Little River Band, Smokey Robinson, The Temptations, The Four Tops) and trumpet and flugelhorn player Steve Dillard (The Righteous Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd).
Sully himself is an enigma. He caught the music bug at age six after picking up a nylon-string guitar and playing the first few chords of “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay” with his dad. In high school, the barrel-chested, all-American football player rocked out to Boston and Foreigner with his buddies, starred in every show-tune-laden musical theatre production through college, and ended each day with James Brown or Stevie Wonder on his Pioneer receiver.
In his 20’s, after pounding the unforgiving Los Angeles pavement trying to cut a record deal, he embarked on a 35-year detour, traveling a storied path from Price Club cashier to self-made entrepreneur and local radio/TV personality, ultimately finding his way back to his first true love: music.
Now, after years away from the stage, he is back in full force. He and the band have been playing regional and national shows to small but mighty crowds, from Southern California’s legendary Belly Up Tavern to Austin’s illustrious Antone’s Nightclub, making his mark as a compelling musician and live performer ready to “Straighten it Out.”
LET’S STRAIGHTEN IT OUT! TRACKLIST
When The Battle Is Over
Hallelujah, I Love Her So
Ice Cold Daydream
I Wish It Would Rain
Nothing From Nothing
If I Could Only Be Sure
Gimme Little Sign
If You Love Me Like You Say
Let’s Straighten It Out
Higher And Higher