Eric Bibb’s upcoming album, Dear America, is set to finally drop tomorrow (September 10), and in anticipation of its release the blues guitar titan has shared a Guitar World-exclusive premiere of the album’s powerful title track.
The track itself, described by Bibb as “an open letter to the country where I was born and raised”, picks apart some of the country’s most prevalent social issues, addressing the need for love to “heal and unite us all”.
A short reading of a Martin Luther King Jr. quote sets the tone and precedes the lick-heavy opening passage, which rings out while Bibb introduces Dear America’s main hook.
From there, the track leaps from strength to strength, both as a social exploration and a piece of music, equipping a series of powerfully charged lyrics – “On the one hand to be called your citizen / On the other hand, to be excluded ‘cos of the color of my skin” – with some swaggering six-string and flourishes.
Spearheading a two-guitar line featuring fellow blues veteran Chuck Anthony – with whom Bibb says he had a “great time playing off” – the guitarist continues to build the intensity, with the track introducing a slew of decorative musical motifs that support the emotive vocal lines.
“The song Dear America, from my new album of the same title,” explained Bibb, “is an open letter to the country where I was born and raised.
“A land whose music soothes my soul and whose history continues to haunt us. The song, like the album, is a love letter – for only love can heal and unite us all.”
Of the track’s infectious blues guitar musings, Bibb reflected, “The two-guitar interplay, providing the foundation of the song, features Chuck Anthony playing the chunky rhythm and fills, plus myself playing the repetitive four-note riff that kicks it off.”
As previously mentioned, Dear America – Bibb’s debut album with Provogue Records / Mascot Label Group – is due tomorrow (September 10), and will follow the formidable blues titan in his quest to unpack his seven-decade relationship with the US.
“America,” explained Bibb, “ for all of its associations with pain and its bloody history, has always been a place of incredible hope and optimism. To be American, and particularly to come from New York, is to be blessed.
“That’s my conviction. You see young people now and it’s amazing, with the whole Black Lives Matter movement. All of those things let me know that there is a kind of reverberation from that ‘60s energy.
“You can’t keep a good thing down,” he continued. “Now we’re at that ‘watch and pray’ moment, and it’s an incredibly inspiring time to be writing songs.”
It’s the latest track to be released from what promises to be a powerful record all round, after Bibb shared the Eric Gales-featuring Whole World’s Got The Blues, Shaneeka Simon-starring Born Of A Woman and the Emmett Till tribute track, Emmett’s Ghost.
Other artists set to join Bibb for Dear America include Billy Branch, Lisa Mills and Chuck Campbell. Tommy Sims and drumming icon Steve Jordan were part of the record's session band, with producer/co-writer Glenn Scott also joining the fold.
- Dear America will be released September 10, and is available to preorder now.