The Black Keys released their 11th studio album Dropout Boogie on Friday (May 13), and now you can hear one of the record’s highlights – a new track featuring Billy F Gibbons, called Good Love.
It’s an insouciant, shuffling blues rocker, full of woozy rhythms and slicing little lead lines that shuffle in from the sidelines to catch your ear.
The Black Keys recorded the album across summer 2021 at Dan Auerbach’s own Easy Eye Sound Studios. Reportedly, they learned that Gibbons – who has professed himself a fan of the duo – was in town and invited him down to the studio.
“I sent him a text, very off-the-cuff,” explained Auerbach in a recent Stereogum interview. “I said, ‘If you’re free later, stop by, Pat [Carney, drums] and I are in the studio.’ He just showed up. He brought a bottle of red wine, no guitars. I handed him a guitar he had never played, and an amp he never played. He plugged it straight in, turned it all the way up, and it sounded exactly like Billy Gibbons.
“Pat brought that up the other day. Everyone goes on and on about what special gauge strings Billy uses, his holy grail Les Paul. Man, whatever that guy picks up sounds like him. It’s awesome. Dr. John was like that. He could sit down at whatever and it sounded like him. David Hidalgo is like that, too. I worked with him on the Arcs and some other stuff. We wrote here a few times. It’s all in his fingertips.”
Gibbons has long followed The Black Keys’ activities, having caught the band playing in New Mexico during their tour in support of third album Rubber Factory in the mid-’00s.
“He came to one of our first shows, when we were touring Rubber Factory,” adds Auerbach. “He came to a show in New Mexico. There were 30 people in the audience. And one of them was Billy Gibbons. He didn’t even say hello to us. He came to the show, we were done, and he left. I didn’t see him. Everybody was like, ‘Man, Billy Gibbons was here!’ He told everybody he loved it. So he’s been a supporter for a long time.”
As such, the Good Love session, was not the first time the duo played with Gibbons. They were previously invited to jam with ZZ Top in 2008 by producer Rick Rubin, though the results of that session ultimately did not make the release that would become 2012’s La Futura.
In other Black Keys news, Dan Auerbach recently took some time to reflect on the band’s landmark 2010 album Brothers, revealing some of the tonal secrets behind that Howlin’ For You fuzz sound in the process...