Chris Stamey Plots ‘The Great Escape’ For July

[Cover photo credit to Daniel Coston]

Chris Stamey, known for his work in The dB’s, Big Star’s Third concerts, and numerous solo recordings, has anounced a new album coming out July 7th, 2023. Titled The Great Escape, the first release in decades on Indie label Car Records (on which Stamey had issued recordings by Chris Bell, Mitch Easter, and himself in the late ’70s and early ’80s), will be available on CD, digital downloads, and streaming platforms.

It will arrive via a joint venture with Schoolkids Records / Redeye Distribution, and includes two bonus tracks: an “electric” version of “Back in New York,” augmented by Tom Wilson’s electrification of “The Sounds of Silence,” and a “stream-of-consciousness celebration of a surprise early-morning phone call with “the one and only” Van Dyke Parks.”

On the new album, Stamey returns to the electric guitar sounds and lyricism that informed his classic ’80s solo records It’s Alright, Fireworks, and 2004’s Travels in the South.

This album features Eric Heywood (Jayhawks, Pretenders, Alejandro Escovedo) and Allyn Love, Mipso’s Libby Rodenbough, and Chatham County Line’s John Teer and Dave Wilson. Harmonies come courtesy of Brett Harris (Big Star’s Third), Peter Holsapple (The dB’s), and Matt McMichaels (Mayflies USA, Surrender Human). Additionally, we also find Caitlin Cary (harmonies), Don Dixon (acoustic bass), Will Rigby (The dB’s, drums), and Rodenbough (fiddle and background vocals) on “(A Prisoner of This) Hopeless Love.”

There’s also a version of a lost classic, the Alex Chilton / Tommy Hoehn composition “She Might Look My Way,” remembered fondly by Stamey from his late ’70s live performances with Chilton and the (unreleased) studio recording of it they did together for Elektra Records at Todd Rundgren’s studio.

The genesis of the record came from a 2017 tour with Alejandro Escovedo, in which Stamey was musical director and Eric Heywood the pedal-steel player.

Stamey shares:

I marveled every night at how Eric magically shaped the songs; his instincts were just spot-on. After the tour, I ended up writing a number of tunes with steel in mind, and was fortunate enough to have him add some of his alchemy to these.

About Chris Stamey:

Stamey has participated in indie music of all stripes since the 1970s, as a musician (with The dB’s, Golden Palominos, Sneakers, Bob Mould, Big Star’s Third), a producer, and a composer / arranger. New Songs for the 20th Century, a songbook and double CD of 26 new tunes inspired by the Great American Songbook, was released in 2019 to critical acclaim, followed in 2020 by a companion collection, A Brand-New Shade of Blue. Prior releases include Lovesick Blues, Euphoria, and Falling Off the Sky (with The dB’s). As a producer and arranger, he has worked with Ryan Adams, Alejandro Escovedo, Flat Duo Jets, Skylar Gudasz, Tift Merritt, Le Tigre, Those Pretty Wrongs, many others. His original jazz radio play, Occasional Shivers, premiered nationwide on Christmas Day 2016. Stamey works out of Modern Recording, a studio in Chapel Hill, NC.

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