In 2019, John Surge and the Haymakers released Your Wonderful Life. In early 2021, having written nothing in 2020, Surge made it a goal to write two songs a week for three months. 17 songs later, he knew it was time to record another album. Having assembled a host of trusty friends to bring it to life, Almost Time will be released via Blackbird Record Label on September 15, 2023.
Surge recalls about asking Tommy Detamore to Produce on the album:
Years ago I heard Sunny Sweeney’s ‘East Texas Pines’ on the radio and I jotted it down. I really liked the sound of the production. I was going through some old notebooks around the time I was writing songs for the album and there was the note. I tracked it down to Tommy Detamore and realized he also produced albums for Jim Lauderdale, Doug Sahm and the latest Jesse Daniel record, which I also loved. I made the decision right then to get in touch with Tommy, and he was up for the job.
Surge enlisted his partner-in-crime Randy Volin from the live Haymakers line-up to make the trip to Floresville, Texas to cut the record with Detamore. Calling them the “Austin Haymakers,” Surge and Detamore assembled a band to bring life to what were mostly voice memo demos: drummer Tom Lewis, bass player Brad Fordham, and pianist Floyd Domino. Through Detamore’s relationship, Western swing singer/songwriter Brennen Leigh was enlisted to provide harmony on 9 of the 10 tracks on Almost Time.
Surge introduces the album:
I would say the thread that runs through the album is barroom tales—people sharing their troubles, bragging, pontificating, revealing their vulnerabilities. As a working band, we spend a lot of time in nightspots and there’s a lot of unfiltered conversation. I had my antennae up and those moments got captured and expanded into the songs I wrote for this album.