Three-times British Blues Awards nominee, London-based soul-bluesman Mississippi MacDonald announces his latest single ‘Devil’s Chain’, featuring vocalist Kerri Watt, released today, 20th April, and its accompanying video.
The brand-new single follows in the wake of Mississippi’s much-played and acclaimed 9-track album ‘Do Right, Say Right’ which reached No. 1 in the IBBA Chart; No. 1 in RMR’s UK Albums; and No. 18 in Living Blues’s over in the USA and was Hard Rock Hell Radio’s Blues Album of the Year, 2021.
“Mississippi MacDonald sounds like he should be on Stax, Hi, or Malaco,” Norman Darwen (Blues In The South, Twoj Blues Magazine) perceptively observed, “He has a strongly southern inflected vocal delivery, musical accompaniment that sounds strongly like Albert King turning up on the Malaco label, a tight, controlled band that is right on the top of its form, and songs that come straight out of the classic southern soul-blues songbook.”
Reviewers often compare Mississippi to classic bluesmen for his sound, virtuosity, and sincere commitment to the blues, but acknowledge the freshness, originality and modern relevance of his lyrics.
As Mike O’Cull (Rock and Blues Muse) put it: “MacDonald’s songs are expressive, creatively written, and not loaded down with clichés. He’s also a strong and genuine singer who puts his lines across with fervor and belief. Combine that voice with a bold and tasty guitar style and you get a winner every time… Highly recommended.”
‘Devil’s Chain’ shows the truth of this. The song was inspired by a moment on a TV special between Johnny Cash and June Carter.
“The idea for this song came unexpectedly,” Mississippi explains, “while I was watching a rerun of a Johnny Cash Christmas Special on TV. In amongst the good cheer, the choir, roaring fires and all the presents under trees, June turned to Johnny and gave him a warning: ‘Every dollar you earn,’ she said slowly, ‘is another link in the Devil’s Chain.’ By the look in his eyes, you could see that she was sending him a serious message, and that’s when I reached for my pen and paper.”
This song is Mississippi MacDonald‘s latest musical expression of his deep understanding of American Soul-Blues, heart and soul. He’s been there, studied it, paid for the gravestone of O.V. Wright, and earned the respect of US radio, press and his peers.
As the most important voice in US Blues, Living Blues, observed: “Mississippi MacDonald can’t claim to be from Mississippi, but with this wholly authentic effort, he’s earned the right to at least claim the name”. This again serves to echo the theme of ‘Devil’s Chain’: a tension between what ought to be and what actually is.
The London-based singer/songwriter/guitarist invited Glasgow-based Americana artist Kerri Watt to guest on his tale of the tension between the sacred and the profane and how that can sometimes play out, and their timbres play well against each other.
Glasgow native Kerri has had two singles — ‘Long Way Home‘ and ‘The Wild‘ — playlisted on BBC Radio 2, and her collaboration with producer Oliver Nelson on the summer mix of ‘You‘ achieved over a million streams. She has opened for a variety of artists including Keith Urban, Coldplay, Nina Nesbitt, Ward Thomas, The Overtones, Embrace and Julio Iglesias, and played at festivals such as Glastonbury, Isle of Wight, Celtic Connections, Secret Garden Party, C2C, and Cornbury.
Also playing on ‘Devil’s Chain’, creating the full sound for the track, you’ll hear Elliot Boughen on bass; Texas Joe Brown on drums and Phil Dearing on keyboards and rhythm guitar: Production wizardry was provided by Phil Dearing at Sound Studios.
The video for ‘Devil’s Chain’ is based on the notion of contrasts, as Mississippi explains: “Just as June’s stark warning to Johnny contrasted with the seasonal celebration in the TV special, this video contrasts the hustle and bustle of the city with the performance of the song.”
In other news, Mississippi MacDonald has been added to the line-up for HRH Blues 2023.
Check out ‘Devil’s Chain’ for a fine taste of modern, authentic blues. ‘Devil’s Chain’ now available on all digital platforms here