Former member of 3-time Grammy award winning group, BR5-49, has released his forthcoming album on Plowboy Records and is ready to show off his personal side on the road through his honky-tonk, rockabilly, and blues styles of music.
Influences from Hank Williams to The Beatles to even The Clash and The Ramones, country singer and musical director, Chuck Mead, released his album Free State Serenade in early March which showcases his, as Mead calls it, “Kansas Noir.” After living in Nashville for over 20 years, Mead decided to get a little personal with the album by creating a collection of narratives from his homestate of Kansas. “I’m kind of not pulling any punches and talking about real stuff in a hopefully a quasi-quartic way to make people enjoy it,” said Mead.
In the album, Mead talks about some darker stories like “Evil Wind”, “Little Ivy,” and “A Devil by Their Side.” In “Evil Wind”, Mead talks about the Clutter family murder in 1959 in Holcomb, KS. The crime was later written in a book by Truman Capote called In Cold Blood.
“A Devil by Their Side” is about the 1863 raid in Mead’s hometown of Lawrence, KS during the civil war. “Little Ivy” is a song about Mead’s schoolmate who was raped and murdered by her own cousin. “Those kinds of things stick to you when something that close to you happens like that and they stuck with me for years, until finally I wrote a song about it and it’s just a part of the Kansas story,” said Mead.
One song that brings lighter tone to album is “Reno Country Girl”, a honky-tonk love song that was written for Mead’s wife for her birthday. “I had that and maybe one or few others before I even knew I was writing about Kansas really,” said Mead.
Mead not only writes music, but is also a musical director for the Broadway production of Million Dollar Quartet. “Much of my job is putting music into a larger narrative, a bunch of songs that belong in a certain place to tell a bigger story and I guess I kind of just wanted to do something like that for my record and then also make it really personal because people catch on to something and they can tell when you’re lying and I’m not lying about any of this shit on the record,” said Mead.
Mead, who released two solo albums Journeyman's Wager (Grassy Knoll Records) and Back at the Quonset Hut (Ramseur Records), recorded his latest record live in about 5 to 6 days. Just like the Quonset Hut album, Mead and his band recorded the latest album live. “We kind of carried that idea on because you get more of a performance when you do it that way,” said Mead.
By recording the album live, Mead illustrates his pure, raw, talent. Mead will be performing is raw sound at The Southgate House Revival on April 3. Tickets are $10.00 in advance and $12.00 at the door. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m.