New Leo “Bud” Welch video previews his final album ‘The Angels In Heaven Done Signed My Name,’ out March 8 on Easy Eye Records, produced by Dan Auerbach


Dan Auerbach-produced collection, out March 8 on Easy Eye Records, was recorded just prior to Mississippi blues legend’s 2017 death.

The ten-song posthumous album draws from the 25-30 songs that were recorded at Auerbach’s studio in Nashville with his band The Arcs, and offers a dynamic showcase of Welch’s gifts. “Working with Bud was a true blessing and I’ll never forget it,” Auerbach shares. “Bud taught us the songs that he’d been playing since he was a kid. He was so soulful. When he sang, you listened. And his guitar playing was steady as a rock.” The Angels in Heaven Have Done Signed My Name is available for pre-order on all formats :

Bestel CD | Bestel LP

According to Austrian director Wolfgang Pfoser-Almer, who oversaw the 2017 documentary film about Welch titled Late Blossom Blues, “We shot the footage of ‘Don’t Let the Devil Ride’ at Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival in New Orleans 2014. It was the third stop of a little tour Leo did. The next day, he’d play in his church in Sabougla in the morning and another show in the evening, so all together five shows in four days in three states — just the usual regimen for an 80-year-old man like him.

“It was his first show in New Orleans, and [manager] Vencie Vernado was really eager to get everything right — and he did. Leo was the sensation of the festival, people couldn’t believe what they saw, they were all cheering and dancing. I remember one guy constantly shaking his head in disbelief, smiling and sending photos of Leo to all his friends over his phone.

“People were so enthusiastic about him, the autograph session after the show took hours. Leo loved meeting people so much; he took his time with everybody, posing for a photo, chatting a little. That’s just who he was. He never took his audience for granted. He was thankful for each and every person listening, and he genuinely wanted to get to know them all … He really is greatly missed!”

Welch’s first two albums were on Fat Possum Records, which had previously released early albums by the Black Keys. Auerbach and Welch’s connection to the label sowed the seeds for this collaboration:Fat Possum’s owner, Bruce Watson, was the one who made Auerbach aware of the bluesman.

Welch’s official recording debut, 2014’s Sabougla Voices, featured gospel songs he had learned, or written, or improvised. 2015’s I Don’t Prefer No Blues, for Fat Possum’s Big Legal Mess imprint, got its title from something one of Welch’s preachers said because he was displeased that Welch was recording blues songs. Both albums succeeded in capturing the artist’s magnetic voice and incomparable style, and opened the door to his new career as a professional touring musician. Suddenly the 80-something-year-old, who had never left Mississippi, found himself driving around the country on tours, flying for the first time, and performing on festival stages across nearly 40 countries.

The Angels in Heaven Done Signed My Name serves to only further enrich Welch’s legacy. It resonates with the music, and the life, of one of the last real bluesmen. You can hear it in his scorched-oak singing, in his from-the-gut guitar playing, and his own, personal way of bringing gospel and the blues together. From the raw emotion of opener “I Know I’ve Been Changed” to the upbeat, trancelike, hill-country thickness of “I Come to Praise His Name,” the power and vitality of Welch’s music is abundantly evident. Songs like “Don’t Let the Devil Ride” and “I Wanna Die Easy” represent a reminder of the hardships that he lived through, while numbers like “Let It Shine” and “Walk With Me Lord” reveal the joyful, playful personality beneath his tough-as-nails appearance, along with his daily gratitude for his life.

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