John Propper & Jono Manson new album – BOOTLEGGER DAYS!! – set to be released on 15 september 2023, on CD and vinyl. Cover my hands is the first single.
In the winter of 2020 at the height of the pandemic lockdown, all musicians and performers found themselves without the road. There was almost nowhere to bring, or let out the restless desire that so often keeps those who spend most of their time out there feeling as free as they had ever been, and always had been.
It was in that confusion that old friends and long-time collaborators John Popper and Jono Manson set about the task of writing material for a new recording project. They had already decided that they wanted the album to be steeped in elements of classic Blues, R&B and old-timey Americana– as these were the languages that primarily spoke to them –but they had no idea about what would happen next.
After they had penned the first half-dozen songs (including “Cover My Hands,” “Before the Heat Rolls In,” and “Beneath the Blood Wolf Moon”) they started noticing something: There seemed to be a loose subtext running through the material – a narrative about a hard-luck character, on the run from a lot of things, including himself. Having recognized this emerging theme, they forged ahead, imagining their protagonist dressed in a fedora and slightly threadbare pin-striped suit.
Without beating it over the head, they kept this prohibition-era scenario in mind while completing the album. It seemed to somehow relate to the state of the world in the moment. As was the case in the age of the rum-running, newly law-breaking bootlegger, the road and a fast car were not just tools of the trade, but rather a means of escape and access to the wider world– all the love and action that was waiting beyond the laying low and hunkering down that was required in order to survive in their new and changing world.
John and Jono consider the narrative a bonus for listeners who choose to pay enough attention to notice the musical and lyrical cross-references, and the story which surfaces now and then of hard times and, in the end, just maybe, redemption. An abstract, yet all too real, pursuit of freedom on one’s own terms.
1. Before the Heat Rolls In
2. Who’s Taking Care of the Road
3. Cabin Fever
4. The Same Old Blues
5. Your Crazy
6. The Wayward Rambler
7. Cover My Hands
8. Beneath the Blood Wolf Moon
9. New Cocaine Blues
10. Same Shade of Blue
11. Yreka Handoff
12. When the Morning Comes