Release Date: Jan 13, 2017
Record label: Glassnote Entertainment Group
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
The epitaph of ‘hardest working man in showbusiness’ has been bestowed upon many people, but Matthew E White must surely be this year’s contender. As well as running his own studio, Spacebomb, in Nashville, he’s recently produced albums by the likes of Natalie Prass and Slow Club, released two well-received solo albums, and also leads his own avant-garde jazz band called Fight The Big Bull. White’s showing no signs of slowing down during 2017.
Gentlewoman, Ruby Man is an album born of a moment of serendipity. Virginia-based auteur Matthew E White first encountered 21-year-old London singer-songwriter Flo Morrissey when the first track taken from his 2015 album Fresh Blood was reviewed next to her debut single, Pages of Gold, in this newspaper. Intrigued by the writer comparing her to, as he put it, “all the right people” (Karen Dalton and Jackson C Frank, among others), he sought her out.
Like all Spacebomb records, the new covers album by English singer-songwriter Flo Morrissey and American musician Matthew E. White is as much about the Spacebomb sound as it is about the singers or the songs they’re singing. For most of the 2010s the small Richmond, Virginia, studio/record label has been refining a silky sound that recalls the florid productions of ’70s R&B visionaries like Isaac Hayes and Curtis Mayfield without succumbing to revivalism.
“Conventionality belongs to yesterday” sing Flo Morrissey and Matthew E. White on their cover of ‘Grease’, the 1978 classic from the glitzy all-American hit film. It is perhaps an unlikely choice for these two: Morrissey, a clear-voiced Notting Hill folkie whose debut album Tomorrow Will Be Beautiful was released on Glassnote Records in 2015, and White, a bearded Virginia native with a gospel-inflicted bluesy outlook and two critically-acclaimed albums.