American roots artist The Reverend Shawn Amos has announced the April 17 release of Blue Sky, his debut with the newly formed Brotherhood band. The new album is a full-circle moment for the Rev, featuring a group of masterful musicians that includes drummer Brady Blade (Dave Matthews, Indigo Girls), bassist Christopher Thomas (Norah Jones, Carly Simon, Macy Gray) and longtime Rev guitarist Chris “Doctor” Roberts. While his previous release, 2018’s politically-charged Breaks It Down, reckoned with the calamity of our current society, the new album looks inward as the Rev explores his own identity and embraces his singer/songwriter past.
“On this album, I wanted to connect the dots between my current love of blues and my singer-songwriter past,” says The Rev. “When I first started recording blues material, I pulled up the bridge behind my Americana catalogue. Five years into this blues journey, I was ready to revisit that terrain, but in the end, I really believe that blues music is roots music. Making this album has allowed me to bring both sides of myself as a writer together.”
Blue Sky marks a major step forward for The Reverend Shawn Amos, both sonically and personally. With a recent move from his hometown of Los Angeles to Texas, he found himself immersed in a world wildly different from his own, yet still somehow familiar. Surrounded by a variety of new sounds and genres, the Rev injects his bluesy, gritty sound with a revitalized creative energy while embracing a newfound sense of home. Glide Magazine described the new album’s debut track “Counting Down The Days” as “a blackened riff howl of workmanship blues and Texas boogie that never surrenders,” while Elmore said “this material showcases Shawn Amos’s songwriting like no previous Rev outing, alternately furious, vulnerable; crazy, forlorn and tender.”
The Rev is also embracing collaboration in a new way – unlike past Shawn Amos collaborations, the Brotherhood is in it for the long haul. More than a band, they have become a tight-knit group of brothers, who provide critical emotional and spiritual support as the Rev reckons with loss, dislocation, reinvention, and his own lifelong journey in understanding his blackness. “I sound free, because I’m as free as I’ve ever been as an artist,” explains the Rev. “I’m around people who make me feel safe, people I can lean on emotionally. It’s very much a collaborative experience...I couldn’t imagine making this music with people who are not friends.”
Shawn Amos has been featured on NPR Weekend Edition and ABC News, with accolades from Relix, Purevolume, Elmore and more. Prior to emerging as the Reverend in 2013, he made a name for himself as a producer (Solomon Burke’s Live in Nashville, and Shout! Factory box set Q: The Musical Biography of Quincy Jones), content creator for companies looking for ways to tell their stories on the internet, and as an Americana singer-songwriter who’d grown up in a dramatically dysfunctional L.A. home, a story the Rev details in his serialized “Cookies & Milk” feature with The Huffington Post.
The Reverend Shawn Amos & The Brotherhood will tour through 2020 in support of the new release. More info and dates to come soon.
1. Stranger Than Today
2. Troubled Man (feat. Ruthie Foster)
3. Her Letter
4. Counting Down The Days
5. Hold Back
6. The Job Is Never Done
7. The Pity And The Pain (feat. Kenya Hathaway)
8. Albion Blues (feat. Kenya Hathaway)
9. 27 Dollars
10. Keep The Faith, Have Some Fun (feat. Mudbug Brass Band)