Exclusive Premiere: “Empire State Express” by Son House

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Of course, most of us walking Planet Earth know the names The White Stripes and the Black Keys. But do we know the artists who have impacted those bands as much as those bands have impacted us? Not always.

Enter Son House, the seminal Delta Blues musician born on March 21, 1902, in Lyon, Mississippi, and who died on October 19, 1988, in Detroit, Michigan. During his life, he contributed some of the most important blues songs in history, a fraction of which were recorded during his career, including the incredible, “Grinnin’ in Your Face,” which Jack White turned into Death Letter/Grinnin’ In Your Face .

A pre-WWII musician, Son House recorded for Paramount Records and the Library of Congress in the 1930s, and then again upon his rediscovery in the 1960s.

Along with other genre-changing musicians like Robert Johnson and Skip James, Son House is a giant. This is why it’s extra special for American Songwriter to share an exclusive premiere of a new, never-before-heard acoustic blues tune, “Empire State Express,” which you can check out below.

Fans of Son House had thought they’d heard everything there was to hear from him. But there’s now more to sink your musical teeth into.

The recordings have now been unearthed and restored. And they will finally see the light of day in a collection as the LP Forever On My Mind, which is set to release on The Black Keys’ frontman Dan Auerbach’s Easy Eye Sound label.

Says Auerbach, “Easy Eye Sound makes blues records, and not many people make blues records anymore. This record continues where we started off, with our artists Leo Bud Welch and Jimmy ‘Duck’ Holmes, and Robert Finley.

“It also is part of my history—some of the first blues music I heard was Son House. I was raised on his Columbia LP, Father of Folk Blues. My dad had that album and would play it in the house when I was a kid, so I know all those songs by heart.”

The new recordings are set to drop as a collection on March 18, officially. But check out the premiere below, along with a trailer for the project.

Photo by Jan Persson, courtesy Conqueroo

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