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MP3 Stephen Foster & Howler - Howl At The Blues

A combination of Psychedelic Blues, Power Ballad and Southern Rock

9 MP3 Songs
BLUES: Electric Blues, ROCK: Psychedelic

Stephen Foster & Howler came into being when I decided that my solo career was stagnating, becoming two-dimensional, and just plain boring. Long-time friend & drummer Eddie Russell was the first convert, and we looked for a while, 9 months in fact, for other members. We did some auditions and talked to musicians all across the country, but none of them seemed right for the situation. We needed players who could carry a musical load. We wanted a small, tight rhythm section that could perform any of the wide variety of songs that I was writing as well as a large catalog of existing songs in my publishing company. That turned out to be harder than we expected.

One night, driving back from a gig in Nowheresville, AL, I said "Eddie, you know who would be the perfect bass player for this group? Larry Hartsfield! I wonder what he''s doing these days?" Larry was my bass player in "WhiteHorse", a rock group I fronted in the 70s. We had kept in sporadic touch over the years, but I hadn''t heard from him in 10 years.

Eddie said "He''s living in Lawrenceburg (Tennessee) carpentering". We both died laughing.

That led to a phone call and an ecstatic YES from Larry. That left us one person short. I play keys and guitars, but always like to have a dedicated homicidal guitarist in the band, so we started looking. After 2 months, Larry literally smacked his head and said "Lord, why didn''t I think of Dr. J.?" Jay Jernigan is who he was talking about, a guitarist/singer Larry had worked with over the years. I didn''t know Jay, having traveled in different circles, but Jay had spent 35 years playing in small clubs in Tennessee, and is sort of a blues legend around the state. Larry talked to him and he declined, saying he had retired to his daddy''s farm. Larry asked me to call him, so I did. Jay said he had just gotten fed up with not being able to find any good players for several years, and would rather sit on his front porch than play with junky pickers. Long story short, I convinced him to come to my home & studio for a jam to see what we all thought.

An amazing thing happened. We just started playing songs, song after song, starting with Allman Bros and going through Little Feat, Wet Willie, ZZ Top, etc, and we just sounded like a seasoned band right from the start. Our wives were all there, and they turned into a fan section halfway through the afternoon, yelling and hollering as we finished songs. My wife Trish, who has seen a LOT of musicians come and go over 20 years together, pulled me aside at the first break and told me in no uncertain terms that I''d better latch on to these guys, and that she had never heard any of my bands sound like this.

I knew she was right. We had that powerful feeling that I had only heard from the Allmans, Little Feat, etc. So we started putting songs together, worked some gigs to tighten up, and went straight into my studio to record a fresh album. We expected the whole thing to take 3-6 months, maybe a year, but ended up cutting the whole album in less than a month, including overdubs and mixing. We knew from the start that we didn''t want a "processed" album. And we certainly didn''t want to put anything on the album which we couldn''t play live, so we just worked the tracks up 4-piece and recorded them like that, with no overdubs. It came out a little raw, and that suited us just fine.

An odd thing was going on. Jay was used to playing 3-piece, bass, drums & guitar, so he played really, really full and busy. I was used to playing single, so I played really, really full and busy. In order to play together, Jay and I had to spare up our parts and play together, so the both of us usually feel like we''re playing simple parts, but the combination gets very fat and full right away. The other thing that was nice is that I was used to having to sing 40 songs every night. So was Jay. We were both usually the only lead singer in most of our bands. Eddie also sings lead, and all of a sudden, I was able to sing 20 songs and loaf vocally the rest of the night. The upshot is that I get to go all-out now, because I don''t have to save anything for later in the night.

Anyhow, we jammed/wrote "Mad As Hell" on the gig one night, fixed the verses later, and it has become the centerpiece of the new album. The song has taken on a life of its'' own, and we''re just following along. I hope you like the band and album. We''re pleased with the results and I can actually play the album in the car and enjoy the whole thing.

Stephen Foster
Keel Mountain, AL 2006

OK...... it has been suggested we list the people we''ve played with/fronted/shared illegal substances with, so here we go.
Little Feat, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Cornelius Bros. & Sister Rose, Percy Sledge, The Cars, 5th Dimension, Ted Nugent, Ricky Nelson, Tommy Shaw, Kinks, Kansas, Steppenwolf, JJ Cale, Kingston Trio, Delbert McClinton, Johnny Winter, Gregg Allman, Amazing Rhythm Aces, Spooner Oldham (Crosby Stills Nash & Young), 3-6 Mafia, Dr. Dre, and many other great musicians who we remember, but the public probably doesn''t.

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