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Mississippi Rock/Pop Band The Shoe Birds Release Debut Record 'Southern Gothic'


Named after the only children's book acclaimed Southern author Eudora Welty ever wrote, Mississippi based pop/rock band, The Shoe Birds, released their debut record, "Southern Gothic", this week on WaxSaw Records.

Welty's book has been compared to a modern day Aesop's fable, with the moral of the story being "think for yourself" -- which was the goal of the band's founders, Scott Coopwood (guitars, background vocals) and Norman Adcox (lead vocals, guitars). The duo worked hard to create music that stayed true to themes from the heart, telling stories influenced by growing up and living in the Mississippi Delta and Memphis. With Barry Bays (bass) and Brian Schilling (drums), the band is influenced by the South's rich culture and music, as well as its literary heritage.

"Southern Gothic" was produced by Coopwood and recorded by Mike Iacopelli (Aretha Franklin, George Clinton, Jennifer Holiday, Stevie Wonder) at Court Street Records in Cleveland, Mississippi and by Mike Stankiewicz (Kenny Chesney, Gavin Degraw, Linda Ortega, Willie Nelson) at the historic Sound Emporium Studios in Nashville. The record features an allstar cast of musicians - guitarist Pat Buchanan (Amy Grant, Faith Hill, Kenny Chesney, Cyndi Lauper, Hall & Oates); drummer Greg Morrow (Sheryl Crow, Alan Jackson, Darius Rucker, Blake Shelton, Brooks & Dunn,); keyboardist Tony Harrell (Amy Grant, Don Henley), and Nashville studio pro, Alison Prestwood (bass). Longtime Nashville steel guitar player, Russ Pahl (Elton John, Kings of Leon, John Hiatt, Luke Bryan, and others) also played on the record.

The first single from the record, "You Leave Me Blind", "talks about the bitterness and heartache that follows a breakup with someone you cared deeply about, only to find out that person was in love with someone else", says Adcox. "When that happens, it often cuts off the tunnel that carries light from the outside world to your heart, making you blind to new relationships and feelings. 'You Leave Me Blind' was a way to move forward from that experience."

Here's a link to stream/download "You Leave Me Blind":

The Shoe Birds played their first show at the historic Lyric Theater in Oxford, Mississippi (the same theater where Southern writer, William Faulkner premiered his first movie, "Intruder In the Dust"), in October 2014 for the esteemed Thacker Mountain Radio Show, which was broadcast over Mississippi Public Radio. However, the origins of the band began several decades ago when Coopwood first met Adcox after he entered Ole Miss and they pledged the same fraternity.
Shortly after college, the two wrote nineteen songs which were unearthed in January 2014 when Coopwood and engineer Iacopelli transferred over four hundred songs from analog tape to ProTools (mostly demo songs Coopwood had recorded from 1984 until 1990). Coopwood phoned Adcox and reminded him about their 1985 recordings. After several conversations, both agreed the songs should be preserved. With advice of Coopwood's friend, producer Norbert Putnam (Dan Fogelberg, Jimmy Buffett), Putnam suggested that Coopwood record the songs in Nashville with studio musicians.
According to Coopwood, "In making the record, we stuck closely to the demos from 1985 because we wanted to keep the spirit and sound of that era. We didn't want to beat the songs to death or 'slick them up'. We wanted to capture the raw emotions of each song. And, we had a 'two-take rule', meaning that we recorded all of the songs twice and choosing the best take. Whatever landed on tape during those recordings, is what made it on the record."
The album design for "Southern Gothic" was also important to the band. The CD is available in an "Environmental Wallet" and not the traditional plastic case. Just as with the music, Coopwood and Adcox wanted an album design that would reflect the historic significance of their beloved South. A plantation settlement outside of Coopwood's hometown in the Mississippi Delta was the perfect spot. Once a thriving enterprise, the old plantation home, a few "shotgun shacks", (which date back to the Civil War), and a family cemetery is all that remains today of The Blancherd Plantation.
"The ghostly silence in those shacks the afternoon we shot the photos, spoke volumes to us ... the happiness and the sadness of that history," says Coopwood.
Ultimately, Coopwood's long term passion for making music has paid off as he and Adcox complete the musical journey they began 30 years ago. With their deep roots, "Southern Gothic" is influenced by their homeland, the Mississippi Delta - that unique spot on the planet that gave birth to blues music, that in turn gave birth to rock n' roll ... the genre that changed the music of the Western Hemisphere.

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