Before leaving for France — where he's awaiting the birth of his son — local musician Harlan T. Bobo wrapped up another production, his third album for Goner Records. Tentatively titled Life Is Sweet, the album, which was recorded at Easley-McCain, features some familiar conspirators, including percussionist Tim Prudhomme, bassist Jeremy Scott, drummer Paul Buchignani, and guitarists Jack Yarber and Shawn Cripps, as well as Doug Easley on pedal steel, violinist Roy Brewer, and vocals from Barbaras frontman Bennett Foster.
"It's a mishmash like the last record," says Prudhomme, explaining that some tracks were started at Bobo's home in 2008 and finished in the studio last month. "Harlan, Doug, and I have been going back and forth about what sounds like shit and what sounds perfectly wonderful."
Bobo's not the only $5 Cover featured performer with a new release in the works: Lucero spent much of April holed up in Ardent's Studio A with producer Ted Hutt. Before heading out for a West Coast tour, the band was tracking its eighth album — Lucero's first for Universal Music Group's Republic imprint — slated for release this fall.
Earlier this spring, Two Way Radio entered Ardent with Scott Bomar at the helm to record basic tracks for 15 songs before moving to Bomar's downtown studio, Electraphonic, for overdubs and Young Avenue Sound for mixing. Last week, the band returned to Ardent with the final product, which was mastered by Larry Nix.
"It's ready to go, but I'm not sure what we're going to do with it," says Bomar, who served as a producer on Craig Brewer's MTV series, $5 Cover.
"I've told the bands this myself," Bomar continues. "If you think [$5 Cover] alone is going to do work for you and you can sit back and wait, you're not going to accomplish anything. You have to use this opportunity to open other doors. Being on MTV gives you a little ammunition, but by itself, it's not going to do anything. Fortunately, as Hustle & Flow has proven, these things have a really long lifespan. Hopefully, $5 Cover will be seen more and more via the webisodes, and people will continue to discover these artists."
In the meantime, Bomar's kept busy, recording projects with Jay Reatard, Jeffrey Novak, and cellist Jonathan Kirkscey and pushing The Safecracker, the debut album from retro instrumental soul group the City Champs, which Bomar released on his own label (also called Electraphonic) earlier this year. So far, the band's got worldwide distribution, and one song, "Poppin'," has gotten play on NPR. Up next on Electraphonic: "Work That Skirt," a 45 rpm single from "Disco Lady" co-author Harvey Scales and Bomar's own group, The Bo-Keys.
"Putting out the single is the first step for me to put out a new album by the Bo-Keys," he says, noting that it's been five years since The Royal Sessions was released on Yellow Dog Records. "We've been talking to labels, but it hasn't worked out. The way the climate is now, it's harder than it's ever been to get a record deal. There aren't as many labels with the money to take risks on bands. I feel like I've got enough contacts to put it out myself and do almost as much as a label can do."
May also brought new releases from Memphis rappers Teflon Don (God, The Government, The Game), Juicy J (Hustle Till I Die), and DJ Paul and Lord Infamous (Scale-A-Ton), the long-awaited collaboration between half-brothers Paul Beauregard and Ricky "Lord Infamous" Dunigan, which debuted at #157 on the Billboard charts on May 5th.
"It was touching. It was good to see that people still look for Lord Infamous," says Dunigan, who co-founded Three 6 Mafia with DJ Paul and Juicy J but split from the group long before 2006's Academy Award win for "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp."
"Our mother, Juanita Beauregard, died on February 2nd after battling diabetes for a long time," Dunigan says. "Paul and I were always cool, but we decided to put whatever differences we had behind us to do something and dedicate it to her."