Preview: Sandy Bull's Final Album, "Steel Tears", Set For Reissue in Expanded Edition

Artist: Sandy Bull
Title: Steel Tears
Release Date: April 13, 2018
Label: Omnivore Recordings
Format(s):
  • CD 
  • Digital
Alexander Bull, better known as Sandy Bull, was an accomplished player of many stringed instruments: guitar, pedal steel, banjo and oud. He helped connect the ’60s folk movement to later ’60s psychedelia, and set the model for latter-day finger-picking artists John Fahey, Leo Kottke, and Robbie Basho.
 
As musician Buddy Miller says, “Sandy Bull did it first, he laid the foundation, he built the highways, a visionary who heard music as a communal stew pot. In the ’60s, just having a Sandy Bull record in your collection made a statement about your musicality and mind.” 
 
Steel Tears (1996), Bull’s seventh album, was the innovative artist’s final album prior to his death in 2001. The album also reveals his deep love of country music, which stems back to his childhood when his father would play Hank Williams records. 
 
The first-ever reissue of Steel Tears, set for release by Omnivore Recordings on April 13, 2018, features the newly remastered album alongside Endventions, four previously unissued tracks. 

Wrapping up the disc are three tributes recorded in Nashville by a band that includes some pretty well known Sandy Bull fans: Jeff Hanna (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band), Matraca Berg, Mickey Raphael (Willie Nelson), Kevin Welch, Glenn Worf (Mark Knopfler) and Harry Stinson (Marty Stuart). “Love Is Forever” features Sandy’s vocals with Berg singing back up and Raphael adding harmonica. Hanna takes lead on “I May Never Pass Out” and the ensemble wraps up the tribute tracks with a run through the instrumental “Jesse James Jam.” 
 
According to annotator Joe Hagan, “A musical alchemist, introvert, gearhead, former junky, itinerant wanderer and erstwhile musicologist, his adventurous investigations of stringed instruments, whether guitar, banjo, the Hindustani sarod or the Turkish oud, predated celebrated savants like John Faheyand Leo Kottke. But Bull’s music got lost in the haze of his brief career, which began with the seminal Fantasia in 1964 and seemingly ended with an ode to self-destruction, Demolition Derby, in 1972. It would be 16 years before he would make another record, by which time Sandy Bull was largely forgotten. In many ways Steel Tears, first released in 1996 on his own label, stands as the musical testimony of a man trying to make sense of his own history. These eleven songs form a kind of playlist as memoir, drawn from hard-won memories and a lifelong love of music, all of it shot through with sincerity and friendship.” 
 
As Bull’s son, Jackson Bull, added to the liner notes, “Whether you’re a fan of country, folk, rock, soul, jazz, or whatever, this project is a testament that good music has no boundaries.”


Track List:
  • Arabalabama
  • Long As We’re Dreaming 
  • Can I Get A Witness 
  • Old Habits Like You 
  • Love Is Forever 
  • I Don’t Care 
  • It Should be Easier Now 
  • My Baby Left Me 
  • Steel Tears 
  • Sideshow 
  • I May Never Pass Out 
  • Endventions & Tributes:
    • Nagra Sarod (Take 1)
    • Rhumba
    • Nagra Guitar (Take 1)
    • Strat 1
    • Love Is Forever (featuring Matracta Berg & Mickey Raphael) 
    • I May Never Pass Out (featuring Jeff Hanna & Kevin Welsh)
    • Jesse James Jam
    • Sandy’s Last Word



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