FORMER BR549 FRONTMAN DRAWS INSPIRATION FROM HOME STATE FOR HIS NEW SOLO SET.
Country singer Chuck Mead may not be in Kansas anymore, but his new album sure is rooted there.
Free State Serenade, premiering at USA TODAY a week in advance of its March 4 release, draws inspiration from stories the Lawrence, Kan., native associates with his home state.
Mead has described the album as “Kansas noir,” with songs about the Clutter family murder that inspired Truman Capote’s book In Cold Blood and the Civil War’s Lawrence Massacre. Musically, the album ranges from the acoustic folk of Knee Deep in the Walkarusa to the revved-up rockabilly of Evil Wind.
Mead has lived in Nashville for the past 20 years, first forming the acclaimed country band BR549 and more recently working as the music director for the Broadway show Million Dollar Quartet. For Free State Serenade, he’s backed by his band, the Grassy Knoll Boys, with guest appearances from BR549′s Don Herron and Old Crow Medicine Show’s Critter Fuqua.
Free State Serenade is Mead’s first album for Plowboy Records, a Nashville record label founded by former Dead Boys guitarist Cheetah Chrome, author/professor Don Cusic and Shannon Pollard, the grandson of country music great Eddy Arnold.
Mead will play an album release party March 5 at The Basement in Nashville.