Publishing: Warner Chappell
Publishing Affiliation: ASCAP
Album Title: Out Of The Woodshed
Record Label: Men Art Productions
Bo Menart’s roots-infused debut solo album Out of the Woodshed, is the culmination of a lifetime spent as a player, singer, songwriter, record producer, and studio engineer. Co-produced by Menart and veteran producer-engineer-guitarist Simon Higgs, the collection features six original songs written or co-written by Menart and seven covers heard in brilliantly imaginative and unexpected arrangements.
Menart recruited a host of notable musicians active on Los Angeles stages and in local studios many of whom he has collaborated with over the course of his career to lend their talents. He says, “Over the years I’ve worked with all of these players at some time, so I knew who the good people were.” The core rhythm section includes bassist Larry Antonino (Jeff Beck, Ronnie Laws, Pablo Cruise, The Wonders), drummer Anastasios “Toss” Panos (Sting, Steven Stills, Paul Rodgers), and keyboardist Arlan Schierbaum (Joe Bonamassa, Mandrill). Guest stars include guitarist Elliott Randall (Steely Dan); pedal steel guitarists Jay Dee Maness (The Byrds’ Sweetheart of the Rodeo, Buck Owens Buckaroos) and Greg Leisz (Lucinda Williams, Dave Alvin, KD Lang); drummer Stacey Lamont Sydnor (Jacksons, Mandrill); fiddler/violinist Lisa Haley (The Zydekats); accordionist Eddie Baytos (Annie Lennox, ZZ Top), and Latin percussionist Luis Conte (Madonna, James Taylor, Phil Collins).
“I think its unique,” Menart says of the album, much of which he recorded in an eight-by-twelve-foot shack (seen on the record’s cover) behind his home in Shadow Hills, CA. “I took advantage of the fact that I could do pretty much anything I wanted. If I heard something, I put it in there.”
The album’s smartly reimagined covers include the leadoff single, a stirring take on John Prine’s “Paradise”; a ballad version of the Beatles’ rocker “She Loves You” (with a melodic lift from the Fab Four’s “It’s Only Love”); a surprising Dixieland reading of the Lovin’ Spoonful’s blissful “Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind”; a countrified take on the Otis Redding/Aretha Franklin soul masterwork “Respect”; a string-infused reading of David Allan Coe’s “Chapel Bells”; and (in a masterful play on the Blind Boys of Alabama’s Grammy-winning 2001 reading of “Amazing Grace”) a reconfigured rendition of the blues ballad “House of the Rising Sun,” sung to the tune of the gospel standard.
Now Out Of The Woodshed once and for all with this highly original and soulful offering, Bo Menart is already contemplating his future solo projects. “I’ve already conceptualized my next three or four albums in my head,” he says. “I have material done for my second album, which is going to be a band record.”
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