The well-respected blues label Severn Records is far-too-often overlooked in the shadow of larger and more prolific records labels. Nonetheless, it's easy to tell that the folks behind Severn are true blues fans, and during the past couple of years they've released solid albums from folks like Sugar Ray & the Bluetones, guitarist Johnny Moeller, singer Tad Robinson, and many others. After receiving a couple of recent press releases from the company, however, one has very good reason to believe that Severn is going to the birds!
First we heard the news that the label has signed legendary blues-n-roots band the Nighthawks to a deal, with an as-of-yet untitled album already completed and being readied for release in early 2012. Led by founder Mark Wenner on vocals and harmonica, the Nighthawks include guitarist Paul Bell, bassist Johnny Castle, and new drummer Mark Stutso. The band is coming off one of its best years yet in a career that began back in the early 1970s, earning their first Blues Music Award earlier this year for their acoustic-blues masterpiece Last Train To Bluesville.
As if the Nighthawks news wasn't enough, it came across our email this morning that Severn Records has hooked up with a different sort of "bird" in signing the Fabulous Thunderbirds. Forming in the early 1970s and contemporaries of the Nighthawks, the Fabulous Thunderbirds helped bring Texas-styled blues to the mainstream. The current band consists of co-founder, singer, and harp player Kim Wilson; brothers Johnny and Jay Moeller on guitar and drums, respectively; guitarist Mike Keller; and bassist Randy Bermudes. The band will enter the studio in the near future to record their Severn Records debut, which is tentatively scheduled for early 2012 release.
"We are thrilled to have the Fabulous Thunderbirds as part of the Severn family and to have the opportunity to give Kim and the band's music a home," Severn Records President David Earl said in a press release. "Their style will fit in perfectly with what we do and we are looking forward to the first studio sessions in the creation of a new Thunderbirds album." Adds legendary Thunderbirds frontman Kim Wilson, "I'm really excited about being a part of Severn Records; we have a great rapport with David Earl and I feel at home already. The creative family atmosphere he provides is something that is very rare in any business these days."
Congratulations to Severn Records for signing two of the most beloved and enduring bands in the blues! We'll have more details on albums from both bands as they become available.
Photo by Linda Parker, courtesy the Nighthawks