October 11, 2007


New album due January 23, 2007 features Reggie Young, Bob Babbit, Ed Greene, David Hungate, Thad Cockrell, Al Perkins, Catherine Marx and more...pays tribute to Scott Kempner

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Two clarifications up front: The New Punk Blues of Ed Pettersen is a folk album. Of course. And Pettersen, often mispronounced or misspelled, is pronounced “Peterson.” But who is Ed Pettersen? And why does everyone on both sides of the river in Nashville seem to know him, like him and want to help him?

The New Punk Blues . . ., Pettersen’s “fifth or sixth” album, features his eclectic song craft as well as some stellar sidemen: Reggie Young (Memphis and Muscle Shoals guitarist who played on hits like “Cry Like a Baby” and “Suspicious Minds”), Bob Babbitt (bassist on “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” and “Midnight Train to Georgia”); Ed Greene (drummer for Marvin Gaye at 19, later heard on Glen Campbell and Barry White hits); Catherine Marx (keyboardist for Merle Haggard, BR549, Charley Pride, among others); Thad Cockrell (Yep Roc artist and member of duo with Caitlin Cary); Al Perkins (pedal steel man with the Flying Burrito Brothers, Byrds and Rolling Stones); David Hungate (Toto); Pete Abbott (Average White Band) and Leif Johansen (a-ha!). Needless to say, you won’t hear a lot of wrong notes.

The New Punk Blues of Ed Pettersen will be released January 23, 2007 on Split Rock Records, distributed through Thirty Tigers and RED Distribution. Its curious title is a throwback to an era when albums had titles like Muddy Waters’ Real Folk Blues. The album jacket recalls the classic era of Blue Note Records.

There are songs on Punk Blues about never being able to go back to where you’ve been, even as you live within the shadows of what you’ve left behind (“Chelsea”) and songs about trying to make sense of senseless times (“Gather the Family ‘Round”). There are songs written from the viewpoint of a missing child (“Tabitha”) and from a place on the living room couch, watching hell unfold on TV from half a world away (“Baghdad”). There are songs about people Ed has known: his friend, former flat-mate and mentor Scott Kempner of The Dictators and Del-Lords (“Top Ten”), his wandering sailor grandfather (“June, 1945”), and even Ed himself (“Burning Up”).

Like many modern day songwriters, Pettersen draws on a variety of influences. The New Punk Blues favors his folk side, but the title offers the first clue that this is not your traditional acoustic folk record. Tracks with sparse acoustic arrangements highlighting Pettersen’s lyrics mingle with electric numbers featuring his all-star band. The title is also a personal reflection of Pettersen’s intensity, as revealed in such lyrics as “On my tombstone let it read, here lies he not afraid to bleed.” Therein one may also find the answer to why so many people in his new hometown are rooting for Pettersen.

No Depression once wrote of Pettersen’s live set: “His infectious good spirits and engaging set of solo acoustic rock ’n’ roll brings smiles to even the most tried and testy weekend warriors.”

At the end of the day, for Pettersen the focus is always on the song. The artist sums it up best himself when he says, “When the audience is breathing with me, I know I got it right.”

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