ART TERRY, LA-born singer-songwriter and Resonance FM presenter of ‘Is Black Music’, releases Sex Madness on vinyl and CD – Nov 6th, 2020. A series of video singles accompanies the album. ‘Madame Baby’, the third of these, out the same day as the CD/LP, below – and is releasing new one-off tracks every Friday this year.
Playful, passionate and tragi-comic by turns, the album aims to connect the sacred with the profane. Art’s raw and personal lyrics about modern love have a lush backdrop in his masterly piano riffs; brilliantly dense orchestration by producer Raphael Mann which includes vibraphone, viola and trombone; and complex harmonies.
Art was born and brought up in Los Angeles between two worlds: Black America’s gospel/roots traditions, and the hedonistic rock and pop culture of the city. His live performances combine these, with Art as the robed and commanding gospel preacher-cum-rock god. Art’s live performances are theatrical and compelling, and his ground-breaking show, Is Black Music, on London’s Resonance FM is a must-listen.
As a 17-year-old pianist Art shocked his church as he turned a sacred Christian hymn into a lubricious rocker. He was cast out and became a runaway; playing in the seamy late 1970s punk clubs of downtown Los Angeles and in Europe – Berlin in particular – living in squats and art collectives and surviving on a diet of shoplifted food, hashish and freaky music.
The songs on Sex Madness explore sexuality, Black politics and religion, through a fusion of psych-folk and orchestrated funk. ‘Can’t Get No Pussy’ was inspired by the archaic oral sex laws in certain US states such as Georgia, which imprisoned young teenagers including Genarlow Wilson. While ‘Ask Her’ explores the definition and genderfication of God. The preacher declares his worship of female genitalia – the origin of humankind.
‘Casual Sex’ is a is a collaboration between Art and the artist Stew of Stew & The Negro Problem. Stew created the Emmy-winning musical Passing Strange (filmed by Spike Lee), exploring their experiences as innocents abroad in Europe as young men. ‘Casual Sex’ was written in Berlin, one of the cities where Passing Strange is set. Art has performed as a keyboardist with Stew & the Negro Problem at various prestigious venues. The New York Times described Art’s piano-playing as ‘terrific’ while reviewing another of Stew’s music-theatre works, a piece on the African-American writer and polemicist, James Baldwin called Notes On A Native Son.
Art Terry is a Native Son making his mark in a strange land. As well as this album, during the Spring of this year he created a song a day for 52 days – his Lockdown Songbook – as he caught, suffered and recovered from COVID-19. Every Friday this summer he has released a new song and video – titles include The Statue Of Liberty Is Black; Floyd, Floyd, Floyd and Black Hollywood. Art is currently working on his follow-up to Sex Madness entitled Black Bohemian.