Since his neo-psychedelic Green On Red 80s days, Chuck Prophet has been turning out country, folk, blues, and Brill Building classicism. His last visit to European and UK shores with the Mission Express was back in 2017, before the pandemic and before Chuck getting diagnosed and finally beating cancer that floored him for much of this past year. Chuck is now back and ready to tour with his Mission Express for his first European shows in six years after being postponed four times, due to pandemic lockdowns and his illness.
The cult Californian musician returns to promote ‘The Land That Time Forgot‘, his latest album out via Yep Roc Records, which saw his best reviews to date with an UNCUT Album of the Month in addition he will have an exclusive tour album available at all shows. Priced out of recording in his beloved hometown, San Francisco, Prophet found himself re-energised in Upstate NY, just a few miles from the Vermont border, and made a record that he describes as “just as much a 21st-century exorcism as it is Americana”. The songs inhabit a world where the protagonists might be on the run from the truant officer, a handsy boss or the Immigration Service. These are love songs that turn political on a dime, infused with personal connections.
Written mostly with long-time co-conspirator klipschutz, this LP steps out of Chuck’s comfort zone (“two guitars, bass, and drums”), as production took an unexpected turn. After nailing three tracks in S.F. with Grammy-winning alchemist Matt Winegar, Prophet confesses: “We hit a wall. Schedules. Money. Towed vehicles: $1000 to get one van out of lockup.” So, he went out on tour, a solo tour, to raise some much-needed funds. Driving through the Catskills, he ended up dropping into Kenny Siegal’s Old Soul Studios to finish the record, with some great company too: “At Old Soul, musicians drop in, sometimes complete blind dates. We did everything live. The drummer gigs with Kevin Morby. The bass player, out of some jazz scene. Piano player, an honorary Bad Seed. A mish-mash of personalities and styles. Turns out you can make a lot of noise with acoustic instruments, if there are enough of them.”
‘The Land That Time Forgot’ has deep roots, from the Southern Delta to the discos of Munich. There’s a kind of folkish inevitability to it – “there’s lots of acoustic instruments, on top of each other and side by side” – but as much as folk music is the soil that all music grows from, it never hurts to have a boiler room. As such, there’s always a rhythm section shuffling under your feet. Take ‘Marathon’, for example: “It’s all Krautrock bass and Everly Brothers acoustics. I threw all my rockabilly, space-age, Roxy Music tricks in there.” Throughout, Chuck finds himself on his finest-form. Not just in terms of the multifaceted songwriting – with more surprising reference points than you can count on two hands – but also his exemplary, typically out-there storytelling, too. And a not-inconsiderable presence on vocals by the inimitable Stephanie Finch.
‘Fast Kid’ is another case in point, with “as much 80s Judds in it as delta blues, Hill Country, blues, swamp or rockabilly. It’s a hopped-up T-Rex-induced Appalachian ballad about a girl growing up too fast.” The breezy ‘Best Shirt On’ is replete with Beach Boys-esque chord changes and ‘High As Johnny Thunders’ is an ode to two of Prophet’s heroes – not just the New York Dolls guitarist in the title, but Dion DiMucci too.
‘The Land That Time Forgot’ also comprises some of Prophet’s first politically-themed songs too. ‘Paying My Respects to the Train’ tells the story of Lincoln’s funeral train, retracing his route from Springfield to Washington in 1861; and the rootsy doo-wop of ‘Love Doesn’t Come from the Barrel of a Gun’ is “for all the people that would rather read a biography of The Coasters than ‘Guns and Ammo’.” Then there’s ‘Nixonland’, which recalls Prophet’s childhood growing up in the former president’s hometown, La Habra.” And, finally, wrapping up the album is ‘Get Off the Stage’, Prophet’s open letter to the former clown-in-chief whom we all hope will not return to the Oval office and forever stay off the stage.
About Chuck Prophet
Chuck Prophet – singer, songwriter, guitarist and producer. Chuck started his wild ride back in 1984 when Green on Red plucked him out of Berkeley, CA and put him in the van for an eight-year ride, recording over six albums with them. Green on Red were seminal purveyors of American Roots Rock aka Alt-country and broke up in 1992 just before an entire movement followed in their wake. Since then Chuck has recorded fourteen solo albums and toured and recorded with Lucinda Williams, Aimee Mann, Cake, Alejandro Escovedo and Jonathan Richman. In addition to that, Bruce Springsteen, Ryan Adams, Solomon Burke and Heart have covered his songs. Chuck’s live shows are second to none and have sold out gigs across the UK featuring slots on festivals like Summertyne, Kilkenny, Glastonbury, Roskilde, etc.
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Full tour dates all with support by New York City native, Kris Gruen
April 13 Mareno di Piave TV, IT – Corner Live
April 14 Savona, IT – Raindogs House
April 15 Chiari (B), IT – Toscanini Auditorium
April 16 Alessandria, IT – Ristorazione Sociale
April 17 Zurich, CH – El Lokal
April 18 Nurnberg, DE – Kunst Kultur Quartier
April 19 Hamburg, DE – Nochtspecier
April 21 Odense, DK – Dexter
April 22 Malmo, SE – Folk a Rock
April 23 Copenhagen, DK – Råhuset
April 24 Berlin, DE – Privat Club
April 25 Wesel, DE – Karo
April 27 Russelheim – Das Rind
April 28 Utrecht, NL – Ekko
April 30 Lessines, BE – Roots & Roses Festival
May 31 London, UK – The Garage £26 adv https://www.seetickets.com/event/chuck-prophet/the-garage/2470448
June 2 Nottingham, UK – Metronome £24 adv www.wegottickets.com/event/563038/
June 4 Oxford, UK – Bullingdon £25 adv https://www.wegottickets.com/emptyroompromotions
June 6 Leeds, UK – Brudenell Social Club £24 adv
June 7 Glasgow, UK – St Lukes £24 adv https://www.ticketweb.uk/event/chuck-prophet-the-mission-saint-lukes-tickets/12684135?REFERRAL_ID=tmfeed
June 10 Newcastle, UK – The Cluny £24adv https://www.ticketweb.uk/event/chuck-prophet-the-mission-the-cluny-tickets/12688135
June 11 Bury, UK – The Met £24 adv https://themet.org.uk/event/chuck-prophet-2023/
June 12 Birmingham, UK – Hare & Hounds £24 adv www.wegottickets.com/event/563433/
June 13 Bristol, UK – The Fleece £24 adv https://www.wegottickets.com/event/563199
June 14 Southampton, UK – 1865 £24 adv https://www.the1865.store/events/chuck-prophet
June 15 Hassocks, UK – Mid Sussex Music Hall £24 adv https://www.brighthelmstonepromotions.co.uk/tickets.php