‘Rockabilly Riot’: Brian Setzer Talks New Album, Gretsch Guitars and Future of Rockabilly
Following last year’s successful Christmas tour with his 18-piece orchestra, iconic guitarist, songwriter and three-time Grammy winner Brian Setzer entered the studio to get back to his rockabilly roots — with incredible results.
Setzer’s new album, Rockabilly Riot: All Original, which will be released August 12 via Surfdog Records, is pure, straight-ahead rockabilly that features 12 new, original songs. Along with his trademark twang and fretboard fire, Setzer is backed by three musicians who are among the best at their craft — Mark Winchester (bass), Kevin McKendree (piano) and Noah Levy (drums).
The album, which was recorded in Nashville, was produced by Peter Collins, who handled those same duties for Setzer’s Vavoom! and The Dirty Boogie. The result is a cross-mix of early Stray Cats and Setzer’s solo records, with an emphasis on a fresh, modern rockabilly sound.
Setzer first captured the hearts of guitarists everywhere as founder and frontman of Stray Cats, whose signature songs “Rock This Town,” “(She’s) Sexy & 17” and “Stray Cat Strut” introduced the sound and attitude of rockabilly to a new generation of rock fans in the early Eighties.
I recently spoke to Setzer about Rockabilly Riot: All Original, his early days, guitars and what the future holds for rockabilly music.
GUITAR WORLD: How would you describe the sound of Rockabilly Riot?
To me, it sounds a little bit like a mixture of an album I had called Ignition and the first Stray Cats album. The production of it is straight forward, but it really is songs first. Then I make them into rockabilly just by me playing them.
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