Album, with five tracks produced by Dan Penn, represents the last work of singer Chris Gaffney, who passed away on April 17
TUCSON, Ariz. --The Hacienda Brothers, whose Western soul sound received worldwide acclaim in the course of the band's five-year history, will release their final album, Arizona Motel, on June 24, 2008, distributed by Proper Records. It's an unexpected memorial to the band's lead singer and original member Chris Gaffney, who tragically passed away on April 17th after a short battle with liver cancer.
The title Arizona Motel reflects the fact that The Hacienda Brothers originated, recorded and wrote the majority of their songs in Tucson, Ariz., even though the band all lived California. Arizona was more of a state of mind than a state of domicile for the Hacienda Brothers. Gaffney had planned to spend his retirement in the state.
Jeb Schoonover, manager, longtime friend and business partner with Gaffney recalls, Chris had this small but beautiful piece of land out in the desert of Southeastern Arizona. All he wanted out there was a singlewide and a satellite TV. Chris was unpretentious and that's what made him special. In this crazy music business of ours he was one to appreciate the little things like connecting with people and making others laugh. Chris never got caught up with notoriety or having hits, but if you count the number of friends as one's success, then he was truly a superstar."
These last five years with the Hacienda Brothers allowed Gaffney to spread his music and love to countless new fans. As founding partner, main songwriter and guitarist Dave Gonzalez puts it, People were really drawn to Gaffney's unique vocal style and his soulful, no b.s. delivery. He was truly one of a kind, and his presence could make everyone in the room stop whatever they were doing and just listen. I am honored to have been his friend and very lucky to have written and recorded with Chris so much."
The sessions for Arizona Motel were done in two parts. The first was last September in Nashville during the Americana Music Conference, with legendary producer Dan Penn again at the helm recording four new original songs. The band, which had been nominated for Group of the Year," did not receive the award but had already considered themselves winners because to them nothing beat playing the Ryman Auditorium (home of the awards show) and recording with Dan Penn.
In the studio, Penn put his classic touch on the country soul gem Ordinary Fool" and captured the incredible honky-tonk ballad I Still Believe." He also lent his talent as a songwriter, co-writing with Dave Gonzalez as well as producing the songs Used to the Pain" and Break Free."
The second session found the band back in Tucson at the end of their last tour in December where they went into the familiar confines of the Cavern Recording Studios for a spirited self-produced session. Several of these new recordings such as A Lot of Days Are Gone," I'll Come Running," Big Town City," and Long Way To Town" showcase the signature tight Hacienda Brothers sound. Gaffney's soulful singing can be heard throughout Arizona Motel but is especially highlighted on both Soul Mountain" and Divorce or Destroy."
Perhaps, however, the most poignant moment on the album is a song idea Gaffney brought to the band about the war. The song, titled Uncle Sam's Jail," is set in Vietnam but is every bit relevant today. Told from the soldier's point of view, the song is more about the poor man's blues than a political statement. It's an Irish-tinged ballad that has all the markings of a classic Gaffney song: simple, yet relevant, and truly heartfelt. It's the way Chris liked to live his life, and down at the Arizona Motel you will still find him there!
Dave Gonzalez of the Hacienda Brothers will tour to support the new release and celebrate the life of his friend and musical partner Chris Gaffney.