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Elvin Bishop's Big Fun Trio Return With SOMETHING SMELLS FUNKY 'ROUND HERE On July 13

[05/21/2018]
Deceptively loose but always tight…the raspy chuckle in Bishop’s singing and the sharp sting of his guitar are forceful and fresh, enduring and fun.
–Fresh Air, NPR

Raw and simple and utterly endearing.
--RELIX

Elvin Bishop has always been big fun and is the ringmaster in his own blues circus. With Willy Jordan and Bob Welsh, Bishop whomps out tough, muscular and rollicking boogie-infused blues.
--No Depression


Legendary guitarist, singer and songwriter Elvin Bishop and his Big Fun Trio -- Bob Welsh on piano and guitar and Willy Jordan on cajón (a hand-played Peruvian drumbox) and vocals -- are set to release their new Alligator Records album, Something Smells Funky 'Round Here, on Friday, July 13. The album is a follow up to the group's 2017 Grammy-nominated self-titled debut.

Something Smells Funky ‘Round Here was produced by Bishop and recording engineer Steve Savage and recorded at Bishop’s Hog Heaven Studio in Lagunitas, California. Bishop wrote or co-wrote five songs (including two by the entire trio). The album mixes rousing new originals, reinventions of three Bishop classics and some unexpected, soul-shaking covers. The potent title track – a tongue-in-cheek State Of The Union address as only Elvin can deliver -- kicks the album off with Bishop aiming his lyrical truths at those in power. The humorous but piercingly direct lyrics take aim at the current political scene while Bishop’s deep blues guitar playing drives the point home. Lookin’ Good finds Bishop autobiographically gazing in the rearview mirror with sharp, wry lyrics accompanied by Welsh’s perfect blues piano. Jordan sings lead on four songs, including blistering reinventions of Jackie Wilson’s Higher And Higher and Ann Peebles’ I Can’t Stand The Rain. Welsh, whose guitar or piano playing highlight every song, pounds the ivories on his own Bob’s Boogie. “This album fell together easily,” says Bishop. “Everything I visualized about the songs – from Bob’s playing to Willy’s singing, came true. Bob and Willy are great musicians.”

Ever since Rock & Roll and Blues Hall Of Famer Elvin Bishop first hit the scene with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band back in 1965, he’s blazed his own musical trail. Whether he was playing raw, eye-popping blues, or penning the evergreen radio hit Fooled Around And Fell In Love, or touring the world for decades delivering his original, good-time countrified blues, Bishop has always inspired his fans with his rowdy guitar playing and witty, slice-of-life songs. Rolling Stone calls Bishop “a legendary guitarist” whose playing is “impeccable and spirited…a distinguished American player.”

Elvin Bishop formed The Big Fun Trio in late 2015 with his friends Bob Welsh and Willy Jordan PERIOD After playing just a handful of live dates, the group’s instantly crowd-pleasing music and undeniable chemistry took the blues world by storm. With the release of their self-titled CD in 2017, media and fan response was immediate and overwhelming. DownBeat celebrated Bishop’s “verbal hijinks, outstanding guitar work and country boy friendliness.” OffBeat said The Big Fun Trio was “intricate, funky and uplifting,” declaring them, “consistently great.” With its top-shelf musicianship and front-porch vibe, the album earned a Grammy Award nomination, and won Blues Music Awards for Album Of The Year and Song Of The Year (for the title track) from The Blues Foundation.

The Big Fun Trio quickly discovered the more they played live, the more fun they had making music together. So a follow-up recording was an easy decision. The new album, Something Smells Funky ‘Round Here, finds the group fearlessly laying it all on the line. According to Elvin, “With a trio there’s no place to hide­—you’ve got to be pourin’ everything you got right out front. You need to be totally into it all the time. It’s really cool to see how people react to the goin’-for-it feel of the music.”

According to San Francisco Bay native Jordan, who has decades of experience playing drums with artists including John Lee Hooker, Joe Louis Walker and Angela Strehli, playing in the Big Fun Trio is “crazy different. It’s rootsy but also new. We all stayed simple to stay strong.” Welsh, originally from Covington, Louisiana, has performed and toured with Bishop, Rusty Zinn, Charlie Musselwhite, Billy Boy Arnold, James Cotton and others. Welsh says he too loves playing in the Trio. “Playing this music is fun and fresh and new to us. It keeps us on our toes. We’re always surprising each other. We have to be fearless.”

With Something Smells Funky ‘Round Here, Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio are clearly having a very good time. Having spent almost three years performing, these three tremendously talented musicians continue to inspire each other to new heights. As Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio take their music back on the road, fans will once again have a chance to experience the big fun first hand. According to Living Blues, “Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio has wonderful chemistry and are a joy to hear.”