Swamp Dogg Details 'Blackgrass: From West Virginia to 125th St,' Shares “Mess Under That Dress”

His debut for the late John Prine's Oh Boy Records features Jenny Lewis, Margo Price, Vernon Reid and Justin Vernon

BY Allie GregoryPublished Mar 5, 2024

Swamp Dogg is back with plans for a new album to follow 2022's I Need a Job...So I Can Buy More Auto-Tune. Entering his seventh decade of recording, the producer/songwriter will make his debut on Oh Boy Records with Blackgrass: From West Virginia to 125th St on May 31.

A family affair, the album includes guest spots from Margo Price, Vernon Reid, Jenny Lewis, Justin Vernon, and the Cactus Blossoms. It was produced by Ryan Olson and recorded alongside the musician born Jerry Williams Jr.'s backing band, which includes Noam Pikelny, Sierra Hull, Jerry Douglas, Chris Scruggs, Billy Contreras and Kenny Vaughan.

“Not a lot of people talk about the true origins of bluegrass music,” the 81-year-old Swamp Dogg said of the record in a release, “but it came from Black people. The banjo, the washtub, all that stuff started with African Americans. We were playing it before it even had a name. I’m trying to touch on every kind of music I grew up loving and listening to. This is my way of letting people know that I’m not just a soul singer or whatever they think I am. I’m so much more.”

He added, “It means a hell of a lot to put this record out on the label that John [Prine] started. He wrote some of the greatest songs of all time, songs that could make you dance inside. He was like a pastor on Sunday, getting you to think about what’s going on in the world and how we should be coping with it. I always want to give thanks to John.”

Today, Williams shares the record's first single, "Mess Under That Dress," which you can listen to below.

In related news, feature-length documentary Swamp Dogg Gets His Pool Painted will have its premiere at SXSW this Friday, March 8.

Blackgrass: From West Virginia to 125th St:

1. Mess Under That Dress
2. Ugly Man’s Wife
3. Curtains on the Window
4. Have a Good Time
5. To the Other Woman (feat. Margo Price)
6. Songs to Sing
7. Count the Days (feat. Jenny Lewis)
8. Gotta Have My Baby Back
9. Your Best Friend
10. This Is My Dream
11. Rise Up (feat. Vernon Reid)
12. Murder Ballad

Pre-order Blackgrass: From West Virginia to 125th St.

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