New Music: Black Dub, “Surely”

Written by Music

Ken Shane would like to introduce you to the music of Black Dub, the new band project from Daniel Lanois, Trixie Whitley, and Brian Blade.

Black Dub

You’re probably aware of Daniel Lanois: His credits as a producer include work with such luminaries as U2, Peter Gabriel, Robbie Robertson, Brian Eno, Bob Dylan, and Willie Nelson. He has also released a series of idiosyncratic albums of his own, including 2008’s Here Is What Is. It isn’t overstating things to say that Lanois is one of the most in-demand producers working.

Chris Whitley was a wonderful singer/songwriter who passed away in 2005. His big break came when he was discovered by Daniel Lanois while playing in New York City, a meeting that led to Lanois helping Whitley get a deal with Columbia Records. Despite releasing a series of excellent albums, beginning with 1991’s Living With the Law, Whitley never achieved the recognition he so richly deserved. His greatest success, as I’m sure he agreed, was fathering his daughter Trixie. As a child, she was often seen at her dad’s gigs. When she got older, she lent her vocal talent to his albums. All grown up now, Trixie is a prodigiously talented singer, guitar player, keyboard player, and sometime drummer.

Drummer Brian Blade’s journey began at his birthplace in Shreveport, La. Along the way, he has become one of the most accomplished drummers on the planet, moving effortlessly between jazz, rock, pop, and country music. In addition to his own work as a leader, Blade’s discography includes work with Wayne Shorter, Joshua Redman, Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, Norah Jones, Joni Mitchell, and Bill Frisell.

These three talented musicians have now teamed up to form a band they call Black Dub, and it is one of the most exciting musical projects I’ve heard in a long time. This is the first of what I hope will be a series of stories about the band that will eventually include music and video links, interviews, album and live concert reviews, and contests featuring special prizes for our readers.

To begin with, for your consideration, here is an mp3 of Black Dub’s recording of the Daniel Lanois song “Surely.” The song was recorded live in Lanois’ studio for the Chris Douridas show on KCRW. It is the first song I ever heard the band play, although I heard it in a more acoustic version during a radio interview, and it just knocked me out. More than anything else, this track serves as an introduction to Trixie Whitley’s great voice, and the earthy, soulful sound of Black Dub.

If he refuses I still go on
‘Til the heaven and earth are gone
Time may rage, but rage in vain
My designs unchanged remain

Night is my shepherd, the moonlight is my guide
You were close by, but now the distance is so wide
You found me blind, you taught me how to see
Now it’s so hard to have you away from me

Surely you were meant to be mine
Surely you were meant to be mine
You command my hand to write
In the dark hours of deep midnight
Your love is a love, a love like no other
Wings of joy forever flutter

Surely you were meant to be mine
Surely you were meant to be mine
Surely you were meant to be mine
Surely you were meant to be mine

Fortune favors the brave they say
My bravery could not convince me to stay

If he refuses I still go on
‘Til the heaven and earth are gone
Fortune favors the brave they say
My bravery could not convince me to stay

Surely, surely you were meant to be mine
Surely you were meant to be mine
Surely you were meant to be mine
Surely you were meant to be mine.

Surely, surely, surely

Surely you were meant to be mine