A modern songwriter inspired by the swampy grit, juke-joint swagger, and countrified twang of old-school American roots music, King Corduroy has been chasing his singular muse for years, making his own kind of “cosmic southern soul music” along the way. It’s a sound anchored by a genuine reverence for the good stuff — including Texas electric blues, Memphis soul, New Orleans voodoo funk, the Tulsa groove and Mississippi Delta blues — and updated to suit the unique experience of a storyteller, multi-instrumentalist, wandering troubadour, and larger-than-life frontman who’s lived everywhere from the Bible Belt to the Mexican Baja.
Those travels play a central role on King Corduroy’s fourth release, Avalon Ave., whose five songs match King Corduroy’s colorful appearance — equal parts 1970s-era Leon Russell, Southern rock bluesman, and hippie mystic — with soulful performances and real-life stories sourced from his own rambles.
“It’s all about storytelling,” explains the musician, who was raised in Montgomery, Alabama, before logging time in cities like Austin, Los Angeles, Todos Santos, and Nashville. “I go around, I see stuff, and then I report it by telling these stories. There are different types of troubadours who have carried that tradition. Ernest Tubb was The Texas Troubadour. Woody Guthrie was The Dustbowl Troubadour. I’m a cosmic troubadour — The Cosmic Troubadour of Southern Soul.”
Avalon Ave. was largely recorded at the iconic FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, where Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin, Jerry Reed, Band of Horses, and Jason Isbell all tracked some of their most enduring work. An Alabama native himself, Corduroy already had several ties to the studio and its legendary client list. His 2014 EP, Livin’ on Nashville Time, was engineered by Jerry Reed’s former guitarist, Mark Thornton, and recorded alongside members of the late country star’s band, while his 2018 release, L.A. Skyline, was co-engineered by former Lucinda Williams drummer Dave Raven and former Band of Horses bassist Bill Reynolds. Avalon Ave. helped bring those connections full circle, with King Corduroy tapping Jimbo Hart — longtime bassist for Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit — as the project’s producer. Hart brought along Isbell bandmates drummer Chad Gamble and Derry deBorja on accordion and Moog, St. Paul & The Broken Bones organist Al Gamble, Muscle Shoals session regulars Barry Billings on acoustic guitar and NC Thurman on Wurlitzer and piano for the recording sessions, rounding out a studio band that also included a multi-piece horn section, three R&B backup singers, two string arrangements by Dayna Bee, and lead guitarist/slide disciple Kaleb “Junior” Patterson; who teamed up with Corduroy after sharing a bill at the now defunct Americana oasis The Piano Bar in Hollywood. The result is a record stocked with blasts of brass, electric guitar, layers of gospel harmonies, swirling organ, honking harmonica, and the swaggering southern drawl of King Corduroy’s voice.
“These songs are a collection of true stories,” he explains. The worldly kickoff track “Everyone Has to Love” urges its listener to live in the moment, catalyzed by a conversation with a globe-trotting vagabond during King Corduroy’s first four-month stay in the Baja Peninsula, while the album-closing “Emerald Triangle Blues” was inspired by the tales of an employer during his seasonal work trimming leaves and harvesting crops in Northern California’s marijuana fields. During the funky, Stax-sized “Shamrock Inn,” Corduroy tells the story of a tenant at the seedy East Hollywood rehearsal space where he briefly lived during his first months in Los Angeles. And with “Workin’ for a Livin’,” he delivers “a universal message about doing whatever it takes to get by — to keep the tires on the trailer and keep moving.”
King Corduroy has built a colorful career upon his dedication to do whatever it takes to get by. Back in 2014 — the same year he recorded Livin’ on Nashville Time, and one year after the release of his full-length debut, Austin Soul Stew — he attended the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival as a fan, procured a pair of artist passes, and talked his way onstage, where he ripped a harmonica solo alongside fellow performers Dierks Bentley, Ed Helms, and Brent Mason. “I 100% believe you can manifest things,” he says, attributing the “cosmic” portion of his self-described cosmic southern soul to a willingness to tune into the cosmos.
Years later, he’s still building that bridge between his organic sound — a rootsy gumbo of sounds sourced from the American South — and a more spiritual realm. Inspired by personal experiences and the storybook-worthy characters who’ve filled King Corduroy’s adult life, Avalon Ave. is his finest work to date: a collection of songs that are every bit as colorful and genuine as their creator.
“A little Dr. John, a little Leon Russell and a lot of cosmic country cool.” – NPR Music
“Soulful… like a young Leon Russell.” – Billboard
“Bluesy, genre-melding tune.” –The Boot
“A mantra for purposeful living — and working.” – Wide Open Country
“A modern songwriter inspired by the swampy grit, juke-joint swagger, and countrified twang of old-school American roots music.” – Glide Magazine
Publicist: Rachel Hurley
Rachel is a true fan of music and that passion fuels her work ethic. She was always willing to take the time to talk with me on the phone when I needed advice, and she offered me more opportunities than were even a part of her job description. I couldn’t be happier with the results of my campaign and I would recommend Rachel to anyone seeking a publicist! She always finds a way to prioritize your project and will put in the extra hours, even if it’s a weekend. There is no doubt in my mind that if you want to build your brand you MUST have a publicist; it doesn’t matter how good your music is, without the PR it is damn near impossible to get any substantial results when promoting your release.” – King Corduroy