Dana Fuchs is proud to announce the release of its eighth album, Borrowed time April 29. This is his fourth release for German indie Ruf Records.
With her feet planted on both sides of the blues-rock divide, Dana Fuchs is one of the fiercest voices in modern roots music. She’s part soul singer and part blues singer, telling her own story – a tale of small-town roots, family tragedy, hardship and triumph – in the amped-up anthems and haunting ballads that fill albums like avenue of happiness and love lives. With her new project, Borrowed Time, she dives deep into her Southern rock upbringing, hailing the loud, guitar-driven sounds that marked her childhood in rural Wildwood, Florida.
Wildwood was a small place for someone with such big ideas. Raised by an outspoken family of Irish Catholic New Yorkers, Fuchs did not fit the conservative culture of her hometown, and she developed a reputation as a rebel at a young age. The music helped her to level herself. “My first-grade teacher took me under her wing,” she says of her early days in the Deep South. “I loved the music, so she took me to her Baptist church on the black side of town, where I was exposed to a lot of soul. That sound stuck with me.”
Equally influential were the bands his older siblings favored, from classic British rockers like The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin to American bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd. It was music that sounded like home, full of gospel grit and bluesy bombshell. At the same time, it offered a glimpse of a larger universe that lay beyond the borders of Wildwood. At a young age, Dana learned that rock & roll was not the story of the American South. It was the story of the modern world.
Borrowed Time explores an equally universal territory. Arrived several years after Love Lives On – his homage to Memphis staples like Stax/Volt, Hi Records and Sun Studios, with groove-driven soulful songs that served as the backdrop for personal lyrics about his family’s struggle against drug addiction and mental illness – the new album looks outward, replacing the autobiographical spirit of previous records with tracks that follow the paths of other characters. “It’s the first time I’ve told the stories of so many other people,” she admits. “Over the past two years most people have realized that there is no going back to normal. And really, do we want it? I went back to school and had a baby during the pandemic, so hopefully I’m coming from a better place of wisdom and empathy when creating music now. It was time to step outside of myself and deliver songs from the perspective of another person. We are all together on this planet, after all, living on borrowed time.
“Nothing You Own,” with its raspy vocals and guitar arpeggios, is inspired by a report about impoverished South Africans in a Cape Town slum, while the mid-tempo “Call My Name” tells the story. of two women living through Liberia’s war in a refugee camp, into a universal story about love and camaraderie. “Double Down on Wrong,” which opens the album with rock and foursome riffs and drumming, even takes aim at the politicians who have sown distrust and discord in our daily lives. To find a musical backdrop to these stories of beauty, suffering and humanity, Fuchs let go of the reins at Tom Ruf’s request and hired an outside producer for the first time. She found a “walking encyclopedia of all genres of music” in producer Bobby Harlow, who encouraged her to focus not on the mix of genre influences that permeated her earlier work, but on rock & roll that first captured his attention back. the biblical belt.
Along with bandmates like bassist Jack Daley and guitarist Jon Diamond – the latter of whom had taken Fuchs under his wing during his New York debut, guided his early explorations of blues music, and co-produced his first four albums – Fuchs led at the Snowy Michigan. There, joined by guitarist and engineer Kenny Tudrick (The Detroit Cobras), drummer Todd Glass and keyboardist Jordan Champion, the band recorded Borrowed Time in eight inspired days. “We followed everything live, and it was the first time that we recorded an album with another guitarist,” explains Fuchs. “We were looking for that rootsy, Stonesy rock & roll sound, so it was like having Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards in the band. The guys were just starting to jam, and suddenly a song written on acoustic guitar turned into this big rocker , and we were recording it on the spot. The most takes we did of a single song until we got it right was three. It was the fastest album I had never done.
For fans who first encountered Dana Fuchs in the off-Broadway musical Love, Janis (where she played Janis Joplin) or the Golden Globe-nominated film Across the Universe (where she sang “Helter Skelter” from Beatles), Borrowed Time also makes plenty of space to showcase his star-stealing vocals. British magazine Classic Rock called these vocals a “dirty and illicit juke joint, reminiscent of Joplin, Jagger and a cigarette dancing in a glass of bourbon”, while PopMatters enthused, “Dana Fuchs has one of those unmistakable voices, one perfect for exploring the confluence of blues and soul, the places where Otis Redding and Janis Joplin rub shoulders and the night and smoke thicken.” The praise is well-deserved, with Fuchs making Borrowed Time a showcase not only for its raw, rock-inspired rasp, but also for the southern twang of “Lonely Lie” (“it’s my homage to Lucinda Williams, who took the country in this this dirty place that I love,” she says) and the gruff Springsteen-sized delivery of the album’s title track.
You can remove the singer from Wildwood, but you cannot remove the Wildwood from the singer. Decades after her musical awakening in small-town Florida, Dana Fuchs pays fitting homage to southern sounds — especially the loud, shaking slash-and-burn of rock & roll — with Borrowed Time. “In my genre, you’ll never do a show without someone asking for ‘Freebird,'” she laughs. “Instead of covering Skynyrd, I just made my own southern rock album.” Borrowed Time also found her with Ruf Records, returning Fuchs to the label’s roster following the independent release of Love Lives On.
With songs that emphasize support and brotherhood in times of struggle, Borrowed Time is an album for the present, inspired by the incendiary music of the past. “This marks the beginning of Chapter 2, in music and in life,” says Fuchs. “I go out into the world and write about the people who share it with me. My own story will always be there too, but this is the first album where other people’s stories inform my own emotions.”