Kallie North and Jessy Wilson, the duo known as Muddy Magnolias, quickly forged a musical friendship in 2013, one that has blossomed into a thrillingly organic blend of Seventies funk, seductive R&B, country roots and soul-searing gospel music. Yet, in the tough-minded title track from their upcoming LP, Broken People, they eloquently express the jagged nature of walking through life feeling lost and disconnected, harnessing a vibe that's reminiscent of the Staple Singers and other socially conscious acts of that genre-blending era. (Listen to the song below.)
"Kallie and I have been so inspired by how artists like Bill Withers wrote about the times they were in," Wilson tells Rolling Stone Country. "That's what we set out to do when we wrote 'Broken People.' The one thing all of humanity has in common is brokenness. We're all just out here trying to find our way."
Broken People, the debut album from the duo who garnered early acclaim while performing as an unsigned act at 2014's CMA Music Fest, forged their eclectic sound through their individual experience, with North's roots in southeast Texas and the Mississippi Delta, and Wilson born and raised in Brooklyn. From their first experience of writing together, they didn't give much thought to the melding of their unique influences, finding their songwriting blend as natural and unaffected as their sweet, powerful harmony singing.
Produced by Rick Beato, with additional production by Mario Marchetti and Butch Walker, the 11 tracks on Broken People were recorded in Atlanta and Nashville in late spring 2016. One of the album's many highlights is the soaring "Leave It to the Sky," the closing track that features John Legend on piano and vocals.
Since their first performance together, Muddy Magnolias have toured with Zac Brown Band and Gary Clark Jr. They've also played high-profile gigs at Lollapalooza and Hangout Festival, among others, and performed a showcase at New York City's Mercury Lounge earlier this week. They're on tour throughout the late summer and fall, with additional dates announced soon.
Broken People will be released October 14th on Third Generation Records and is currently available for pre-order.
Here's the Broken People track listing:
1. "Broken People"
2. "Brother, What Happened?"
3. "Got It Goin' On"
4. "Why Don't You Stay?"
5. "Take Me Home"
6. "Shine On!"
7. "It Ain't Easy"
8. "I Need a Man"
9. "Devil's Teeth"
11. "Leave It to the Sky" (featuring John Legend)