Release Date: February 2nd
Since putting down roots in Nashville, Eighties pop-and-R&B icon John Oates has carved out a sweet spot for himself in the Americana community. His 2013 album Good Road to Follow was an underrated gem, with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member (he and Daryl Hall were inducted in 2014) acquitting himself nicely as a roots-music artist. He further mines that genre on the new Arkansas, an LP of mainly covers by Jimmie Rodgers and Mississippi John Hurt, and traditionals ("Stack O Lee" is a highlight). The title track, an Oates original, pays tribute to the state's musical legacy, informed by its border on the Mississippi River. "My entire musical life has been influenced by the music that has flowed up that river from New Orleans through the Delta," Oates says. "It occurred to me that Arkansas was the last rural stop on the musical journey northward." J.H.