What happens when some Nashville sidemen let their hair down? A band like Steelism, that’s what. Three years on from their debut LP 615 to FAME, Jeremy Fetzer and Spencer Cullum Jr. are prepping its follow-up and, as usual, go full on space-rock movie soundtrack on new song “Roulette,” featuring singer Ruby Amanfu.
Steelism’s new record, titled ism, is a break from its predecessor, which was entirely instrumental. Andrew Combs, Jesse Baylin, and Tristen, who sang on previously released track “Shake Your Heel,” all take turns at the mic on ism‘s 10 tracks, but “Roulette” pairs them with a singer they’ve collaborated with more and more frequently of late. Amanfu, a Nashville-based artist born in Ghana, has worked with Jack White, Norah Jones, and Hozier, and last year appeared as a backup singer on Beyoncé’s Lemonade. Her booming delivery is perfect for the duo’s James Bond fixation, particularly given the song’s romance-meets-gambling theme.
Guitarist Fetzer and steel pedal player Cullum, one-time members of Caitlin Rose’s backing band, indulge their love of everything from Serge Gainsbourg to Ennio Morricone with extracurriculars of Steelism. The pair release ism on June 23rd and, one month after that, will join Amanfu at Newport Folk Festival in Newport, Rhode Island, where Fetzer played backup to Amanfu in 2016 with Deer Tick.