Exclusive Premiere: Ana Popovic Shares ‘Hook Me Up’ Featuring Robert Randolph
Guitarist Ana Popovic will issue a new triple album Trilogy on May 20. The new guest-filled three-volume LP from the Memphis-based musician includes 23 tracks, including “Hook Me Up” featuring Robert Randolph which is available to stream exclusively via the below premiere.
JamBase reached out to Popovic to find out more about the process of creating Trilogy which was produced by Warren Riker, Tom Hambridge and Delfeayo Marsalis and in addition to Randolph includes contributions by Randolph, Joe Bonamassa, North Mississippi Allstars’ Cody Dickinson, Bernard Purdie, rapper Al Capone and others.
Read on for our Q&A with Popovic about the album and more, and stream “Hook Me Up” below.
JamBase: How did you pick the guests that would appear on Trilogy?
Ana Popovic: Trilogy’s been planned ahead for quite some time. Every detail was worked out before the songs were recorded. For example, I knew what to expect from the most recorded drummer in music business, Bernard Purdie, and set aside the songs that would sound great with him on drums. I had two songs as options for Joe Bonamassa – once the basic tracks were done, I would listen to the songs and think: Joe would be great here. I sent him two tracks to choose from, he chose “Train” – a sultry slow-burner about a “one night stand” – and he killed it. Same goes for Robert’s song: once I heard “Hook Me Up” I thought: Robert would be perfect for this track.
For a long time I had in mind Mavis Staples’ for “Let’s Do It Again” but as an R&B/rap version and loved what Cody Dickinson has previously done with arranging loops and beats. I called him up and got the version I wanted on an old – often forgotten – track, with the help of a rapper Al Capone.
And the jazz part is a whole different story – having Delfeayo Marsalis and his crew doing the real deep jazz cuts is something I wanted to try myself in for a long time. Those songs are specifically written to fit the jazz recording.
JamBase: You worked with three different producers on the album, how did you determine which producer would work on which track?
Ana Popovic: I was writing songs to fit different genres, then I would choose the band – musicians that are masters at that particular style of music – jazz, funk, blues or rock, and finally I chose the producers that I thought were strongest at that certain style of music.
Although each of them could probably have mixed and produced all three CDs on their own, I wanted the CDs to sound different and wanted the producer’s touch to be evident – featuring them in the style of music they’re best in.
JamBase: Can you tell us about working with Robert Randolph on “Hook Me Up”?
Ana Popovic: When the “Hook Me Up” basic tracks were done, I was reassured of what I already knew – the chord progression and the melody would fit perfectly for Robert. We played many times together and I’m a big fan of his playing. He delivered exactly what I was hoping for – edgy, playful, funky, out of the box, wicked – slide take on that song, what Johnny Guitar Watson WAS back in the day – he was all of that – he wasn’t predictable.
Stream “Hook Me Up” featuring Robert Randolph exclusively right here:
JamBase: How has the Experience Hendrix Tour been going?
Ana Popovic: It was fantastic to be back on the road with the boys. I was the only female guitar player on the tour for the third year in a row and guys are real kind and down to earth, very supportive. It’s like a family. We picked it up right where we left it two years ago. The band played great, the audience was wilder than ever, we sold out places everywhere, Zakk Wylde makes great sleepy time tea on the tour bus for all of us, telling dirty road stories from the past. It was great to play with Dweezil [Zappa] again, Chris Layton was fantastic. It’s a high energy show. It doesn’t give a moment to the audience to relax or check their Facebook page. I mean everyone is involved. Each and one of the guitar players deliver incredible takes of Jimi’s songs, and they all do it with a deeper purpose. We all feel blessed and honored to be a part of the tribute – and not just any tribute – put together by Jimi’s family.
JamBase: What’s ahead in 2016 after the Experience Hendrix Tour and the release of Trilogy?
Ana Popovic: We’re gonna do a whole lot of touring promoting Trilogy. It’s gonna be fun to put together a set list and fit 23 new tracks – such different styles of music- for the show. Somewhere along the line we’ll release a live CD and I already have new ideas for my next projects. When you live in between such soulful cities and music meccas: Memphis, New Orleans, Nashville, you get new ideas by just walking in the first juke joint.