The Black Keys Announce New Covers Album ‘Delta Kream’ & Share Single

By Nate Todd Apr 15, 2021 11:01 am PDT

The Black Keys announced a tribute album to Mississippi hill country blues, Delta Kream, set for release on May 14 through Nonesuch Records. Guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney also shared a cover of Junior Kimbrough’s version of “Crawling Kingsnake.”

As a band that draws heavily from the blues, The Black Keys wanted to pay homage to a number of the artists that influenced them, especially Kimbrough and R. L. Burnside. To capture Delta Kream at Dan’s Easy Eye Sound recording facility in Nashville, Auerbach and Carney recruited musicians Kenny Brown and Eric Deaton who have both worked with blues greats including Kimbrough and Burnside.

Auerbach spoke about the sessions for Delta Kream in a statement. Read his words below:

We made this record to honor the Mississippi hill country blues tradition that influenced us starting out. These songs are still as important to us today as they were the first day Pat and I started playing together and picked up our instruments. It was a very inspiring session with Pat and me along with Kenny Brown and Eric Deaton in a circle, playing these songs. It felt so natural.

“The session was planned only days in advance and nothing was rehearsed,” Carney added. “We recorded the entire album in about ten hours, over two afternoons, at the end of the ‘Let’s Rock’ tour.”

To further honor their influences, Auerbach and Carney are working with VisitMississippi to sponsor individual markers for Kimbrough and Burnside on the famed Mississippi Blues Trail. Head here for more info on the MBT.

As for Delta Kream’s lead single, “Crawling Kingsnake,” Auerbach shared that he initially was introduced to the song via blues legend John Lee Hooker’s original. “I first heard [John Lee] Hooker’s version in high school. My uncle Tim would have given me that record. But our version is definitely Junior Kimbrough’s take on it. It’s almost a disco riff!”

“We fell into this drum intro,” Carney recalled of the session for “Crawling Kingsnake.” “It’s kind of accidental. The ultimate goal was to highlight the interplay between the guitars. My role with Eric was to create a deeper groove.”

Listen to The Black Keys and company on “Crawling Kingsnake” below:

Delta Kream Tracklist:

  1. Crawling Kingsnake (John Lee Hooker / Bernard Besman)
  2. Louise (Fred McDowell)
  3. Poor Boy a Long Way From Home (Robert Lee Burnside)
  4. Stay All Night (David Kimbrough, Jr.)
  5. Going Down South (Robert Lee Burnside)
  6. Coal Black Mattie (Ranie Burnette)
  7. Do the Romp (David Kimbrough, Jr.)
  8. Sad Days, Lonely Nights (David Kimbrough, Jr.)
  9. Walk with Me (David Kimbrough, Jr.)
  10. Mellow Peaches (Joseph Lee Williams)
  11. Come on and Go with Me (David Kimbrough, Jr.)
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