Napoleon Washington | Mud & Grace

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Blues: Slide Guitar Blues Blues: Urban Blues Moods: Featuring Guitar
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Mud & Grace

by Napoleon Washington

Napoleon Washington's 3rd album. A contemporary songwriter's personal universe, rooted in blues. Deep, gutsy and sincere.
Genre: Blues: Slide Guitar Blues
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Come Down, Blues
3:59 $0.99
2. Ashes from Ashes
3:51 $0.99
3. Blue Curls of Smoke
5:03 $0.99
4. Mud & Grace
2:35 $0.99
5. The Day I Get in Monroe
3:34 $0.99
6. Salt Water
2:36 $0.99
7. Peephole Dawn
3:11 $0.99
8. It'll Be Poison
3:04 $0.99
9. Big River
5:02 $0.99
10. The Top of the Shelf
2:46 $0.99
11. Write Yourself a Letter
2:35 $0.99
12. My Love is Like a Tree
3:43 $0.99
13. Some Say They Have To
3:30 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
As unusual as it may sound, Washington was actually born from his own love for the blues. More specifically for the rough and direct style of the likes of Son House, Charley Patton or Skip James. But Washington never attempted to cover their repertoire, and he never dared to call himself a bluesman : "The blues and I, it's a private affair. Like any love story, you have to understand that your loved one does not belong to you. The music I play is inspired from my own life, and that's where the link iwth the blues is at, nowhere else. Tommy Johnson's or Bukka White's feelings belong to them, only to them. It'd simply be disrespectful of mine to try to imitate them. Moreover, those musicians we portray today as the ancestors or the godfathers were real pioneers, they were young bucks badly in need of a revolution, of kicking in the old stable with a modern sound. That means a lot to me"

Born in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, Washington launches his career at age 8, on a cardboard guitar under the limelight of his bedroom. He then grabs his first real instrument around age 12, and instantly forgets to put it back down. After frenetically gigging on the local circuit, he gets his first professional guitar job touring with new-yorker Gary Setzer (Brian's brother) & The Roustabouts in 91, 92 and 95. He simultaneously founds his own blues project, the Crawlin' Kingsnake Blues Band, which is eventually to play an average of a hundred gigs per year during 8 years mostly through Europe but also in the US for two tours in 98 and 99.

The band serves as well as the european backing band for late St-Petersburg (FL) harmonicist Rock Bottom for five tours between 95 and 2000. Satisfied with the result, Rock eventually returns the favor by convincing his US agents to book the Crawlin' Kingsnake in Florida. It is during the second tour, while the band is staying at Rock's place one afternoon, that a decisive event occurs for Washington when he borrows a National guitar and sits on the porch to pick a little. Hearing that, Rock encourages him to pursue in this direction with so much conviction that a first 5-tracks demo CD is to be released under Washington's name the next year. The attempt is praised warmly by Bruce Iglauer (Alligator Records) who writes "This is a very good piece of music that shows a lot of understanding of the Delta Blues tradition and a deep feeling for the true sounds. He plays and sings as well as many Americans who do this style, and better than most". Then in 2002 "Hotel Bravo", Washington's debut album, is entirely recorded under a traffic bridge next to a freight train yard.

A particularly ambitious show in 2004 is filmed and the next year, Washington launches one unusual promotional tool on the internet : "The Washington Theater", an entirely free movie theater designed to broadcast exclusive video content online, at a time when Youtube didn't exist. Then in august 2005, after 18 months of preproduction, Washington flies to New York to record his second album "Homegrown", which is published the next year and warmly received, being nominated for the Trophées France Blues in the "best european blues album of the year" category.

In 2006, Washington collaborates with singer-songwriter Simon Gerber for an album and several gigs, and both musician develop a mutual admiration that eventually leads ln 2007 to the foundation, upon drummer Raphael Pedroli's initiative, of the "The Five Blind Boys From The Parish". The band is actually a trio, pretends to be escapees from the Bogalusa Hospital for the Blind, and coats what is actually a very puristic approach of "Black and dirty electric blues" in a quite unique iayer of comedy.

In the meantime, Washington works on his next album and starts contemplating alternative options to the "classic" CD-distribution model, being aware that being an independent musician with a modest audience requires some creative ideas if one wants to stay in business. The result of a long reflexion materializes in "Mud & Grace", Washington's third album, a very unusual project distributed online and featuring more than 45 minutes of motion graphics synchronized to the audio content.



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