It's not often you get to hear a record played in public for the first time. The very first time. Before radio stations hear it, before iTunes gets it, before it's even released. But we live in Denton and that presents opportunities available in few other places. The Baptist Generals is a Denton band which has lain fallow for almost 10 years. Their last record was released ten years ago and the band has played live just a handful of times since. The BG's new record is due to be released in May and has been a long time coming. Written primarily by BG founder, Chris Flemmons, the record is a work of love, anger, frustration and perseverance.
The Baptist Generals began working on the record shortly after the release of their critically acclaimed first record, No Gold/No Silver That record brought recognition, a fan base, a tour through the States and parts of Europe.......and some money. "Jackleg Devotional to the Heart" began with surplus material from No Gold/No Silver and evolved, grew and matured during the next couple of years. As with any group of people working as a single entity, over time, the Baptist Generals began to drift, shift and lift off into day jobs, families, careers and reality. Sub Pop, the band's label pushed them for material, but a lull had set in that would not be broken until early in 2012.
In 2008, Flemmons founded the music festival which is now called 35 Denton. 35 Denton, has become a monster Denton event, bringing nationally-known bands, music lovers from all over the world and millions of dollars into Denton. The festival soon consumed Flemmons and further slowed the work of the Baptist Generals. As the creative genius and lead vocalist for the band, Flemmons is the defacto leader. Last year, with the push from Sub Pop to jump start the band's creative juices, work began in earnest to finally complete the record. The responsibilities of the real world threw a new set of complications into the production. What had been a heady, booze-fueled, free flow of creation during the production of No Gold/No Silver became another labor of love surrounded by the more complicated lives of 6 individuals with Jackleg Devotional to the Heart.
This past weekend brought 35 Denton to Denton, and what better time to debut a record? And other than a live Baptist Generals concert, what better way to hear the record than listening to an original vinyl press of Jackleg Devotional to the Heart? Dan Mojica, owner of Dan's Silverleaf had asked Flemmons if he'd play the record at his place first, and that's what happened at 2 pm on March 8th. The event began with the drop of a needle onto the spinning vinyl on stage. The music many in the packed venue had waited 10 years to hear filled the room. There were back-slaps, rounds bought, dancing danced and tears shed. The entire band was present and submitted to a forum about making the album once the first side was played. After the forum, with questions from the media and the audience, the band was given a standing ovation. The hard work and slippage of time had paid off in an incredible collection of tracks. The music flows with emotion and feeling.
Music is Denton's lifeblood, and being at the premiere of an album of one of her greatest talents was an honor. The album is due to be released May 21st.