Release date: 15 April 2016
Label: Sonnenstahl Records
And all digital & physical stores
Style: Soul, rhythm & blues, country
Strongheaded Woman (radio edit)
Strongheaded Woman (full length version)
The Glittering Gutter (Mooli remix)
As a prelude to the album The Soul Tapes (to be released on 13 May 2016), Billie Ray Martin releases Strongheaded Woman as the lead single - an epic tale of a Las Vegas slot machine addict seemingly meeting her Rhinestone Cowboy, only to discover that he’s just another cheap hit and run sleazebag.
The single includes the Mooli remix of the album track The Glittering Gutter – a song about the downfall of Billie's place of upbringing, the red light district of Hamburg. The Mooli remix adds the kind of darkness that typifies some of Billie's output over recent years. Mooli have taken an already epic track and given it the Portishead treatment, complete with soundtrack style strings.
Billie has never been easy to categorise. Clearly a soul singer, her career however has seen her mostly as a pioneer of house and electronic music, most notably her groundbreaking work with Electribe 101 and her seminal hit Your Loving Arms. Her explorations have led her further into the worlds of ambient music and drum & bass among other areas of electronica.
Her new album The Soul Tapes is a ‘first’ for Billie: no electronic music this time. Billie realised her long-held dream of recording an album that is equally influenced by Hi-Records (Al Green, Ann Peebles, Willie Mitchell) as it is by ’60s garage records. It is also not devoid of a certain country twang, and even Bo Diddley peeks through the door on one song.
Billie Ray Martin and producer/writer Jon Tiven were introduced in New York in the mid ’90s and had started drafting the odd song, together with Sally Tiven. Further writing sessions followed, until it was decided that there was an album of songs worth recording.
Booked into New York’s 900 Broadway Studio, Jon and Billie were thrilled to find themselves working where Keith Richards had recorded his first solo album. Under this omen Jon Tiven brought the musicians in, not least world famous drummer Simon Kirke. Jon’s credits include albums produced for Wilson Pickett, Bobby Womack and Willie Nelson as well as numerous awards and Grammy nominations.
It was not until 2014 that the opportunity arose to mix the album, re-record many of the vocals, add production and instruments and determine exactly the final sound of the album. The results are convincing and powerful and show once again Billie’s refusal to conform to trends, preferring as she does, to create them.
This track was tagged with the following keywords: Soul, Rhythm & Blues.