Carl Carlton & The Songdogs cast ballot with “King Of The USA” single

By on October 31, 2012



Carl Carlton & The Songdogs has announced the upcoming release of their provocative new single, “King of the USA.” Due TK, the track heralds the internationally acclaimed rock band’s eagerly anticipated new album, “LIFELONG GUARANTEE,” which is slated to arrive early next year.
King of the USA” sees Carlton – a three-time Grammy Award nominee for his extraordinary work as guitarist and producer alongside such legends as Robert Palmer, Eric Burdon, and Joe Cocker – offering his own unique perspective into the ongoing United States presidential race. The exhilarating track delivers a powerful message of support for President Barack Obama’s reelection while also warning against the potential consequences of a Republican-led government. More significantly, “King of the USA” serves as a kind of rock ‘n’ roll call to arms, inspiring voters with Carlton’s message of “Power to the people, with the power of love!”
While I am not an American citizen,” Carlton says, “I feel absolutely obliged to contribute to this event which has a definite global impact. If this election took the wrong turn, and I had done nothing to fight or support what I believe in, how could I answer my kids when the inevitable question comes, ‘What did you do when…?'”
The German-born Carlton has long considered himself a citizen of the world, with his deepest roots linking him to the great tradition of American music. A veteran of countless sessions and worldwide tours, he first stepped into centerstage with his own Songdogs in 2001, earning critical praise for their soulful debut album, “REVOLUTION AVENUE.”
Three further albums followed, each one an expression of Carton’s undying affection and appreciation of funk, soul, R&B, and rock ‘n’ roll. In 2011, Carlton teamed with fellow guitarist/producer Larry Campbell (Levon Helm Band, Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello) to co-write and produce “Toast To Freedom,” an extraordinary commemorative song celebrating the 50thanniversary of Amnesty International. The brainchild of Carlton and longtime music industry executive, activist, and entrepreneur Jochen Wilms in collaboration with Art for Amnesty founder Bill Shipsey, the track sees contributions from nearly 50 artists, including, among others, the late Levon Helm, Kris Kristofferson, Carly Simon, Angelique Kidjo, Ewan McGregor, Donald Fagen, Warren Haynes, Keb Mo, Eric Burdon, Taj Mahal, Florent Pagny, Marianne Faithfull, Jane Birkin, Jimmy Barnes, Rosanne Cash, Shawn Mullins, and the Blind Boys of Alabama.
Toast To Freedom” proved an unqualified global phenomenon, spawning innumerable international interpretations while also drawing critical acclaim from all corners. Here in the United States, Carlton and Campbell celebrated the single’s release with an amazing live rendition of the song on NBC’s The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, accompanied by the all-star “Art For Amnesty Band” (featuring such luminaries as Kris Kristofferson, Shawn Mullins, Theresa Williams, Essie Jain, and Jonny Lang).
The production “KING OF THE USA” sees Carlton and Campbell reteaming at the late, great Levon Helm’s world-renowned studio in Woodstock, New York – known far and wide as simply ‘”The Barn.” As ever, Campbell, Carlton and The Songdogs – currently comprised of longtime keyboardist Pascal Kravetz, guitarist Moses Mo and bassist Jerry “Wyzard” Seay (both formerly of the legendary funk rock outfit, Mother Finest), and drummer Zach Alford (Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie, Billy Joel) – have crafted a vigorous and distinctive musical melting pot, rich with crafty songwriting, crack musicianship, and ineffable spirit.
The Barn in Woodstock had become a second home to us thanks to our brothers Levon Helm and Larry Campbell,” Carlton says. “We, the Songdogs, had worked with Levon for more than a decade and he meant the world to us. His studio, his team and the wonderful people of Woodstock took us right in. And with Larry Campbell at the helm, we had a blast.”
“Carl Carlton is an immensely talented european artist with a unique respect and understanding of American music,” Larry Campbell says. “Levon and I felt like he was part of the family here in Woodstock and I look forward to further collaborations in the future.
Filmmaker Tine Kluth captured the spirit of the song on an outstanding animated music video. Kluth is known for her work in London for awarded animated film projects and for her work for Aardmans “Shaunthe sheep” and “Timmytime”.
While the song’s passionate political message is undeniably a strong one, Carlton has also imbued it with remarkable wit and humanity, projecting his own fantasy reign as “the righteous King of the USA.” No less an authority than Carlton’s longtime friend, the master composer/producer Van Dyke Parks, has hailed the track as “a beautiful lyric in all ways…in step with the kind of direct observations now found in Ry Cooder’s work.”
We want and need to be disruptive to wake up indecisive minds before this election is done and dusted,” Carlton says. “We’d like to prevent the innocent sleepers from the biggest hangover they might ever experience. But we also aimed to bring some humor back in this tooth and claw situation. Even in the hardest and dangerous times, artists always took the piss out of their oppressors and many a time paid with their lives. Thanks to our ongoing fight for human rights, at least in the western world we don’t need to fear these kinds of consequences anymore. But voters of the world still need to wake up and keep their eyes open.”  


Author: DaveHHM

Dave Luttrull: Owner/Editor in Chief of Hellhound Music. Star Wars nerd, Gamer, Destiny homer, blogger, writer and lover of all things music.