Joe Tullos’ posthumous album ‘Vessels’ released Friday | Music | Weekly gambit
Joe Tullos’ posthumous new album “Vessels” opens with “And Anna So Blew”, a sweetly haunting song Tullos wrote years ago about a Florida bartender he hooked up with. befriended. Tullos quietly sings “She mixes alcohol and methadone to fight parasites in her dome” and untangles the portrayal of a woman, with ups, downs and complexities. In the end, you feel like you’ve met her.
It was right the genre of songwriter Tullos was, say his friends – he has never met a stranger and could easily tell the story of your life lovingly.
“I think he always listened to people in everyday life,” says Kevin Aucoin, who helped produce “Vessels”. The woman in “And Anna So Blew” “was a real person. Joe basically put all of that aside to talk to the person no matter what their problem in life is. If it was a drug addict, alcoholic, homeless person, millionaire, whatever it was, he found the good side in them and found them as a person. .
“Vessels” is filled with examples of Tullos capturing the world around us in songs written over the past 30+ years but recorded in the last weeks of his life. The album will be released on Friday October 1st, and friends and musicians who helped Tullos make “Vessels” a 4-6 p.m. launch party at the Louisiana Music Factory.
Tullos passed away on November 10, 2020, at the age of 56, with stage IV pancreatic cancer. A singer-songwriter, he grew up in the parishes of River before moving to New Orleans in the late 1980s. He has become a valued member of the music community and in 1989 formed Big Sun with Aucoin – a drummer and longtime friend – and other players, including guitarists Randy Ellis and Brian Stoltz, bassist James Slaughter, multi-instrumentalist Steven Montz and singer Melanie Scott, all of whom appear on “Vessels” .
Big Sun released their debut album in 1993, and a few years later Tullos signed a deal with Dinosaur Entertainment to release their debut solo album, “The Scoundrel’s Waltz”, recorded with members of Blind Melon and Squirrel Nut Zippers. Photographer Michael Benson mentions in the “Vessels” cover notes that Tullos “wrote music for Jimmy Buffett, cooked for John Grisham and shot with Carl Perkins, but those moments were just the tip of the iceberg in the legend of Joe Tullos “.
Tullos and his wife, Andrea, eventually decamped from Louisiana to Hillsborough, NC, settling there for 20 years and open a restaurant. But missing his homeland, Joe and Andrea decided to return in 2018.
Tullos resolved a battle with cancer in 2015. But in the summer of 2020 he returned and Tullos didn’t have much time. He decided to forgo radical treatments and instead spent his time making music.
âWhat he really wanted to do was make music for as long as he could,â explains Michael Paz, co-producer of âVesselsâ.
Tullos called on his friends Paz, Aucoin and Mark Dillon, a keyboardist and singer, to record songs that would end up composing “Vessels”. They gathered at Aucoin’s home studio in the French Quarter and recorded for 17 days. Tullos had no intention of making an album, Paz says. Tullos just wanted to record songs he had been working on for years. But he realized there was an album there after all.
‘Irma: My Life in Music’ debuts on local public television at the start of a month of Jazz Fest-inspired programming.
Months later, after Tullos ‘death, Paz came up with the title and artistic concept of “Vessels” – inspired by Tullos’ wish that some of his ashes be placed in a glass sphere to be thrown into the Gulf Stream so that “we see where I wash,” he sings the song “Next Town”. The sphere on the album cover is the glass container he made for his future trip. Another part of his ashes will also be left in a tin box – another container – in the cemetery of Saint-Charles Borromeo church.
Along with Aucoin, former Big Sun bandmates Dillon and Tullos, North Carolina musicians Stu Cole and Rob Sharer, and New Orleanians Beth Patterson and Dave Easley appear on the album. Steve Himelfarb, who worked on Big Sun’s debut record, mixed âVesselsâ.
Aucoin and Paz say they are working on other Tullos releases, some of which also involve the musicians’ children and families.
âI’ve been a fan of Joe for a long time,â Aucoin says. âFrom the first time I heard his original material, I fell in love with his music. Before I even played with him, I knew this guy was a great songwriter.
In-person and virtual events coming up this week.