British blues roots rock guitarist and vocalist Bex Marshall will release “I Can’t Look You In The Eye” the second single from her upcoming album Fortuna. The single is available on all streaming platforms at https://dixiefrog.lnk.to/ICantLookYou.
Watch the music video on YouTube HERE.
The new album Fortuna will be released on CD and digital by Dixiefrog Records on Friday March 1, 2024.
Pre-order the CD HERE. Pre-save album digitally HERE.
“I Can’t Look You In The Eye is blues rock song born from not being able to comfortably stare at a person in conversation, says Bex. “Due to the fact that the energy and attraction between the of the two is so intense, almost like opposing magnets until the eyes connect. The song was co-written with Scott Coopwood from Clarksdale, Mississippi, with revered local musicians.”
Bex Marshall has a super abundance of smarts and edgy spirit to go along with her surety of purpose. She conjures a vocal melting pot of old black woman’s heartache and powerful gritty soul and unique guitar skills which have been labelled by other guitarists as “the goal.”
The long-awaited studio album Fortuna is a ten-track blues tapestry that bulges to the edges with addictive hooks and story lines. Bex is a writer of notability, she pushes the boundaries of blues and weaves the genre in and out of blues, funk, rock, and Americana.
Bex steps forward with this record as a leading female guitarist, producing her powerful, self-penned album with soaring lead lines, technical ragtime, and ballsy slide playing.
It’s been ten years since Bex Marshall’s last release. During this time, Bex has experienced a busy touring schedule, independently breaking into several international markets. Fortuna is an intense culmination of focus and personal release over the last few years.
Bex was able to stand still for a moment and draw in local London talented friends including Richie Stevens on drums (Tina Turner, Simply Red, George Clinton), Toby Baker on keyboards (BB King, Eric Clapton, Alexander O’Neil, Sinead O Connor), B.J Cole on Dobro (Elton John, Coldplay, Sting, Shania Twain, Robbie Williams), New York's Robert Eugene Daniels on bass (RIP “Red Bass”) Aurora Mannola on bass, London's gospel Queen Shola Adegoroye, and legendary Danny Bryan on percussion (Taj Mahal).
After a week-long intense recording session at Snakepit Studios in North London, Fortuna was created. It’s an album of soulful rock blues, with funky undertones with touches of gospel and roots. The album was engineered, co-produced and mastered by Nick Hunt (Dave Stewart, Boy George, Placebo, George Clinton) who Bex has worked with on her previous album House of Mercy.
“I have been influenced by multiple artists,” says Bex. “For me it never stops. Songwriters, vocalists, and guitarists – you name it!
“I grew up listening to Tina Turner. Vocally, she was my heroine. Her tone, soul, and vocal range was so versatile. Other influences include Eric Clapton’s cool guitar style, John Lee Hooker’s back porch flavour, Freddie King’s sting, Hose Feliciano’s flair, Janis Joplin’s ragtime, and Elton John and Bernie Taupin's songwriting. I was lucky as my uncle had a stunning vinyl collection, and I was able to absorb all these relevant box ticking blues rock greats.”
“She's mastered the art of making new material sound like it's been found in long forgotten vaults,” says Net Rhythms. Bex holds a songwriting retreat twice a year in Cyprus and believes that “bad songwriting is affecting the quality of our suffering.”
The album's lyrical content touches on the all too familiar addictions of life, from love to liquor, changes in society and bitter regret. The album features nine original tracks, one being an instrumental and one cover.
“The album is where I am today musically and philosophically and reflective of the performer I am now,” says Bex. “I wanted to take the hard lumps out of life, and present them back in a different light, sometimes with humor, sarcasm, or resilience but always with a shed load of tenacity. I wanted to make a record with iconic guitar sounds, heavenly funky keyboards, roots infected vocal lines with the funk in the trunk. The album is the most upbeat offering from me to date and I want to produce a show of high energy blues rock euphoria to reignite people’s mojos.”
During lockdown Bex’s good friend and bass player “Red Bass” (aka Robert Eugene Daniels) was living in London with us and after a few months sadly passed away. She was lucky enough to capture some of his bass lines in Snakepit Studios. Bex recorded demos for the album and finally used them in five of the 10 album tracks. “Red was a unique musician,” reflects Bex. “I was honoured to play music with him for over 20 years. We even shared the same birthday.”
The final track of the record is called “When It's Gone” it’s a poignant song although written several years earlier, BJ Cole (Tiny Dancer, Coldplay) plays dobro on this track as a tribute to “Red.”
Fortuna - Track Listing
1. Preaching to the Choir (3.40)
2. Dirty Water (5.26)
3. I Can't Look You In The Eye (3.21)
4. 5am (4.26)
6.Table for One (4.53)
8.Lay Down and Die (3.53)
9. Scrapyard Dog (4.45)
10. When Its Gone (4.00)
Bex Marshall - Lead and Backing Vocals, Rhythm, Acoustic, Slide and Lead guitar
Toby Baker – Keyboards, Hammond, Rhodes, Wurlitzer
Bass Guitar - Robert Eugene Daniels (Tracks - I Can't Look You In The Eye, Table for One, Fortuna,
When Its Gone, and Aurora Mannola
Drums - Richie Stevens
Dobro - BJ Cole
Shola Adegoroye - Gospel BVs
Danny Bryan – Congas, Darbuka, Percussion
Produced and arranged by Bex Marshall and Nick Hunt
Engineered - Nick Hunt
Mastering Engineer - Nick Hunt
Second recording engineer - Mike Haslam
Photography and Album artwork - Barry Warren
Recorded and Engineered at House Of Mercy Studios London
Catering Johnathon Lolley
Scott Coopwood - Guitarist – I Can't Look You In The Eye
Barry Bays - Rhythm Guitar – I Can't Look You In The Eye
Mike Capperelli - Engineer – I Can't Look You In The Eye
Photography and album artwork - Barry Warren
Video production - Andrew Radford and Ben Radford
Supported by HELP MUSICIANS
Distributed by Dixie Frog Records
Sponsored by Teye Guitars, Ozark Resonators, Blackstar Amps, DR Strings
In Memory to my father Coleridge William Marshall 1948-2023
RIP Robert Eugene Daniels (aka “Red Bass”)
Copyright Bex Marshall. All rights reserved 2023
All tracks written by Bex Marshall except
track 2. Dirty Water (Buddy and Julie Miller BUG MUSIC INC)
track 3. I Can't Look You In The Eye - Bex Marshall /Scott Coopwood
Album Track By Track
PREACHING TO THE CHOIR - This is a no-nonsense guitar track and firmly sets the pace of the album. It’s a blues rock ignition to the album engine and the third single to be released March 1st. Anthemic, skyscraper guitar licks kickstart the track and launch into driving funk groove train. This song gets straight to the nitty gritty, with lofty gospel vocals from Shola Adegoroye. Bex’s drawl shoots the accusation to the guilty party… preaching to the choir. Political? Personal? Judge for yourself.
DIRTY WATER - This is the second track from the album, and it’s originally penned by Buddy and Julie Miller. It’s the only cover on the album. “I’ve been playing the song for a few years, but my interpretation is a lot grittier,” says Bex. “The original was so laid back, and a great song, but I wanted to ramp it up and make it howl with pain.” The track starts with an acapella vocal reminiscent of a back porch lament, gathering momentum into a tribal hambone, all heading towards a danceable rocker and crescendo of guitar licks and promises of abstaining once again.
I CAN'T LOOK YOU IN THE EYE - This track features powerhouse slide guitar performed by Bex. The track was co-written by Scott Coopwood (Clarksdale, Mississippi) who’s guitar playing features as the solo (playing a custom Les Paul). Other musicians featured include Barry Barnes and recorded in Clarksdale, Mississippi. This four-to-the-floor number bombards the blues crossroads with harmonious heavy blues guitars and lyrically temps fate, while coyly celebrating the human consciousness of lust.
5AM - The change of tempo is stark and the pining and longing of the electric guitar spreads that repeat through the song, hypnotizing and encapsulating the regret which continually wheels around her head. Toby Baker’s Rhodes playing behind the guitar reflects the gentle madness of her frustrating inability to make it all better and harness the mood of the song to late night. Bex’s guitar solo transformers into a dramatic longing of emotion until conceding to the hour of 5am
JUNGLE - Slide guitar comes in like a kid skidding over a shiny polished floor with a big smile on its face and sets the scene for a rockabilly inspired chicken pickin’ slide guitar solo. It’s a jungle out there! Imagine all the people you know are animals or insects, a humorous toe tapper, honky-tonk piano bar room frolics!
TABLE FOR ONE - Mid-tempo bass-led groover, with Hammond and piano dominant throughout. The tale-telling vocals depict a lonely meal. The song features funky rhythmic stabs echo a Bo Diddley feel and keep the roots firmly while the jazzy lead break encourages a sarcastic look at the stigma attached to woman who like to eat alone, culminating in lead guitar outro.
FORTUNA - Boom and we're off! The title track of the album, shooting out of the stalls in a Steve McQueen Bullet-style car chase. The resonator dominates with heavy funk driving drums from Richie Stevens and sensational bass harmonizing bass playing from RED BASS smothered in piano drama. This is the kind of energetic lunacy to let your imagination run wild.
LAY DOWN AND DIE - As you fly off the edge of the cliff of Fortuna at 100 miles an hour, the intro riff catches you and takes you on a ZZ Top reminiscent chugger, a good old-fashioned blues riffs but with quirks, slightly different Texas inspired blues rock. Lay Down and Die – “Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die.”
SCRAPYARD DOG - The intro conjures up images of a slightly limp character walking slowly up to no good. The clavinet gives a vintage circus-feel to this track and Richie’s drums throw in a loose roots-reggae feel every now and again, playing late in the beat while the walking bass ploughs on, Bex plays her Ozark resonator back porch ragtime rock solo.
WHEN IT'S GONE -The “Maggie Mae” vibe of this song mixes into the sweeping chorus of BJ Cole's guest Dobro playing, banks of layered harmonies reminding us that “When its gone, it’s gone.” Bex’s acoustic ‘63 Gibson hummingbird guitar harmonizes with BJ. The sweet harmonies of strings take over this end of the album track. The song embodies reflective sentiments, educational and a warning to all.
BEX MARSHALL - TOUR DATES 2024
Mon 26 Feb – Midnight Special Blues Club, Camberley UK BAND
Sat 9 March – St Marys Sessions, Dorking UK BAND
Wed 13 March – Clutha, Glasgow BAND
Friday 15 March – Howlin Wolf, Glasgow BAND
Mon 18 March – Plaquemine Lock SOLO
Tues 19 March – The Wrotham Arms, Broadstairs Kent UK BAND
Sat 23 March – Tenne Oederan, Germany BAND
Sun 24 March – Bílina, Czech, SOLO
Mon 25 March – Černošice, Czech SOLO
Tue 26 March – Bruntál, Czech SOLO
Wed 27 March – Rožnov, Czech SOLO
Thu 28 March - Brno-SP, Czech SOLO
Wed 17 April – Hotel La Campagnola - DUO CH
Fri 18 April – Nidaba Theatre Milan Italy DUO
Sat 19 April – Hollywood Bar Lugano CH DUO
Sun 20 April – Strampalato Brescia - Italy DUO
Thurs 5 Sept – Spirit of 66, Belgium BAND
Sun 8 Sept – Darlington R n B Festival BAND
Sat 13 Sept – Blues at the Bay Stockton on Tees UK BAND
Fri 25 Oct – Blues Route Helmond Netherlands BAND
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Photograhy by Blackham Images