with She Keeps Bees
Benjamin Booker has shared details for his new album ‘Witness,’ out June 2nd on ATO Records. The title track, Booker’s most profound and incisive song to date, features a guest vocal by Mavis Staples, and is available now via NPR.
To coincide with the release of “Witness,” Booker has shared a powerful personal statement recounting the song’s origins on a writing trip he took to Mexico City, during which James Baldwin’s observation that “Once you find yourself in another civilization you are forced to examine your own,” took on the weight of experience. “Am I going to be a witness?” Booker asks in the statement (and the song). “And in today’s world, is that enough?” Read the full statement below.
On ‘Witness,’ Booker has created his most ambitious work yet by digging deep into his passion for eccentric soul, R&B, and blues – drawing on everything from William Onyeabor’s 70s African psych-rock to Freddie Gibbs and Pusha T, while never straying too far from the garage-punk intensity that made his self-titled 2014 debut such a creative breakthrough. The album’s ten new, original tracks were all written by Booker, produced by Sam Cohen (Kevin Morby), and mixed by Shawn Everett (Alabama Shakes).
Booker’s self-titled 2014 album was ATO’s best-selling debut since Alabama Shakes, earning him festival appearances and tour dates supporting Jack White and Courtney Barnett, performances on Letterman, Conan, and Jools Holland, and profiles with the New York Times, Rolling Stone, NPR, GQ, and more. The Times hailed the album’s “raucous, unruly mix of punk, blues rock and soul, “ and NPR’s Fresh Air said “there’s a raw yet disciplined energy running through” it. SPIN simply called it “Contender for rock record of the year.”