Trying To Get To You

Monday, December 18, 2006

Stax Rises Again! (Oh God, Please Let It Be Great)

Today it was announced that Stax Records has been reactivated. From the press release:

"It’s a fitting tribute to Stax that not only will its past glories be suitably honored during 2007, but its future will be assured as well. The first new signings to Stax include soul luminary and Stax patriarch Isaac Hayes and superlative vocalist Angie Stone. Isaac Hayes remains an integral force in Stax and beyond, and Angie Stone is widely regarded as one of her generation’s few heirs to the grand tradition of R&B.

“Stax always has been and always will be Soul Music, I was a part of that,” said Hayes. “I am coming back to Stax because there is still so much to do. It’s like coming home.”

“The thrill of putting out music on the label that brought the world Otis, Booker T, the Staples and so many other artists who made me want to sing in the first place is simply indescribable,” added Stone. “I simply can’t believe that I will be a Stax artist – and I’ll be label mates with Isaac Hayes. The staff at Stax share my belief that soul has to stay in touch with its origins. We’re going to make beautiful music together.”

“These two signings sum up our vision for Stax – they represent the roots and the future of the soul tradition,” noted Concord executive VP of A&R John Burk. “As the co-writer, producer and arranger of Stax hits like ‘Soul Man’ and ‘Hold On, I’m Coming,’ as well as the genius behind ‘Shaft,’ ‘Hot Buttered Soul’ and other hugely influential records, Isaac has established himself as a visionary of modern music. And Angie Stone, with her extraordinary voice, artistic intelligence and soulful sensibilities, is ideally suited to carry on the tradition. We’re thrilled that she’s joined us as we enter a new era in which Stax will once again be the home for the greatest artists in soul and R&B.”
I have no doubt that Stax will be able to capitalize on their name and their catalog - I'm curious to see if they can modernize their sound while remaining true to their aesthetic. Who is the audience for Stax on 2007 and beyond? Older blacks? Hipsters? Soul lovers? Anyone buying the Corinne Bailey Rae record? All of the above? It will be the songs that tell the story of how Stax part 2 does - I know there's a demand out there for this music. Let's hope they get it right.

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