Clarence Spady pays tribute to fellow bluesman Lucky Peterson with ‘When My Blood Runs Cold’
From a press release:
Texas blues legend Lucky Peterson passed away on May 17 at age 55, so Clarence Spady paid tribute to his longtime friendship with the late guitarist/keyboardist on his own version of “When My Blood Runs Cold.”
The Scranton-based bluesman first heard from Peterson perform the bone-chilling song from his 2000 album “Double Dealin'” at a club gig in New York City.
“Lucky was sitting down playing,” Clarence recalled. “I said, ‘Man, I like that chord progression!’ And he sang ‘When My Blood Runs Cold.’ And it ran cold in my veins because I couldn’t believe what I was hearing!”
Released on Dec. 11, Spady recorded his take at Red Rock Recording Studio in Saylorsburg, where it was engineered, mixed, and mastered by Kent Heckman and produced by Spady and Scott Goldman. He is joined on the track by longtime members of his newly renamed Electric City Band, Jon Ventre (bass) and Pat Marcinko (drums), as well as Scott Brown (keyboards and organ).
In August, Spady signed with Nola Blue Records in Lancaster, who will release his next album in 2021, his first in 13 years.
“Clarence Spady and Lucky Peterson both began their musical careers at the tender age of 5; Clarence performing ‘Hi-Heel Sneakers’ to close the show at a local family performance and Lucky releasing his first album, ‘Our Future: 5 Year Old Lucky Peterson.’ Both exhibit unique musical virtuosity and intensity in performance as well,” said Sallie Bengtson, owner of Nola Blue Records.
“It’s no surprise that, when Clarence was initially captivated by ‘When My Blood Runs Cold,’ it didn’t take long for him to incorporate it into his live shows. As the first birthday following Lucky’s untimely passing approached, it seemed like a fitting time to make this impassioned tribute to Clarence’s beloved friend and compadre.”
Spady’s first single from the album, “Surrender,” has been receiving worldwide airplay and acclaim since its release on Oct. 23. Not one to hide from the mistakes of his past, nor to let his guard down long enough for those demons to return, he was inspired to write “Surrender” after one of his daily recovery group meetings held at a local church. The theme that morning was surrender. At the conclusion of the meeting, he sat down at the piano and the initial seeds were planted.
The song was also recorded by Kent Heckman at Red Rock Recording Studio. Music journalist Bill Dahl wrote, “With the release of the emotionally charged ‘Surrender,’ Clarence Spady reclaims his place as one of the fieriest and most intense blues guitarists and vocalists of his generation.”
A longtime fixture of the Northeast music scene, the singer, songwriter, and guitarist has been a regular performer at Greenwich Village’s iconic Terra Blues club, where he has been captivating travelers from all over the world with his guitar virtuosity and magnetic stage presence for nearly 30 years.
Born Clarence Sloan Spady on July 1, 1961 in Paterson, New Jersey, he is known to play with depth and sensitivity, effortlessly combining blues, jazz, funk, Latin, and rock into his own unique style. His moving guitar play, rough street-edged vocals, songwriting, and live improvisations are demonstrated with every performance.
Spady was nominated for Best New Artist Debut in the 1997 W.C. Handy Awards following his debut release, “Nature of the Beast” (Evidence Records, 1996). His sophomore release, “Just Between Us” (Severn Records, 2008), garnered a Blues Music Award nomination for Soul Blues Album of the Year. He has performed internationally in support of both albums and plans to resume touring as soon as restrictions are lifted.
At 59 years old, Spady has quite literally spent his lifetime performing, ever since his debut at the local Elks Club at age five, when he played “High Heeled Sneakers” with his uncle’s R&B band. Named one of Living Blues magazine’s “Top 40 Guitarists Under 40” in 1996, his bright future was derailed by ongoing struggles with substance abuse and addiction that plagued him for many years. Now, with the wisdom that only hindsight can bring, Spady shines brightly from a solid place of physical, emotional, and spiritual strength, committed to recapturing his musical trajectory and reaching new heights.
For label president Sallie Bengtson, it is an exciting time to be working with Spady.
“Clarence has the kind of soulful intensity that can’t be taught, but only acquired through a combination of his God-given talents and life experiences. Nurturing and inspiring that creative force is already yielding exciting results, and we have only begun to scratch the surface. I’m eager to reintroduce this incredible talent to the worldwide blues community in the months ahead.”
Goldman, who has managed Spady’s career since 1991, said, “From fourth grade when I first heard Clarence perform to today as we embark on an exciting new partnership with Nola Blue Records, I’m proud of Clarence for his resilience in the face of many obstacles. We are both so excited for this opportunity to share his transcendent musical ability with the world.”
See NEPA Scene’s photos of the Clarence Spady Band performing at the 2019 Briggs Farm Blues Festival here.
Photo by Robb Malloy and Tammy Heid-Malloy/Moon’s Eye Media/NEPA Scene