Dr. John (right) in the studio with Dan Auerbach
Dr. John delivers on his new album.
It’s a cross-generational meeting of musical minds as New Orleans legend Dr. John teams with the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach on the new album Locked Down
The Doctor’s 25th solo album sees him recapture the strident funk and spaced-out soul of his seminal late-’60s/early-’70s LPs, with help from guitarist/producer Auerbach, whose work Dr. John, aka Mac Rebennack, was already familiar with.
“My granddaughter had turned me on to Dan’s albums — it was the first thing she turned me on to that I actually liked,” says the 71-year-old, laughing.
Auerbach approached Dr. John about working together in 2011, and after meeting and hashing out ideas, they played a high-profile gig together at the Bonnaroo Music Festival — which, coincidentally, is named after one of Dr. John’s albums.
Recorded at Auerbach’s studio in Nashville, Tenn., with a hand-picked band of young players, Locked Down was the result of two sets of sessions — including an initial nine-day marathon during which all the players came up with music live on the floor.
“[Dr. John] blew my mind on a daily basis,” Auerbach says. “He is just one of those people who are timeless, effortless and totally musical.”
For Dr. John, the recording was a throwback affair. “It was a way I hadn’t cut sessions in a long, long time,” he says. “It took me a while to snap to the concept. But the main thing is Dan brought in some really good thoughts, really good ideas. I think it came out real interesting.”