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 (Nonesuch, $10).
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.”