LAWRENCEBURG, Tenn. — Luke Dunkin discovered that making his new album available on iTunes and Spotify might be more difficult than the actual process of writing songs and recording.
“It’s been a massive headache,” Dunkin said.
He’s confident he’ll get the tracks from “64” online, but in the meantime, his fans can catch Luke Dunkin and Second Place Jake live at FloBama in downtown Florence on Saturday.
Dunkin said he and his band will play the new album in its entirety along with some new songs and some cover tunes they chose for the CD release show.
He jokes that people should at least arrive at 10 p.m. and listen to Jay Burgess, of The Pollies, perform a solo acoustic set.
The Lawrenceburg native recorded “64,” a nod to the U.S. highway that runs across the width of Tennessee, with the help of Shoals songwriter/musician/producer Gary Nichols and studio engineer Don Srygley.
Dunkin got hooked up with Nichols through a mutual friend, Shoals blues guitarist, Max Russell, who mentioned Nichols when they discussed Dunkin’s desire to record another album.
He got in touch with Nichols and sent him a few songs to check out.
During a rainy drive to Huntsville to hear Jason Isbell at the Crossroads Cafe in Huntsville, Dunkin received a call from Nichols, who asked if Dunkin was ready to record an album.
“We put together a budget and recorded 11 or 12 songs,” Nichols said. “He wrote everything on the album.”
While he had enough songs for the album, the situation quickly changed once they got into the studio.
“My favorite thing about the record, five of the songs I wrote while we were recording,” Dunkin said.
“I had a big wave of creativity. One night I wrote three songs at home by myself.”
So they deleted some tracks and added some of the new ones, which Dunkin believes worked for the best.
Most of the album will be new material, but there are two older tracks, “Full Moon” and “Searchin’ ” that received new arrangements on “64.”
“Everything else was written during the process or right before,” he said.
While the songs are about life and life experiences, both real and slightly embellished, Duncan admitted there was a theme running through the album.
“It’s all about women and whiskey,” Dunkin joked. “It’s in just about every other song.”
In reality, there are songs about how not everyone lives a fairy tale life with two kids and a beautiful wife. There are also upbeat songs and songs about being on the road, something Dunkin is all too familiar with.
“That shows up a lot,” he said. “I wrote one about my dad.”
“Biloxi Blues” is about a gambler who loses it all in Biloxi, Miss., and is trying to get back home to Tennessee. Dunkin said when he was young, his father worked in Corinth, Miss., and drove back and forth to be with his family.
“That’s my favorite,” he said.
The fact that the songs are like stories is not an accident.
Dunkin is a fan of The Drive-By Truckers, whose primary songwriters Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley spin tales in song of life on the road and their days growing up in the Shoals. He cites John Hiatt, Steve Earl and Bruce Springsteen, all noted for their songwriting, as influences.
While he doesn’t want to slap a label on his music, Dunkin describes it as a “newer breed of alt-country.” Some songs might have something in common with modern radio country while others are more comparable to The Black Crowes.
Nichols said the bulk of the album was recorded at The NuttHouse Recording Studio in downtown Sheffield. Two cuts were recorded in a studio Nichols operates on the second floor of NuttHouse.
Some work also was done at Mojofilter and FAME Recording Studios in Muscle Shoals. Mojofilter is a studio Srygley operates on the second floor of FAME.
Nichols and Srygley played guitar, bass, drums, keys and steel guitar on the album, while Dunkin added acoustic guitar on a couple of tracks. Dunkin said Steve Vickery played bass on a few tracks.
Nichols and Srygley served as co-producers on the album, which was engineered and mixed by Srygley.
“I would describe Luke’s music as somewhat modern country with a flair of 90s alternative rock,” Srygley said. “I enjoyed working on it and think it’s really cool.”
Nichols said some of the songs have a definite Americana influence.
“Those guys bent over backwards to make it happen,” Dunkin said.
Saturday’s show will feature Dunkin on rhythm guitar and vocals, Andy Abernathy on lead guitar, Aaron Moore on bass and Josh Winters on drums.
“Over time, I’d like to add maybe one more guitar player for some things,” Dunkin said. “I’m obsessed with playing guitar. I don’t want to ever not play guitar.”
Russ Corey can be reached at 256-740-5738 or russ.corey@TimesDaily.com.