Pictured at Ardent Studios are (L-R):
Ralph Arista, band assistant; Bill Gibson,
drummer; Johnny Colla, guitarist/sax;
Jim Gaines, engineer/co-producer;
Lydia Gilman, staff assistant (seated);
Huey Lewis; Curry Weber, assistant
engineer; and Sean Hopper, keyboardist.Memphis, TN (February 12, 2010)–Huey Lewis and the News have returned to Memphis’s Ardent Studios to record their first studio album in nine years, a Stax Records and Memphis Soul tribute collection.
In the early days of the Stax Records success story, when the work overwhelmed the label’s in-house studios, Ardent was often called upon to provide room for numerous overflow sessions. Lewis remarked, “We’re trying to do it right, and I think if you’re working at Ardent, you’re a little more careful.”
Engineer and co-producer Jim Gaines (Journey, Santana, Steve Miller, Tower of Power, Stevie Ray Vaughan, George Thorogood) brought in engineer John Hampton for the first day to set up the session and craft the initial sounds of the basic tracks. Curry Weber assisted with engineering duties and was Pro Tools operator; Lydia Gilman provided staff assistance.
Gaines, a Memphis native, actually recorded the San Francisco demos that resulted in the first self-titled album from Huey Lewis and the News. Gaines subsequently recorded their next three albums. The new Stax/Soul album is the first time they have all worked together since Fore! in 1986.
“When Huey asked me to work with him on this record, I immediately jumped onboard,” says Gaines. “We decided to record in Memphis at Ardent where many of the originals were recorded, and we were able to work with many local musicians and background singers who embody that sound. It’s basically a live album–a powerful Pop-Soul record with Huey’s unmistakable touch.”
Hampton commented on the sessions, “When Jim Gaines asked me to work on this new Huey Lewis record, I immediately started hearing ‘The Heart of Rock ‘n’ Roll,’ ‘I Want a New Drug,’ ‘If This is It,’ and even having visions of Marty McFly and Doc Brown in Back to the Future, a movie forever associated with Huey. It’s great to have Huey back here at Ardent.”
In 1985, “The Power of Love” became the band’s first #1 single, and Sports, their third album, hit the #1 Billboard spot. In their career, Huey Lewis and the News has scored 19 Billboard top-ten singles and has sold 19 million records worldwide.