Texas singer-songwriter John Blangero recently released the single "Free Will In China Blue" from his solo project Sun King Rising and to celebrate we asked him to tell us about the track. Here is the story:
The first official single from the Sun King Rising debut album, Delta Tales, is Free Will In China Blue. The song had an interesting genesis. We were basically finished with Delta Tales and it had already been mastered and sent for manufacturing when Nick Katona, the President of PeacockSunrise Records, suggested that a digital bonus track would be a good addition for the release.
I sat down and wrote Free Will In China Blue the next day and I immediately knew that I had something special. Free Will, like all of Delta Tales, is mined from the southern cultural tradition. It is a southern noir type of story of sin and the redemption of love.
The phrase 'free will in China blue" is a reference to the role the man's lover plays in his life. His choice of her over his wife represents the very human use of free will, even though the result is condemned by society.
After I quickly demoed the song in my studio and laid down a solid piano foundation for it, we took it into David Granati's Maplewood Studio (near Pittsburgh) the following week. My producer, Ace Acker, coached a wonderful performance out of our team. The rhythm section of George Perilli (who played with Michael McDonald for many years) on drums and Joe Macre (of Crack The Sky fame) on bass did an awesome job of laying down the southern soul groove.
Similarly, Willie Ross (from the O'Jays) contributed the very cool funk rhythm guitar. I also am particularly fond of the incredible horn section in this song and the absolutely superb gospel-like background vocals sung by Stevee Wellons and Joy Brown.
Ace was really able to capture what I heard in my head when I first wrote the song. Free Will has been described as a southern soul stomper and that is pretty accurate.
The record company decided to release it as a single and it has had strong play in Europe and on Spotify. Of course, its success has now led us to including it on the second printing of the Delta Tales CD and it also will appear on the vinyl version of the album which is currently being manufactured.
Free Will marked a notable change in my song writing. It is the most soulful song that I had written to date and it inspired me to compose a series of songs that are being prepped for my next album.
Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen and watch for yourself below and learn more about Sun King Risinghere