The first record I bought for myself was Jimi Hendrix’s The Ultimate Experience, the collection of Jimi’s greatest hits. I was 13 years old. I had bought albums before then while going to the store with my parents or with friends, but this was the first record I bought with my own money, on my own. I took the bus to the mall, and was music shopping, and the record cover seemed to call to me. I had no idea who he was, but it looked rebellious, cool, psychedelic, and exciting. It hailed me. I felt proud I had selected it.
I took it home, unwrapped the package, put the CD in my stereo, and took out the booklet to read along while listening. I was hooked. The first notes of “Purple Haze” played. It felt magical and mysterious. Then “All Along the Watchtower” with its powerful, driving power chords and lyrical guitar solos. I felt like the universe had unveiled a great secret for me.
From Jimi I worked backwards. He was my gateway record. I tried to uncover all the blues greats who helped shaped Jimi’s style, from Albert King to Robert Johnson, and continuing backward to early delta blues. And it led me to Bob Dylan. I consider that purchase to be one of the most influential moments in my early musical life.
Nick Africano‘s brand new album The Butterfly Bull is a story about collaborations and the exploration of contradictions. About baseball and art. Love and loss. Dark yet hopeful. And it’s a story about Africano’s ability to pair some of the best elements of folk and soul with superb storytelling and raw passion.