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Find Yourself. Impatience. Death Blues. Acceptance. Impermanence. Iron String. The six songs that comprise Jon Mueller’s Death Blues are each their own doorway to both a bold new musical statement from the renowned drummer/percussionist and an unprecedented journey into a conscious contemplation of death — and the life that surrounds it. Released in tandem with a multi-part manifesto, Death Blues transcends its own existence as 34-minute, earth-cracking rock album. Much like Mueller, whose landmark solo work stands alongside his role in notable bands Volcano Choir (and previously, Collections of Colonies of Bees), Death Blues embodies the acknowledgement that there’s more to experiencing music than simply just listening.
Conceived and largely executed in its recorded form by Mueller himself — adding hammered acoustic guitar and bold vocal patterning to his ever-evolving mastery of percussion — Death Blues is audibly (and intensely) personal. However, the very act of recording was the first step in a discourse that Mueller began over a year ago, forming a band of brilliant performers from his Milwaukee, WI hometown that would go on to perform Death Blues at Hopscotch Music Festival in Raleigh, NC and at two sold-out Death Blues events in Milwaukee, where a labyrinth led the audience into a multi-sensory and participatory experience culminating in a climactic performance of the album. It was as close as one could get to being next to Mueller at that moment of discovery: of the inevitability of death as the impetus to become more present in each moment and of the necessity of building his own path to sharing that idea.
Death Blues was conceived and written by Jon Mueller from April – July 2011.
Jon Mueller: drums, percussion, hammered acoustic guitar, and vocals on all tracks.
Nathaniel Heuer: upright bass on all except ‘Find Yourself,’ vocals on ‘Impatience’ and ‘Impermanence.’
Mark Waldoch: trombone on ‘Iron String.’
Recorded and mixed July – August 2011 by Shane Hochstetler at Howl Street Recordings, Milwaukee, WI.
Mastered by Jeff Lipton at Peerless Mastering, Boston, MA, November 2011.