The Last Tycoon announce debut album ‘Oppenheimer Blues’
The follow up to the 2015 EP 'Death By Dixie' is set to arrive this October 19 and places the creative spotlight on the history and culture of New Mexico’s atomic age.
Atlanta-based rock-n-rollers The Last Tycoon have announced their debut album. Titled 'Oppenheimer Blues', the album is set for an October 19 release. Co-produced by Jim White and Michael Rinne, the striking landscape of New Mexico serves as the cinematic backdrop of the album.
Frontman John Gladwin, who balances a career in music and film production, accepted a 2017 assignment for a CBS sci-fi pilot shot near Albuquerque. During the downtime on set, he absorbed the local culture and history – especially as it pertains to the Atomic Age of the 1960s. Channeling the mysterious and mundane experiences of the people he met, Gladwin crafted the 11-track effort that is 'Oppenheimer Blues.'
“New Mexico wears the past on its sleeve,” Gladwin says. “This record started out as an exploration of the past, but as we were making it the world changed drastically. It seemed like every day with each new headline the songs took on a new meaning and became more prescient than ever. When a song grows with the times – that’s how you know you’ve got something special.”
Gladwin enlisted two very distinct producers for Oppenheimer Blues. The primal-sounding instincts of producer Jim White -- who also produced the band's 2015 EP 'Death By Dixie' -- are evident in tracks like 'Midnight Taxi' and 'Jesus Christ, Union Man.' Meanwhile, Nashville producer Michael Rinne adds polish by using a smoother studio approach. Gladwin believes that clash of styles creates the right kind of tension – like a movie script where unlikely forces align.
In the middle of Oppenheimer Blues, White’s voice, junkyard percussion and banjo playing come alive across a chorus of lies on 'Same Road, Different Name.' Next, 'Lincoln County Oracle' (which started as a screenplay) takes the story of the Oracle at Delphi from Greek history and drops it into a trailer park in New Mexico. And in 'Albuquerque Tonight,' two honeymooners find themselves stuck at a casino instead of starting a new life of California.
“I'm not a good love song writer,” Gladwin admits, talking about the album cut 'Albequerque Tonight.' “This song grew into a metaphor about the way lovers in a relationship have to adapt. You might be in a certain place but you're hoping to be somewhere else – a flyover to be endured to get where you want to go. At times you want to be in Hollywood but you're stuck in Albuquerque. And I stole the narrative from some friends of mine who got married in Athens, Georgia, and they were moving to L.A. two days after their wedding. And their car broke down, of course! So this song is sort of a meditation on love over adversity.”
The band takes its name from an unfinished novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, written while the author was trying (and failing) to make it as a screenwriter in Hollywood. Meanwhile, the album’s title alludes to the late J. Robert Oppenheimer, often credited as the Father of the Atomic Bomb, and also the head of the famed Manhattan Project.
“He was such a luminary in that era,” Gladwin says, “but to everyone you talk to who was around at the time, he was just another guy and they were all dealing with the normal stuff of their lives – breakups, falling in and out of love, paying the bills, getting a house, having kids. Just your normal blues. The world-ending meeting the personal – I really liked that juxtaposition.”
Gladwin -- whose own path has carried him from small-town Arkansas to Nashville to Sweden and now Atlanta -- says The Last Tycoon will embark on a Fall 2018 tour across the U.S. Yet, wherever his career takes him, the unmistakable aura of New Mexico follows.
Pre orders for 'Oppenheimer Blues' will begin soon and a lead single ought to follow soon. Meanwhile, check out the album art and find The Last Tycoon's schedule of upcoming tour dates below.
Album art for 'Oppenheimer Blues':
The Last Tycoon 2018 tour dates:
OCT 5 - Slim's Last Chance - Seattle, WA
OCT 6 - The Big Legrowlski - Portland, OR
OCT 7 - Oberon's - Ashland, OR
OCT 10 - Hotel Utah Saloon - San Francisco, CA
OCT 12 - The Escondite - Los Angeles, CA
OCT 20 - The Bowery Electric - New York, NY
OCT 22 - Radio Bean - Burlington, VT
OCT 23 - Rosen Krown - Rochester, NY
Nov 3 - Eddie's Attic - Atlanta, GA
NOV 7 - Radio Room - Greenville, SC
NOV 13 - The 5 Spot - Nashville, TN