The title of LEE BAINS III AND THE GLORY FIRES’ debut album comes from Bains mishearing an old hymn as a child. In the soft accents of his elders around Birmingham, Alabama, “There is a balm in Gilead” sounded a lot like “There is a bomb.” It fits, really. The Glory Fires learned to construct music in the churches of their childhoods, and learned to destroy it in the punk clubs of their youths.
As much Wilson Pickett as Fugazi, as much the Stooges as the Allman Brothers, Birmingham, Alabama’s Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires have brought radical rock’n’roll to bear on their own experience and their own place. On ‘THERE IS A BOMB IN GILEAD,’ they deconstruct the music of the Deep South, strip it down and reassemble it, to make a righteous ruckus that sits at the vanguard of the vernacular.
In 2008, shortly after returning to Birmingham from college in New York, Lee Bains fell in with the Dexateens, a Tuscaloosa institution whose raggedy union of cock-eyed rebel pride and forward-thinking fury proved to be the perfect apprenticeship for a confused Southern boy, raised on Skynyrd and schooled in Faulkner. After Bains had played with the band for a couple or three years, a couple or three hundred shows, the Dexateens came to a reluctant end. Bains found himself off the road, back in Birmingham, without a band. He also found himself with a passel of powerful songs sitting somewhere between buzzsaw garage, classic power-pop and sweating country-soul. Casting his nets in central Alabama’s rock’n’roll clubs, Bains assembled the Glory Fires: drummerBlake Williamson (Black Willis, Taylor Hollingsworth, Dan Sartain), bass player Justin Colburn (Model Citizen, Arkadelphia), and guitar player Matt Wurtele. Chugging along with a fierce Muscle Shoals vibe, the Glory Fires brought a sense of urgency to Bains’ drawling, howling voice.
After tracking some demos under the powerful guidance of Texas punk pioneer Tim Kerr (Big Boys, Poison 13, Now Time Delegation) and a few months of shows, the Glory Fires traveled to Water Valley, Mississippi to record the tracks for their debut LP There Is a Bomb in Gilead at Dial Back Sound with engineer Lynn Bridges (Quadrajets, Jack Oblivian, Thomas Function). The songs were mixed in Detroit, at Ghetto Recorders by Jim Diamond (The Dirtbombs, The New Bomb Turks, Outrageous Cherry). It is there — in that Mississippi grease and Detroit grit — that There Is a Bomb in Gilead sits, fuse lit, ready to go.
There Is A Bomb In Gilead hits stores May 15th and will be available on CD, Digital and Black Vinyl with with lyric sheet and download card. In addition, there will also be a very limited pressing of 500 Purple Vinyl albums with lyric sheet and download card exclusive to mailorders.
“THERE IS A BOMB IN GILEAD” TRACKLIST:
Later next month Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires will be heading out on the road for a highly anticipated tour with their friends and musical brethen Alabama Shakes. “We just like each other’s bands from having played together in Tuscaloosa,” Bains explained about their relationship. “The funny thing is that, several months ago, before things started going really crazy for the Shakes, I asked them if they’d want to do a co-headline tour in April, since both of our albums were supposed to come out around that time. When I asked back then, they had said that a couple members couldn’t get off work for that long, so they’d have to pass. Now, here it is, six or seven or eight months later, and we’re opening for them on a tour of much bigger venues than we could’ve ever expected.”
Bains further elaborated, “We have both definitely come out of the Alabama rock’n’roll scene. Heath and Zac [from Alabama Shakes] were both frequenting Egan’s in Tuscaloosa before the Shakes played there, and I’d seen Zac at our Dexateens shows. There’s definitely a tradition of dirty Alabama rock’n’roll that takes pride in being from Alabama. I guess I’d point to the Quadrajets, Immortal Lee County Killers, Drive-By Truckers, Model Citizen and Dexateens as being a few of those bands. In those bands and others, I see a definite sense of Southern heritage, mostly in their influences (Muscle Shoals and Memphis soul, ’70s Southern rock, Big Star and Memphis garage stuff, gospel music, classic country and blues), but also a conscious effort to question and subvert what it means to be Southern. With really loud damn guitars.”
March 9 – Chattanooga, TN – JJ’s Bohemia w/ Bohannons
March 11 – New Orleans, LA – Circle Bar w/ Bohannons
March 23 – Tuscaloosa, AL – Bama Theatre w/ Dexateens, Alabama Shakes
March 24 – Birmingham, AL – The Nick w/ Black Willis, Bohannons, Doc Dailey
April 5 – Athens, GA – Georgia Theatre w/ Alabama Shakes
April 6 – Carrboro, NC – Cat’s Cradle w/ Alabama Shakes
April 7 – Baltimore, MD – Ram’s Head w/ Alabama Shakes
April 9 – Philadelphia, PA – World Cafe Live w/ Alabama Shakes
April 10 – Hoboken, NJ – Maxwell’s w/ The Neutron Drivers
April 11 – New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom w/ Alabama Shakes
April 12 – Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg w/ Alabama Shakes
April 14 – Burlington, VT – Higher Ground w/ Alabama Shakes
April 15 – Boston, MA – Paradise Rock Club w/ Alabama Shakes
April 17 – Toronto, ONT – Lee’s Palace w/ Alabama Shakes
April 19 – Cincinnati, OH – The Comet w/ Buffalo Killers
April 20 – Knoxville, TN – The Well
April 21 – Waverly, AL – Old 280 Boogie w/ Centro-matic, Pine Hill Haints