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Twilight Captures Soul of New Orleans

Albuquerque Journal

By Ron Gonzales

Vocalist Greg Dulli’s projects typically have been
on the soulful side of things. Beginning with his band
the Afghan Whigs in the ’90s and its dance-driven take
on grunge, and into this decade where his primary work
has been with the Twilight Singers, Dulli has always
sought to show that Motown was as big an influence on
him as was any rock band.

All of this makes the sound of the Twilight
Singers’ new album all the more surprising. “Powder
Burns,” the fourth installment from Dulli’s project,
is by far its most sonically visceral release,
beginning with the sheer, distorted power from the
lead-off track “I’m Ready.” And if you want to know
whom to credit for the sudden change, look no further
than Italian band Afterhours.

“I produced (them) a few years ago and they asked
me out on a tour,” Dulli said by phone from a
Hollywood rehearsal space where the Twilight Singers
were getting ready for its current tour. “So I moved
to Italy for six months and played guitar (with them),
which was one of the best times I’ve ever had playing
music. That was vastly influential to what people hear
on this record.”

Truth be told, Dulli was similarly influenced on
“Powder Burns” by the catastrophe of Hurricane
Katrina. But whereas artists are currently banding
together for tribute albums to benefit the disaster
area, Dulli, a citizen of the Crescent City, actually
recorded much of “Powder Burns” there to help do his
part to resuscitate his beloved city.

“I think that locations can definitely influence
the personality of a record,” Dulli said. “It’s why
the back half of (‘Powder Burns’) starts to slow down
and it becomes elegiac, because what New Orleans has
gone through is a surreal experience. I had lived
there 10 years and I started to look at it as a
‘Twilight Zone’ episode.”

Dulli somehow managed to keep the project going
with the help of producer Mike Napolitano and a
revolving door of musicians, a sort of Twilight
Singers trademark. Amid this chaos, Dulli is happy to
report that besides himself, he will soon have another
permanent member, vocalist Mark Lanegan, whose yowl
has graced Screaming Trees records and more recently
those of Queens of the Stone Age.

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