Chicago’s Bloodshot Records Robbie Fulks was a powerful and leading force in the sub-country movement of the 1990s and beyond, defining the genre with a lineup of groundbreaking artists including the Old 97s, Alejandro Escovedo, Waco Brothers, Neko Case, Justin Townes Earle and more. Bottle Rockets. In 2021, 27 years after its debut, the label’s co-founders Nan Warshaw and Rob Miller Sold Bloodshot to Exceleration MusicA global investment group that owns or has strategic partnerships with catalogs of other legacy brands such as Alligator Records and Kill Rock Stars.
At the time, Exceleration said it planned to largely manage and monetize Bloodshot’s legacy catalog. But this month, veteran Nashville songwriter Layng Martine Jr., who has written songs for legends including Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Trisha Yearwood, Reba McEntire, and the Pointer Sisters, is releasing its new album “Music Man.” others. Exeleration director Dave Hansen said Bloodshot is one of five new albums to be released this year.
“What we loved about Bloodshot was that it was a country with a punk rock attitude. He had an advantage,” Hansen said. “We love to make new music and we think we have the opportunity, the resources and the team to do it. Everyone is ready to work,” he said.
Howard Greynolds (Iron & Wine, Lydia Loveless, Glen Hansard), a Chicago-based artist executive, and Kenny Schnurstein (JD McPherson), a Los Angeles-based artist executive, run the day-to-day operations of the label. as A&R agents to discover new talent.
Hansen said that Bloodshot’s online store has been rebuilt to sell the old catalog and a new website will be reopening soon. The brand’s social media channels are also newly active. Hansen said Bloodshot will expand its worldwide distribution outside of Canada through a worldwide deal with Redeye. Among those releasing new Bloodshot albums this year are Lydia Loveless, Scott Biram and Jason Hawk Harris, all previously on the label, and a new signature, the Watson Twins.
Alongside new music, Bloodshot continues with an extensive re-release campaign of some of the label’s most successful releases. This year alone, Bloodshot will re-release vinyl versions of “Gone Away Backwards” by Fulks, “A Man Under the Influence” by Escovedo, “Wreck Your Life” by Old 97s and “Somewhere Else” by Loveless. All of Earle’s output from Bloodshot will receive color vinyl prints, and Wayne Hancock’s “A-Town Blues” will be released on vinyl for the first time. Further re-releases are expected in 2024.
Hansen said it took time to get the Bloodshot back on its feet because, unlike other older tags Exceleration has bought, the tag grudgingly expired before it was sold. In 2019, Loveless accused Warshaw’s domestic partner of sexually abusing her, both verbally and physically, for several years, over social media. (No criminal charges were filed.) At the same time, local reports indicated that Bloodshot owed some artists and songwriters at least $500,000 in unpaid royalties and related earnings. The revelations caused Warshaw to resign while holding 50 percent of the company, and he and Miller were put on hold until the 2021 sale.
Hansen said there was “a lot of anger” among people involved with the company and even fans when Exceleration stepped in. Dealing with past accounting was a problem, but Exceleration has worked hard to resolve past debts. Some artists, such as Jon Langford and the Waco Brothers, were able to get the rights to their records and are no longer with the company.
“We’ve come by the artists at the company to try to do the right thing and try to get new artists opportunities to record and honor the legacy,” he said. “We’re really trying to pick up the scraps and honor those records and all the good Bloodshot has done.”
“Music Man” is a joint release with Kill Rock Stars, thanks to the involvement of company founder Slim Moon, who signed the songwriter to the KRS Nashville series in 2022, but later realized that it “made more sense as a Bloodshot record.” (Consolidating its legacy with Elliott Smith’s landmark records Kill Rock Stars, Bikini Kill is a subsidiary of Exceleration, among others.) Moon, who founded his own company in 1991, sees Exceleration as the “steward” of Kill Rock. Stars said the company operates differently from most parent companies that “buy catalogs like stocks and bonds.”
“In addition to investing in copyrights and recordings, they really form a label group. “They are building an in-house structure to help us evolve.” Moon focuses on marketing and A&R, while Exceleration deals with production and distribution. “Music Man” producer and Layng’s son Tucker Martine’s new determination to release next-generation Bloodshot releases is why he decided to work with the label.
“I’m a Bloodshot fan… When I saw their name on a record, I knew at least one foot would be in Americana, but I also knew it would be great,” he said. “Real [“Music Man”] The fact that it will be part of the label’s relaunch means some excitement and a resurgent energy around the release.”
Martine formed a band of young musicians, all of whom were friends, to record newer versions of her father’s songs dating back to the 1970s. “It’s a great way to celebrate it,” she said.