ZZ Top are readying a new album titled RAW that was recorded in connection with the band’s wildly popular and critically lauded 2019 Netflix documentary That Little Ol’ Band From Texas. The Grammy-nominated feature from Banger Films and director Sam Dunn includes an interlude that finds the group’s classic line up — Billy Gibbons, Frank Beard and the late Dusty Hill –– gathering for a very intimate session at Gruene Hall, “the oldest continually run dance hall in Texas”. That performance provided the basis for the RAW album release.
The album’s title is derived from the unfettered and straightforward manner in which the tracks were recorded. As seen in the film, the band members played, for the most part, together within sight of each other in the course of one day. The methodology employed was something of an homage to the way ZZ Top recorded at the start of its epic five plus decades run at the pinnacle of rock’s pantheon. Billy F Gibbons served as producer with engineering by Jake Mann and Gary Moon; RAW was mixed by Ryan Hewitt. The album’s twelve tracks recall the very beginning of the band’s recording career (“Brown Sugar” and “Certified Blues” from ZZ Top’s First Album) and include many of their major hits (“Legs,” “Tush,” “LaGrange,” “ Gimme All Your Lovin’”) with a definite blues skew (“Blue Jean Blues,” “Just Got Paid,” “I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide”) as well as some up-tempo house rockers (“Tube Snake” Boogie,” “Thunderbird”).
RAW by ZZ Top will be released July 22 by Shelter Records/BMG on 180 gram vinyl, CD and through digital platforms and is dedicated “In righteous memory of Dusty Hill.”
The album’s liner notes by Billy and Frank explaining the approach:
“..it was, in a very real way, a return to our roots. Just us and the music, no audience of thousands, no concession stands, no parking lot social hour, no phalanx of tour busses. Just us and the music.
We knew right then it was a very special circumstance, all of us in the same place at the same time and what a time it most certainly was!
It was as bare bones as when we first started touring in a behemoth Chrysler station wagon, driving vast stretches between those early far-flung shows under blackened Texas skies and first hearing our records on the radio. We were bonded as brothers.
‘The Dust’ may have left the building but he’s still very much with us.”
Just Got Paid
Heard It On The X
I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide
Gimme All Your Lovin’
Blue Jean Blues
Tube Snake Boogie
At the same time the new album is being announced, ZZ Top’s forthcoming RAW WHISKY TOUR has been revealed. The first leg of the tour, starting on MAY 27 In San Diego, CA, will see the band on stage at 50 markets across North America, more dates to be announced soon. The tour’s title is a hat tip to both the forthcoming album as well as the recent release of ZZ Top Tres Hombres whiskey from Balcones Distilling of Waco TX, a flavorful 100 proof mash bill of roasted blue corn, malted barley and rye.
Tickets are on sale for most markets starting March 11th.
RAW WHISKY brings Billy, Frank and Elwood Francis to:
Date: City / State: Venue:
May 6 Niagara Falls, ON, CAN Fallsview Casino Resort
May 2 Paso Robles, CA Vina Robles Amphitheater
June 1 Redding, CA Redding Civic Auditorium
June 2 Saratoga, CA The Mountain Winery
June 5 Jacksonville, OR Britt Pavilion
June 7 Bend, OR Hayden Homes Amphitheater
June 8 Walla Walla, WA Wine Country Amphitheater
June 9 Spokane, WA First Interstate Center for the Arts
June 12 Billings, MT MetraPark – First Interstate Arena
June 14 Grand Junction, CO Las Colonias Park Amphitheater
June 17 Tucson, AZ Casino Del Sol’s AVA Amphitheater
June 19 Colorado Springs, CO Pikes Peak Center for the Performing Arts
June 21 Loveland, CO Budweiser Events Center
June 22 Grand Island, NE Fonner Park – Heartland Events Center
June 24 Park City, KS Hartman Arena
June 25 Oklahoma City, OK Zoo Amphitheater
June 26 Little Rock, AR First Security Amphitheater
June 29 Rogers, AR Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion
July 1 Toledo, OH Toledo Zoo & Aquarium – Amphitheater
July 2 Sterling Heights, MI Michigan Lottery Amphitheater, Freedom Hill
July 5 Fort Wayne, IN Foellinger Theater
July 9 Greenville, WI Greenville Lion’s Park
July 22 Boston, MA Leader Bank Pavilion
July 23 Watertown, NY Watertown Fairgrounds Baseball Diamond
Aug 27 Beaver Dam, KY Beaver Dam Amphitheater
ZZ Top website