The Black Keys have offered up a much-needed scoop of smoky Americana with their new single, ‘Going Down South’.
The new track was originally written by blues icon, R.L. Burnside, who recorded his version back in 1969. The Black Keys are taking a left-turn with their upcoming project and releasing a covers record titled Delta Kream, which sees them pay homage to heroes of theirs like Burnside, who walked so the duo could run.
Frontman Dan Auerbach previously said of the album: “We made this record to honor the Mississippi hill country blues tradition that influenced us starting out. These songs are still as important to us today as they were the first day Pat and I started playing together and picked up our instruments. It was a very inspiring session with Pat and me along with Kenny Brown and Eric Deaton in a circle, playing these songs. It felt so natural.”
Meanwhile, drummer Patrick Carney added: “The session was planned only days in advance and nothing was rehearsed. We recorded the entire album in about ten hours, over two afternoons, at the end of the Let’s Rock tour.”
The album arrives on May 14th, and ‘Going Down South’ is the second single from the record following their cover of John Lee Hooker’s ‘Crawling King Snake’ last month.
The Black Keys have nothing left to prove, and in recent years have grown tired of making radio-friendly rock. Their last album, 2019’s Let’s Rock, saw them adopt a back-to-basics approach and the releases so far from Delta Kream capture the pure energy that the duo create when playing some of their favourite blues numbers.
“That was one of R.L. Burnside’s hits!” Auerbach commented about the latest single. “We strayed a little from the original on our version with the falsetto and percussion, but we liked how it sounded in that moment. It’s become one of my favourites on the album.”
On ‘Going Down South’, The Black Keys have returned to being the blues obsessed kids who formed a band in the first place. After all, the opening track on their debut album was also a cover of R.L. Burnside. While this record is unlikely to have a single topping the alternative charts, Delta Kream marks the duo elegantly returning to their roots.