Greg Sover, HIS-STORY…
Singer, Songwriter and guitar slinger, Greg Sover, is set to release his newest recording, HIS-STORY, on July 21st on Grounded Soul Records. The ten-song LP features eight blues, roots, and rock-tinged originals and Sover is joined by iconic Band of Gypsies bassist, Billy Cox, on Jimi Hendrix’s seminal “Manic Depression” and rarity, “Remember.” The album was recorded in Sover’s hometown of Philadelphia, co-produced by Sover and Jim Salamone, and includes bass player Kenny Aaronson (Bob Dylan, Rick Derringer, Billy Idol, Joan Jett, Hall & Oates) and drummer/podcast host David Uosikkinen (The Hooters). “It’s all about crossing these boundaries and bringing everyone together, whatever your race, religion or nationality,” Sover says of HIS-STORY.
HIS-STORY follows Sover’s acclaimed 2020 EP, The Parade, and takes its name from the album cover art which finds the songwriter with his red Stratocaster in front of a building on Jefferson Street in Nashville that prominently features the words, “Support HBCU” (Historically Black College or University) written on its side. Sover chose the spot as it was the site of a guitar battle Hendrix lost by default and it highlights his connection to both Billy Cox and the legendary musician.
“Jimi is a huge influence on me. The first song I learned on electric guitar was “Purple Haze,” he explains. “When Billy and I first discussed working together, he wanted to hear me playing the Hendrix songs, so he looked at my YouTube live videos before he agreed as he wanted to make sure that the songs were infused with Greg and not an imitation of Jimi. He was really impressed with our version of ‘Remember.”
“When I heard you play, I heard something very, very special,” Cox said to Sover. “I said, whoa, I had to sit and listen… [with ‘Remember’] You did a great job. You would make Jimi proud if he heard that solo. You aced that song.”
The album kicks off the lap steel-drenched groove of, “Dark House,” and is followed by the Vernon Reid flavored, scorching, electric guitar riff of “Freedom Part 2,” which finds the songwriter posing the question: “is freedom mine? Is freedom free? Cause look at the pain freedom’s costing me.” It features the backing vocals of Charlene Holloway and continues Sover’s lyrical exploration of the Black experience in America.
Blues rocker, “Temptation” draws its inspiration from Stevie Ray Vaughn and segues into the immediately recognizable guitar riff of “Manic Depression” – it is the first of two songs in collaboration with Billy Cox. “One Way Train,” and “Tonight” are a roots-rockers buoyed by Sover’s expressive vocal delivery and songwriting prowess on display. “Living on the Edge” brings the resonator back front and center with a frenetic declaration, “I want you to understand me baby, I want you to teach me things they don’t teach at school…”
“Song 28,” opens with a heavy, blistering, reverb-drenched guitar solo over a driving rhythm section and the album is rounded out with atmospheric and pleading, “Stuck In the Rain” and concludes with the Hendrix penned, R&B rarity, “Remember” – the second collaboration with Billy Cox.
During the completion of HIS-STORY, Sover became a father for the first time. “My son’s birth made me look at life a little different and artistically it made me hungrier — that desire came back to motivate me,” says the guitarist. “It gave me an added sense of empathy and understanding to the people around me. Knowledge of watching my son grow. It was like having two babies in a way – my son and getting this album done. I attack the music differently, you watch the words you say, the chords you play, the strings you hit, it’s more polished… This album I wanted to sing stronger and throughout time, I grew as a singer. I feel more confident.”
“I wanted to relate to my listeners more than anything on this album,” he continues. “I felt like I kept trying to resolve something on the last three albums, this one I just wanted to connect and be heard.”
A first-generation American of Haitian descent, Greg Sover is an integral part of the local Philadelphia music scene. He has two previous full-length albums, 2016’s Songs of a Renegade (S.O.A.R.) and 2018’s Jubilee, and 2020’s Parade six-song EP. He has performed locally and at festivals with the likes of David Uosikkinen’s In The Pocket, Yardbirds, Jeffrey Gaines, Jimmy Vivino, Tommy Conwell & the Young Rumblers, Walter Trout, Sonny Landreth, Popa Chubby and the Marcus King Band. Sover and his band made the semifinals for two consecutive years at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis and won the 2015 Hard Rock Rising competition at Philadelphia’s Hard Rock Cafe in 2015. He has received support from WXPN (playing both the Xponential Fest and Free at Noon) and over 100 radio stations in the U.S. and overseas, he was awarded a Living Blues Top 20 album. He has made appearances at Philadelphia Folk Fest, and Lancaster Roots and Blues Fest, amongst others.
Greg Sover will make select appearances in support of HIS-STORY including June 17th’s one-off tribute, A Night of Jimi Hendrix at the Newtown Theatre and September 2nd at the East Petersburg Blues Festival.
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