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Taken from American Songwriter (Jun 28, 2024)

Guitar Legend Steve Cropper Releasing New Album, 'Friendlytown,' Featuring Queen's Brian May and ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons

by Matt Friedlander

video snapshot
Too Much Stress video snapshot

Legendary soul/blues guitarist Steve Cropper, longtime member of Booker T. & the M.G.'s and also known for his work with various other Stax Records artists, will release a new album titled Friendlytown on August 23.

The album, Cropper's second studio effort with his current backing group The Midnight Hour, features collaborations with Queen guitarist Brian May and ZZ Top frontman Billy Gibbons, as well as with country-rock singer, songwriter, and guitarist Tim Montana.

The 82-year-old Cropper has released an advance single from the album, a song titled "Too Much Stress." The track features Gibbons and May trading guitar solos, with Cropper joining in on rhythm guitar. Brian also contributed lead vocals, along with veteran singer/songwriter Roger C. Reale, who's a member of The Midnight Hour.

"It was heaven playing with those two [May and Gibbons]," Cropper said regarding "Too Much Stress."

You can check out a music video for the upbeat mid-tempo blues-rock tune on YouTube now. The clip boasts footage of Cropper, May, Gibbons, and Reale working on the song in the studio.

Gibbons, meanwhile, joined the lineup of The Midnight Hour for Friendlytown. In addition to Reale and Gibbopns, the group also features drummer Nioshi Jackson and renowned producer and multi-instrumentalist Jon Tiven.

Meanwhile, Cropper is feeling extremely positive about the quality of Friendlytown as a whole.

"If your booty is not shaking in the first two bars of this album you're already dead in a chair," Cropper said with a laugh. "I feel so good about this batch of songs. They're packed with radio hooks, and we have Billy Gibbons, Brian May, and Tim Montana playing on the album-it's like guitar heaven."

Friendlytown can be pre-ordered now. The album will be available on CD, green-marble vinyl, and via digital formats.

More About Steve Cropper

Cropper's incredible career goes way beyond his work as a member Booker T. & the M.G.'s, with whom he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1992. He's also an accomplished songwriter who was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005.

Among the famous tunes Cropper's has co-written are Otis Redding's "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay," Eddie Floyd's "Knock on Wood," and Wilson Pickett's "In the Midnight Hour."

In addition, Steve was a founding member of The Blues Brothers, and has lent his guitar talents to recordings by a who's who of famous artists, including John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Rod Stewart, Paul Simon, Peter Frampton, and many more.

In 2021, Cropper released his first album that featured The Midnight Hour, Fire It Up.

Friendlytown Track List:
01. "Friendlytown"
02. "Too Much Stress" (featuring Brian May)
03. "Hurry Up Sundown"
04. "Let's Get Started"
05. "Talkin' Bout Politics"
06. "I'll Take Tomorrow"
07. "Lay It on Down"
08. "You Can't Refuse" (featuring Tim Montana)
09. "Rain on My Parade"
10. "There's Always a Catch"
11. "In God We Trust"
12. "Reality Check"
13. "I Leave You in Peace"




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