ZZ Top: New Album ‘Raw’ Coming 7/22, Dedicated “In Righteous Memory of Dusty Hill”; Tour Dates

Rock Cellar Magazine StaffCategories:Latest News

Rock Cellar Magazine

When ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill passed away in late July at the age of 72, the future of the Texas blues/rock icons was very much in question.

However, Hill’s comrades Billy Gibbons and Frank Beard soldiered on his memory, continuing to play shows with longtime guitar tech Elwood Francis manning bass duties. They’ve also now announced a new studio record, Raw, which is slated to be released on July 22.

Announced on Monday, Raw was recorded in connection with That Little Ol’ Band From Texas, a 2019 Netflix documentary on the band that earned strong reviews when it premiered on the streaming service.

The record’s story, per a news 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”).

Per a news release, Raw is dedicated “in righteous memory of Dusty Hill,” as explained by Gibbons and Beard:

“… 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.”

The track listing:

Brown Sugar
Just Got Paid
Heard It On The X
La Grange
I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide
Gimme All Your Lovin’
Blue Jean Blues
Certified Blues
Tube Snake Boogie

In addition to the album, ZZ Top announced the RAW Whisky Tour, which will start up in San Diego on May 27 and visit 50 markets across North America. A news release notes that the tour’s name is a hat tip to both the forthcoming album as well as the recent release of ZZ Top Tres Hombres whisky from Balcones Distilling of Waco TX, a flavorful 100 proof mash bill of roasted blue corn, malted barley and rye.

The dates thus far, with more on the way:

May 6 Niagara Falls, ON, CAN Fallsview Casino Resort
May 2 Paso Robles, CA Vina Robles Amphitheatre
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 Amphitheatre
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 Amphitheatre,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

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