We had such a great time traveling along dusty roads during a Covid summer recording songs along the way in a hand-made, mobile recording studio - making a joyful noise! We hope you enjoy...
Jeff and Diane - My Forever DJ
Traveling in the footsteps and foothills of the very locations rock-n-roll was created - Kowliga, Alabama, New Orleans, Clarksdale and Tupelo and Muscle Shoals - we set out to capture the terroir of the music.
The catalyst being a home-crafted mobile recording studio that could be setup in 6 minutes and run from a car's cigarette lighter - no parking lot, roadside attraction, beach or hotel room was off limits. Nothing fancy - this isn't Steely Dan! But real and a part of the location. Southern Indie Music at its best.
There are places we've been to a million times, but we took the time to consider how they became important to southern music - a truly indie way to build out our musical journey.
Drawn together by their mutual love of music My Forever DJ formed their power duo in 2018. In the summer of 2020, they chose to make music together as a way to grapple with the darkness the world was navigating as a result of COVID-19. They revised travel plans to focus on celebrating the rich musical history of iconic and lesser-known southern cities and their musical histories, stopping at locations that just so happened to be virus "Hot Spots”. Armed with Clorox wipes, a wardrobe of masks, Jeff's home crafted mobile recording studio, and a booklet of lyrics and music, they researched songs emblematic of the cities they would visit, recording music all along the 1,200 mile journey. The end result is a joyful, if imperfect, noise!
Consisting entirely of covers, Southern Hotspots includes tributes to a variety of rock legends ranging from Bob Dylan and Elvis to modern rock groups, such as the Alabama Shakes. My Forever DJ rarely goes for the low hanging fruit when it comes to the songs they choose to cover, however, opting either for tracks far off the beaten path (“That’s Alright Mama” and “Hang Loose,” for example) or iconic staples that are too fun to pass up covering, but still begging to be covered well, such as “Hound Dog” and “Susie Q.”
The music mostly speaks for itself, as the ramshackle production and guerrilla recording style lean into a unique flavor of direction for the project. Some songs remain familiar and faithful while others present themselves in an entirely different viewpoint, and all eleven pieces form a cohesive idea straight from the passionate hearts behind My Forever DJ.
It’s hard to imagine a more authentic way to record an album outside of going on a road trip to various iconic rock ’n’ roll locales, and that’s exactly what duo My Forever DJ did with their debut project Southern Hotspots.
As a rock ’n’ roll experiment to further combat quarantine fatigue, My Forever DJ’s Southern Hotspots is a resounding success and audiences should be eager to see what the duo will put out next, as this album was a great way for the couple to show listeners that their influences are proudly worn on their sleeves.
There is a certain air of bravery to the entire project, yes, as something so uniquely handled and delicate can still function as the soundtrack to an undertaking as grand and headstrong as a road trip clocking in at twelve-hundred miles in length, all while navigating a global crisis of the likes the modern world has never seen. The couple loudly declares that they are seizing the day, loading up their recording equipment, and making the best out of a less-than-optimal situation. Through the music, the sense of togetherness is airtight. With headphones on, we are all in the same space, existing within the confines of a private performance as Diane and Jeff beckon us to come closer, grab a seat, and crack open a beer. Take off your shoes, stay awhile.
The music contained within the eleven-song tracklist of Southern Hotspots is extremely impressive, and even more so when you come to realize that the production equipment was set up through a cigarette lighter outlet and performed in places far off the beaten path, with the band citing locations such as parking lots and hotel rooms as pieces in the setting of a larger puzzle of their 1,200-mile road trip that aided them in inspiration to complete an entire LP’s worth of rock covers.
Jeff and Diane speak with Jim and Patrick at the fabulous Rockin' the Suburbs Podcast about all their misadventures while recording this album.
The listener is practically sat down directly in the back seat of Diane and Jeff’s automobile (one might picture a classic Chevy truck puttering from state to state) and immediately thrust into a road trip for the ages from one Southern Hotspot (get it?) to another, trekking the history of classic southern rock with their modern covers and sightseeing.