“Maybe the world wasn’t ready for the Relatives when they first formed, but today they combine sweat, grit, and a righteous musicality in a manner that’s unequaled.” – AUSTIN CHRONICLE
Formed in 1970 by Dallas gospel singer Rev. Gean West and his brother Rev. Tommie West, The Relatives bridge the gap between traditional gospel, soul and psychedelia with gritty songs that confront heavy issues like war, addiction and inequality. After more than forty years, they’re finally set to release their debut album The Electric Word on February 19, 2013 via Yep Roc Records. Produced in Austin by Jim Eno of Spoon, with backing from former Black Joe Lewis guitarist Zach Ernst and others, The Electric Word features 10 all-new recordings with fervent titles like “Bad Trip” and “Speak to Me (What’s Wrong With America?).”
The West brothers are Dallas gospel royalty, having shared billing with The Staple Singers, The Mighty Clouds of Joy, and The Five Blind Boys of Mississippi, among others. In the 1970s, they developed a sound that was informed equally by those artists and Jimi Hendrix and James Brown. The Relatives released a handful of singles locally and spent much of that decade playing clubs, hotels and auditoriums in the north Texas region.
The West brothers continued their ministries well beyond the group’s ’70s heyday, but Relatives live performances ceased after 1980, until reaction to the acclaimed 2009 compilation ‘Don’t Let Me Fall’ (Heavy Light Records) prompted them to take the stage again. Since then, The Relatives’ ecstatic musicality and muscular four part harmonies have floored audiences at Lincoln Center, Bonnaroo, ACL Fest, The Ponderosa Stomp and elsewhere.
Rev. Gean West calls the group’s resurgence “Nothing short of a miracle.”
The Relatives will tour extensively in 2013, including performances at SXSW and more.
Listen to The Relatives song “Bad Trip” in the player below.
The Relatives – ‘The Electric Word’ tracklist:
1. Things Are Changing
2. Let Your Light Shine
3. Speak to Me (What’s Wrong With America?)
4. Bad Trip
5. Trouble in my Way
6. We Need Love
8. Your Love is Real
9. It’s Coming Up Again
10. I Will Trust in the Lord