Bruce Watson Produced Album, Which Also Features Grammy Winner Matt Ross-Spang on Guitar
–Robin Hilton, NPR Music
“What they call sacred soul: a nexus of secular soul music and gospel and you hear it all in here, right? It’s got a little Hi Records flavor, it’s definitely got the Temptations kind of flavor, it’s very southern at the same time. If you like that kind of secular music, you’re gonna love this even if you have not found Jesus.”
–Ann Powers, NPR Music
“Hard-driving… rasping and soaring into falsetto.”
–Jon Pareles, NY Times
Dedicated Men of Zion (DMZ) – the sacred soul quartet from eastern North Carolina who are all related to one another by blood or marriage – has come a long way since the release of 2020’s Can’t Turn Me Around on producer Bruce Watson’s Bible & Tire Recording Co. label. They have performed at globalFEST, Telluride Blues & Brews, and Fresh Grass festivals. They have earned the acclaim of Brooklyn Vegan, NPR Music, and The New York Times. They scored placements on best of 2020 lists by NPR Music and the Philadelphia Inquirer. They’ve made a fan of Taj Mahal, signed to Concerted Efforts for booking, and taped an NPR Tiny Desk Concert.
With Bruce Watson of Fat Possum at the helm, they have surpassed their debut with The Devil Don’t Like It, out March 4 on Bible & Tire Recording Co. The funky, wah-wah guitar-driven first single “Lord Hold My Hand” comes out tomorrow. On February 17, the syncopated, soulful title track will be released as the second single. Throughout, the band’s jubilant harmonies shine, from the affecting minor-key testifying of “Rock My Soul” (a song that Elvis Presley and Louis Armstrong have sung but never with this much power) to the late-period STAX-inspired groove of “A Change Is Gonna Come.” DMZ reinterprets “Up Above My Head,” made famous by Sister Rosetta Tharpe and the indelible “I Know I’ve Been Changed,” the latter from the Staples Singers songbook.
The Memphis-based Sacred Soul Sound Section provided the supple but sinewy grooves, featuring GRAMMY winner Matt Ross-Spang on guitar (Jason Isbell, Margo Price, John Prine), drummer George Sluppick (Rufus Thomas, Albert King, J.J. Grey & Mofro, Chris Robinson Brotherhood), guitarist Will Sexton (Alejandro Escovedo, Roky Erickson, his brother Charlie Sexton), bassist Mark Edgar Stuart (Elizabeth King, Alvin Youngblood Hart), and organist Al Gamble (St. Paul & The Broken Bones).
Anthony “Amp” Daniels had a career in secular music backing the likes of Elton John, Bebe Winans, Toni Braxton, before re-embracing his sacred soul roots in forming DMZ, which soon caught the ear of Music Maker Foundation’s Tim Duffy, who put the group on the nonprofit’s artist roster. Original group member Trevoris Newton passed away but DMZ persisted.
Anthony and Antwan Daniels’ father, Johnny Ray Daniels, has also recorded an album ‘Whatever You Need,’ also produced by Watson, that will be released May 6 on Bible & Tire Recording Co., with the first single coming February 22.
The Dedicated Men of Zion:
The Sacred Soul Sound Section:
Will Sexton – Guitar
Matt Ross-Spang – Guitar
Mark Edgar Stuart – Bass
George Sluppick – Drums and Percussion
Al Gamble – Organ