(HUDSON, N.Y.) – Fronting his small rock combo, the Mission Express, rock singer-songwriter Chuck Prophet – America’s answer to Ray Davies – returns to Club Helsinki Hudson this Friday, July 13, 2012, at 9 p.m. One of rock ‘n’ roll’s best-kept secrets, Prophet has become a favorite of Helsinki audiences who have been enjoying his distinctive blend that connects the dots between Johnny Cash rockabilly, 1960s garage-rock, Bob Dylan and The Band, Southern rock and Southern gothic pop, ‘70s soul and Blaxploitation funk, and a host of other influences, for years of shows dating back to the club’s early days in Great Barrington, Mass.
Nobody harnesses the distinctive sound of a Fender Telecaster quite like Chuck Prophet, and, as the opening chords of ‘Play That Song Again’ ring out with an undeniable twang, Prophet starts his new album, Temple Beautiful. His most focused and concise work in years; Prophet’s twelfth studio album is ultimately an open love letter to San Francisco.
For most of his life, San Francisco has been Chuck Prophet’s muse … or more accurately, his drug of choice. “It can suck you under. That first hit. It really does a whammy to you. And if you’re like me you can find yourself chasing the San Francisco dragon for the rest of your life. That’s what the new record is about.”
One of the driving forces behind cult heroes Green on Red and the influential L.A. Paisley Underground scene in the 1980s, Prophet’s creative mold was actually cast in San Francisco. Recalls Prophet, “Temple Beautiful is the name of a long closed rock and roll club which was between Bill Graham’s iconic Fillmore Ballroom and the tragic storefront church founded by the Reverend Jim Jones. It’s where I saw my first gigs.”
In addition to releasing two amazing albums in Soap & Water and ¡Let Freedom Ring! over the past several years, Chuck’s music has been heard in hit television series True Blood (HBO), Californication (Showtime) and Sons of Anarchy (FX). Prophet also cowrote all the songs on Alejandro Escovedo’s critically-acclaimed album Real Animal.
In his first show before a small crowd at the old Club Helsinki, Prophet channeled the classic rock virtues of Tom Petty together with the showmanlike values of James Brown to make for a stunningly memorable evening. From his twangy, surf guitars to his soul preacher moves, Prophet was an iconoclast, and in form and in content — narratives about losers, drifters, con men and the like — his show could have been the soundtrack to a Quentin Tarantino film. The California rocker is a quirky original who has been associated in one way or another with musicians and bands including Ryan Adams, Lucinda Williams, Cake, Kim Richey and Kelly Willis.
Prophet and company are making the sort of music that has made pop stars of the White Stripes and their ilk, yet they are doing so while drawing on a much wider canvas and with greater wit, intelligence and virtuosity. A masterful guitarist to boot, Prophet takes Robbie Robertson’s grammar and vocabulary and builds on it and to use the instrument for its articulate musical possibilities, and not merely to play blues and jazz licks.
For reservations in The Restaurant or in the club call: 518-828-4800