Living for the past few years in Mobile, near the Alabama Gulf Coast and close to the Mississippi border, has been more than a 'sea change' for the Australian born and raised musician/singer and songwriter.
It has brought him closer to the source of a lot of the music and influences that have shaped his life. New Orleans is two hours west, for Muscle Shoals, Memphis and Nashville add a few more than that due north. Mobile itself also has a generally underappreciated history in rockabilly, country, blues and popular music.
Keith grew up playing rhythm & blues in a 1960's era group. He was also influenced by the rock n' roll and country sounds of his 1950's childhood in Melbourne, Australia. The late 1960's were a heady time to be in a band in Melbourne - it was the music HQ of Australia with a live/recording scene to rival any city anywhere. There were also three weekly locally made television music shows.
It was a hectic time and Glass never got around to making a solo album until 1989's Going Over Old Ground for the Virgin label. He filled in the gap mostly behind the scenes founding celebrated label Missing Link and working with a large number of artists as a manager or producer (Nick Cave and The Birthday Party, The Go-Betweens for example) promoter (Townes Van Zandt, Link Wray, Billy Joe Shaver but three in a long list) and a burgeoning journalistic career which continues to this day.
As for the label and promoting he did it till the money ran out (as the old joke goes).
Four more solo albums followed plus another three with the fun rockin' country trio Glass/Hamilton/Young and two duo albums with childhood friend Mick Hamilton.
A musical visit to Canada (where he performed with namesake Keith Glass from Canadian band Prairie Oyster) was followed by a trip to the lower 48 and a slot at Gulf Shores' Frank Brown International Singer Songwriter Festival. This was in November 2001. Keith met his future wife on one of the wild final nights of the 10 day festival.
Now an established resident of Mobile, the songs on the new album were either written as a result of, or seemed to weirdly predict his new life.
Playing all the instruments, singing all the parts, pushing the buttons - this is a personal project that doesn't reek of navel gazing. It does celebrate regionality right from the opener Dolly Parton Bridge - the name locals give to the structure spanning a stretch of river north on the 1-65. It is also based on an actual event when a few years back someone stopped on the bridge and threatened to jump off, the song theorizes on what could have led to such an act.
Ditto Somebody's Daughter, Somebody's Son - inspired by tragedy at a now shuttered legendary r & b club in nearby Prichard.
The main theme however is the turmoil and joys of Keith's life partnership. Missing Mobile for instance almost happened and was written at a time it looked like he wouldn't be back and would not be welcome if he came. As for the other revelatory songs you'll just have to listen and draw your own conclusions.
Miss Ala lives or dies by the quality of the songs and after 150 or so recorded Glass knows his way around a lyric and melody. He also lays it all on the line with some tracks seemingly played by a whole band and some completely stripped back to just one instrument, one voice. There is a whole lot of fun, soul and a sense of release in the twelve selections that make up this personal but very approachable set on Keith's own imprint Missing Link.
Keith has forged a name in Australiana/Americana through worldwide sales of his albums, his production work and music research writing.
He has a three page entry in the bible of the history of Australian popular music 'The Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop'
He has had a number one chart record on the Australian country charts, two top twenty pop singles as singer of his first professional band and a gold record as a major performer on a musical cast recording.
He has produced American artists in Australia and Australian artists in the USA, has a lonesome one US country chart entry as a songwriter and had over 20 artists record his songs.
His song, Wilderness Trail co-written with Mick Hamilton was named 'Song Of Place' by the Australian Heritage Commission in 2000 against competition from virtually every Australian songwriter.
Miss Ala is a unique project. Loosely thematic, with every song telling a part of the story.
Contact Keith email@example.com ph/fax 251 342 9252
cell 251 605 4519
5417 Hilltop Dr, N. Mobile Al 36608 USA
Song information and credits:
1. DOLLY PARTON BRIDGE (2.47)
2. MISSING MOBILE (3.04)
3. THE DEW DROP INN (1.53)
4. FIREBALL (3.00)
5. SOMEBODY'S DAUGHTER, SOMEBODY'S SON (Ballad Of The Harlem Duke) (3.31)
6. YOU DO THE MATH (3.20)
7. MAKING SWEET MUSIC FOREVER (3.15) (Keith Glass/Mary Heard)
8. SLEEPING THROUGH THE STORM (3.38) (Keith Glass/Kevin Plemons)
9. (You Made It Look) LIKE AN ACCIDENT (2.25)
10.HANK & TOWNES (2.28)
11.MOBILE BLUE (2.40) (Mickey Newbury)
12. HAD THE FEELIN' (3.58)
All songs written by Keith Glass unless noted
Recorded in MOBILE, Alabama 2004/5
Assembled by Barry Little at Nomad Productions, Daphne AL
Mastered by Jim DeMain at Yes Master, Nashville TN
Design work Craig Bailey, front cover photographer unknown.
Keith Glass - all vocals, instruments and bridge photo.
'Fireball' in memory of David 'Butch' McDade.
Thanks to Betty, William, Amelia and Bud (RIP).