Gil Scott-Heron is best known for his work in the 70s and 80s as a spoken word performer whose work was a fusion of jazz, blues and soul with lyrical content which focused on the sociopolitical concerns of the time, delivered in a style that at times was melismatic and other times was pretty close to rapping. in fact, his albums Pieces of a Man, which featured his seminal and best known song “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” and Winter in America influenced two modern genres that many of us love with every fiber of our beings – hip hop and neo soul.
Although Scott-Heron battled drug addiction and was in and out of jail during the last decade of his life, he was still a remarkably prolific artist, touring when he was able to, releasing the critically praised I’m New Here and a memoir which was published posthumously.
Interestingly enough, on what would have been his 65th birthday, XL Recordings announced that they would be releasing an album of unheard of Gil Scott-Heron recordings. During the I’m New Here sessions, the legendary Scott-Heron recorded stripped-down version of some of his greatest songs in which he accompanies himself on piano with no overdubs or extra studio production.
As you’ll hear on “Alien (Hold on to Your Dreams)” the first single from Nothing New jazz, blues and soul were some of the earliest influences on what may arguably be one of modern music’s most controversial, profoundly interesting and influential artists. In fact, the stripped down version captures something deeply timeless about Scott-Heron’s work – and in a way that makes it seem as though he’s still with us,
The album officially drops on Record Store Day, April 19th.