America is heralded as The Melting Pot for a reason. A conglomerate of immigrants, their culture, and the music they bring with them, this country has always been a special place, unique for the diversity and creativity it promotes.
Chad Huey’s new project, Jonny and Clyde, embraces these values in full force through their debut EP Family Recipes, its own little melting pot filled with Irish folk, classic rock & roll, and a dash of Memphis blues.
The singer-songwriter, drummer, and guitarist, who also lends his talents to Memphis-based band Grape, teamed up with his father, Glen, for much of the project. Not only was Glen an executive producer for the EP, but provided vocal and instrumental additions, including a father-son drum duo on the second track, “Black Zion Child.” They recorded in Memphis’ Young Avenue Sound studio with the help of sound engineer Calvin Lauber.
Family Recipes is a very appropriately themed collection, not only because of how it was made, and with who, but the lyrics and stories within each song. Opening track “Youngblood” recounts the relationship of his mothers’ grandparents whose last name it was titled after. The “Black Zion Child” in its successor is Huey, for his family is from that area in Mississippi, not far from Tupelo. The image of a “Redbird,” the third and final song, is important to his family, too, signifying their ancestors visiting from the afterlife and bringing peace.
Besides the conceptual angle, the songs also reflect their familial inspiration aurally. Though there are strong Americana overtones to the upbeat, rhythm-driven songs, there is a distinct Irish-folk influence, particularly on “Redbird” and also noticeably on “Youngblood.” The reason for that is clear: Huey descends from Irish heritage, and including that sound in his songs adds a special flavor that keeps the theme holding strong. There is no need to ask why he chose to release these songs together; they are all closely related, a rare form of cohesion not found in many mainstream releases today.
The collection was written over the past five to six years, but it took until 2020’s quarantine for Huey to be able to start actualizing the production he had always envisioned for them. Part of his intention with Jonny and Clyde being a separate project from his other band was for him to collaborate with more artists and expand his creative boundaries, inviting even more spicy ingredients into his musical mix. On Family Recipes, in addition to his father, he also worked with bassist Ethan Vaughn and Brad Dickerson, who provided contributions on the keys and dobro—a strong commencement of his re-ignited collaborative spirit.
As Huey demonstrates as both father and son, nothing quite beats a home-cooked fare (in this case a song), with just the right ingredients passed down through its signature family recipe.