© Addison Hare

                                                                                                  © Addison Hare

Those Pretty Wrongs are Jody Stephens and Luther Russell, two old friends and veterans of the music scene in different ways. Jody was the drummer for the legendary band Big Star and now helps run equally legendary Ardent Studios in Memphis. Luther Russell was the leader of seminal roots-rock band The Freewheelers and is now an acclaimed solo artist and producer.

It was the documentary Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me that brought Jody and Luther together creatively, when Jody asked Luther to join him for some promo performances. A chemistry was immediately noticed. They began writing songs and performing them whenever possible, soon taking their name from the opening line of Shakespeare Sonnet 41, which they slipped into one of their first collaborations, “Fool Of Myself”. Burger Records released the first track they cut in Memphis, “Lucky Guy”, with “Fool Of Myself” as the flip side. There was an outpouring of support for the new music, which gave Jody and Luther the confidence to move forward.

Those Pretty Wrongs was tracked entirely to 2” tape at Ardent Studios in Memphis, using much of the old Big Star gear, including Jody’s original kit from Radio City and Third and Chris Bell’s acoustic and electric guitars from #1 Record. The album was mixed by Luther Russell and Jason Hiller at Hiller’s Electrosound Studios in Los Angeles, CA. Jody is way out in front on this release--really for the first time ever--taking all lead vocals and co-writing all of the songs with Luther. Through the words on this record Jody opens up about his life, which has been well-documented, but not in this very intimate way. Adds Stephens: “For me the lyrics are a walk through day-to-day emotions and experiences."

Luther lives in Los Angeles and Jody in Memphis, so there was a real commitment to finishing these songs and cutting them until they were totally satisfied. Those Pretty Wrongs will be released in May in a unique partnering between the Ardent Music label and Burger Records.  No one could be happier than Jody and Luther, who feel that this keeps a family-like feeling to the release. “Why stop now”, remarks Luther. “We’ve wanted to keep this thing sounding and feeling personal from the start because it’s extremely personal for both of us.” Just like Luther's handmade collage inside the LP, the record is akin to a series of snapshots: of lives present and past, and fleeting moments of simple joy and reflection.

© Jim Newberry

© Jim Newberry