The Black Keys Share New John Lee Hooker Cover Of ‘Crawling Kingsnake’

Yesterday (April 14), The Black Keys announced their new covers album, Delta Kream, an homage to Mississippi Hill Country blues musicians who have inspired them. Now, the duo have shared the lead single from the upcoming record, “Crawling Kingsnake.”

Released as an exclusive track for their Lonely Boys & Girls fan club, the song is now available on all major streaming platforms. The track has been recorded by numerous blues artists but is best known for John Lee Hooker’s 1949 version. Speaking about the song, the band said in a statement:

“I first heard [John Lee] Hooker’s version in high school,” said lead singer Dan Auerbach. “My uncle Tim would have given me that record. But our version is definitely Junior Kimbrough’s take on it. It’s almost a disco riff!” Patrick Carney added, “We fell into this drum intro; it’s kind of accidental. The ultimate goal was to highlight the interplay between the guitars. My role with Eric [Deaton] was to create a deeper groove.”

Delta Kream was recorded in ten hours spread out over two afternoons at the end of their Let’s Rock tour. In the studio, Auerbach and Carney were joined by Kenny Brown and Eric Deaton, longtime members of the bands of blues legends including R. L. Burnside and Kimbrough.

The Black Keys are also working with Visit Mississippi, the state’s tourism organization, to sponsor new individual markers for Burnside and Kimbrough on the Mississippi Blues Trail, which tells the stories of the state’s blues artists through words and images. The duo is currently acknowledged on a group marker in Holly Springs entitled “Hill Country Blues.”

The new markers will be built in Holly Springs and Chulahoma, MS, places closely associated with Burnside and Kimbrough. More information about the Mississippi Blues Trail is available here.

Delta Kream comes out May 14th. Pre-order it here.

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Ashley Perez Hollingsworth

Ashley Perez is a freelance music journalist based in Chicago. Her work has appeared on AXS, Chicago Innerview, New City, The Millions, and Illinois Entertainer. She also runs her own music blog at Radio Not Found. Some of her favorite bands include Nirvana, The Cure, Muse, Creeper, and Green Day.

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