In barely ten days, Jeff Slate's all-star cover of Small Faces and Faces legend Ronnie Lane's solo classic "The Poacher" passed 10,000 streams on Spotify.
On the heels of coverage in Rock Cellar Magazine, SiriusXM and elsewhere, the track, which features Earl Slick (David Bowie, John Lennon) and Steve Cradock (Ocean Colour Scene, Paul Weller) joining Slate on guitars, and a crack all-star band – Joan Chew (Lez Zeppelin) on bass and strings, Adan Ippolito (John Lennon’s Plastic Ono Elephants Memory Band) on piano and Hammond organ, co-producer Eric Lichter on backing vocals and Paul Weller’s longtime drummer Ben Gordelier – the release of “The Poacher” marked what would have been Ronnie Lane’s 76th birthday with a full-throttle blast of old school mod-style rock and roll.
Produced by Slate and Eric Lichter, “The Poacher” is the second taste from Slate’s forthcoming solo album, The Last Day of Summer, following 2020s much lauded “Heartbreak.” Like that song, “The Poacher” was recorded in sessions spanning the globe during the pandemic lockdown and features an all-star cast of Slate’s musician friends.
The track was mixed by the legendary Duane Lundy at the Lexington Recording Company and mastered by Justin Perkins at Mystery Room Mastering. The single’s arresting cover is by artist Muhid Miah, aka The Seasick Sailor.
“Ronnie Lane has been my hero for as long as I can remember, and this felt like the perfect way to honor his memory,” says Slate. “Everybody brought their absolute A-Game to the sessions, and that was inspiring and humbling, considering the players involved. We all dug deeper and reached higher on what feels like an exciting new direction.”
“I’ve worked with Jeff Slate for a long time, and I knew the song, so it was important to create something that wasn’t just a cover but was all him. So, you can hear the influences, but filtered through Jeff’s own distinct sensibility,” says the legendary guitarist Earl Slick of the track. “As soon as I heard the track I knew instinctively what to do. The song and the vibe were great – with amazing drumming, which is crucial – so it wasn’t me trying to fit myself into somebody else’s vision. And it sounds like a band, which is cool considering we were all over the world when we did our parts.”
“The Poacher and “Heartbreak” follow hot on the heels of the whopping 43-song live album Slate released in August 2020. Lockdown Live was recorded live during Slate's #StayHome online concert series during the COVID-19 enforced lockdown this year. It featured nine original songs by Slate from throughout his solo career, as well as during his tenure with The Badge, the band he founded in 1997, as well as songs by Tom Petty, George Harrison, John Prine, Warren Zevon, Lord Huron, Marvin Gaye and others. The second disc of the two-disc set included nineteen songs written by Bob Dylan (plus one Traveling Wilburys number).
Slate’s next studio album, The Last Day of Summer, is set for a 2023 release. Watch for more live dates from Slate and his band to be announced soon.