Today I’m excited to bring everyone the new single from The Mortal Prophets called “Death Letter.” The single comes from the band’s debut LP, Me and the Devil, that hits all music platforms on December 9th. The Mortal Prophets’ John Beckmann shared this about the direction of the material, “Life is about unknowing yourself and so it is with making music. It’s about the journey, and I know that will be discernible in the music as new songs and new albums are released over the next few years.” If you’re ready to join The Mortal Prophets on their musical odyssey, you’ve come to the right place. I was also able to catch up with Beckmann for a brief interview below.
When were you first introduced to “Death Letter Blues,” and what about it stuck with you enough that you wanted to take it on for this LP?
I’ve been a huge fan of Son House for years. “Death Letter,” is his signature song. House played a metal-bodied National resonator guitar using a copper slide with insane passion, as one commentator noted – it is “one of the most anguished and emotionally stunning laments in the Delta blues œuvre.” Lyrically, the song is about a man who learns of the death of the woman he loves through a letter delivered to him early in the morning. The narrator later views her body on the cooling board at the morgue, attends her funeral, and returns to his home in a state of depression.
How does your rendition of the track relate to the rest of your new LP, sonically and thematically?
I carefully selected “gut-bucket” songs that are in my opinion the essence of America’s “Primal Scream.” These are songs that really resonate with me, they are filled with anguish, and they are soulful, passionate, and fiery. I think we can all relate to them almost 100 years later, that’s how profound they are. One could say that I am exorcising the ghosts.
In general, how would you describe this brand-new LP in totality? What takeaways do you want listeners to hone in on?
I would hope that people understand and appreciate the fact that rather than simply copying the music, I have reinterpreted them for our time, mixing alternative rock and electronica, and I have woven very different harmonic and sonic textures through these brilliant songs, in an attempt to turn on new listeners, and people that may have never heard the originals.
What is in store for The Mortal Prophets in the future?
I’m working on two new projects simultaneously with two radically different producers, Alexander Krispin, who was a protégé of Daniel Langois, on an album tentatively entitled – “Dealey Plaza Blues,” and David Sisko who produced my first EP, “Stomp The Devil” earlier this year, on a six-song EP called “ICNCLST.” They will be a strange mix of a few covers that I need to get out of my system as well as original material, it’s been an exciting year for me. You can expect both of those projects to be out by the summer of 2023.