American Hi-Fi Covers Joe Jackson’s ‘Steppin’ Out,’ the First in a Series of New Covers (Listen)


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Rock Cellar Magazine
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The world hasn’t heard much from American Hi-Fi in a while — but the Boston-based rock/power pop band known for the hit 2000 single “Flavor of the Weak” returned last week with a lively cover of “Steppin’ Out,” which was a Top 10 hit for Joe Jackson in 1982.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ufMuCXap0UU

American Hi-Fi is fronted by Stacy Jones, an industry veteran who’s a venerable rock and roll utility man, padding his resume over the years with his own bands like American Hi-Fi and, before that, Letters to Cleo, in addition to taking part in mega-tours with the likes of Matchbox Twenty, Miley Cyrus and the Chainsmokers.

As Jones said in a statement regarding “Steppin’ Out,” this is the first of many cover songs to come:

We recorded these songs before the world shut down.  We chose them because this is the music that we grew up on.  The songs that came through the muffled speakers in the backseat of the family car, or in my case, blasted unremitting, through boomboxes on the streets of Brixton on my walk to piano lessons.  We chose them because these songs made us feel something deeply, they resonated in a way that as young kids, we couldn’t fully appreciate.  And now as adults with children of our own, we realize the importance of that visceral feeling.  That feeling of dropping the needle on a record, and being transported through your headphones to a secret place that only you and a few close friends had access to. These are the artists that made us want to pick up drum sticks, plug in a Jazzmaster, and make a fucking racket with our best friends until the neighborhood shut us down.  And that tenet still rings true today.  American Hi-Fi has always been a family affair.  A brotherhood. Now, more than ever, I appreciate the value of family, of music, of nostalgia, of coming together and sharing the joy of a song that can transport us, even for a moment.  I hope these songs strike a chord with you.  And to be clear, I realize that our scrappy little rock band covering some of the greatest songs of all time isn’t going to change the world… but I hope that when you drop the needle on this record, you close your eyes and find yourself transported.  From a world of fear and unease, of division and disharmony, even for just a moment.  And when you open your eyes, and the world opens up again, you can walk back into it with a smile on your face and a song in your heart, even if we didn’t write ’em.”

In 2016, the band released American Hi-Fi Acoustic, a stripped-down re-recording of their breakout 2000 debut record as a means of celebrating 15 years together, and this new cover marks their first release since then.

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Stacy Jones also has a new project going on concurrently with this new activity with Hi-Fi: Atwater Punx, a family project/collaboration with his wife, Kristen Wagner Jones (Shut Up Stella, Bullet & Snowfox). The duo’s eclectic debut EP, The Flea Draws Blood, is out this week:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWDbaneqYGM

 


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