“With their impressive March debut, Begging for More, the Reputations successfully approximated what it would sound like if the Beatles had hired Phil Spector to produce "Happiness Is a Warm Gun" with the Mamas & Papas as guest vocalists.”
-Kevin Curtin, Austin Chronicle
“The evolution of soulful rock and roll rooted in a punk rock ethos.”
-Nathan Lankford of Austin Town Hall
“Connects music from the past with an audience in the present.”
-James Parker of KUTX
Austin, TX based “power soul” group The Reputations recently recorded at Ardent Studios, the monumental Memphis recording space that has housed the creation of classic albums from Isaac Hayes, R.E.M., The Raconteurs, Albert Collins, ZZ Top, Jimmie and Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Big Star among countless others. After becoming a fan of The Reputations most recent and first LP Begging for More, Jody Stephens, original drummer of Big Star and manager of Ardent Studios, produced their upcoming album, marking his first endeavor under the title of producer.
The Reputations are: vocalists Rockyanne Bullwinkel and Jenny Carson, Justin Smith on bass and vocals, guitarist Rudy Spencer, Seth Gibbs on guitar and vocals and drummer Jimmy Wildcat. The group have played together in various iterations and projects previous to The Reputations, involved in a garage/rock/glam community frequently centralized around the output of Sweetheart Studios, the intimate East Austin recording room owned and operated by Seth and Jimmy. They’ve developed a well-crafted union of rock n’ roll, old school R & B, the hard hitting guitar riffs of 70’s glam rock, and even moments of San Francisco sunshine pop. An emulation of iconic 60’s and 70’s characteristics without the tongue and cheek kitsch that acolytes of the same eras often employ; The Reputations’ inspirations are genuinely embraced and passionately reinterpreted.
Ardent Studios’ has become a landmark in the history of American pop, soul, blues, rock and R&B. Founder John Fry began his musical endeavors as a teenager in the mid 50’s, outfitting his parent’s garage as a workshop for experiments with reconfigured audio hardware and broadcast equipment. A few solo acts were recorded out of the garage as his fascination became dedication; by 66’ he had a new studio space and was recording popular bands in the Memphis area. By 71’ the studios moved to its current home on Madison Avenue.
The Reputations sphere of influence aligns with many of the sounds captured at Ardent Studios, notably the early 70’s era of STAX label artists including Booker T. & the MGs, Sam & Dave, and The Staples Sisters, who all recorded formative soul albums there. Not to mention Big Star themselves, who released music under the Ardent label imprint created by John Fry. Jody Stephens has kept the significance of Big Star alive through contributions to the recent documentary on the band, Nothing Can Hurt Me. He has also continued performing with Big Star’s Third, a concert series dedicated to the original band’s unacclaimed final 1970’s release, Third, featuring John Auer, (The Posies), Pat Sansone & Jeff Tweedy (Wilco), Mike Mills (R.E.M.), Ira Kaplan (Yo La Tengo) as well as other musicians inspired by the pivotal record. Outside of Big Star related performances Stephens recently released an album through Burger Records with Luther Russell under the name Those Pretty Wrongs.
In addition to Jody Stephen’s production, The Reputations new album was engineered by Adam Hill: a disciple of John Fry’s teaching whose credits include Big Star, the Raconteurs, and Low Cut Connie.
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