“When I sing, that’s just what happens,” says Joe Cocker-esque soul man Jimmy Lumpkin, who emerged from his cabin he shares with his wife and his dog in the backwoods of South Alabama and traveled to California to make his forthcoming debut record, Home, which will be released by Skate Mountain Records. In May, Lumpkin unleashed a four-song EP that offers a a little taste of what’s to come, and y’all, it’s delicious.
Lumpkin began playing in clubs and bars in Savannah at the ripe old age of 16, spent his college years traveling with a praise and worship band. “One day, you wake up and you don’t want to put on the airs and pretend like you see things the way the collective does,” he explains. “Spirituality is a mystery to me; I used to say that I had answers, but I realized I don’t have any answers, and I’m not going to pretend I do. Any kind of gathering that brings a sense of purpose and oneness, there’s a tangible power in that. It’s the agreement, the ‘amen.’ There’s a transference of energy,” he continues. “I believe in that.”
While Lumpkin had always considered himself a folk singer before making Home, producer Noah Shain saw something unique in Lumpkin, and captured it beautifully in the studio. “I recorded it all with Noah in California—he uses all this old analog equipment, all the sounds are real,” he recalls. “I’m an acoustic, folky guy; when I write, I pour out folk music. Noah’s vision was more along the lines of old Motown sounds. He brought in horns and backup singers, and I brought an open mind. I was very pleased with everything,” he adds. “I’ve had a great response to the music.”
Whether delivering his music solo or with a band that has stretched to 11 members—a roster which has included guitar hero Duane Betts and New Orleans-based horn outfit The Hornstars—the music gets into your bones and makes you just want to keep living. “Camaraderie is the most important thing. I would love to be able to take the band everywhere and spread some good vibes,” he says. “I’m ready to get out there and do whatever it takes to make the people feel inspired and believe in it, as much as I do,” he adds. “I want it to expose the fact that there are barriers and break them down.”