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Colin Linden, Luther Dickinson team up for romantic-themed covers album

From one of the more romantic episodes of Nashville came a proposal of sorts between series performance consultant Colin Linden and fellow guitarist Luther Dickinson about making an album together.

The result of their bond is the 10-track Amour, credited to Linden and Dickinson with the Tennessee Valentines.

It started on a lunch break during the filming of the Season 4 episode from 2016 in which Rayna Jaymes (played by Connie Britton) and Deacon Claybourne (Charles Esten) get married.

“I had thought about this idea of songs that had a great commonality by their sentimentality,” Linden recalls. So he mentioned it to Dickinson, who was on set to appear in the wedding band backing up Jim Lauderdale and mime a guitar part Linden had played.

“And Luther said, ‘When you get around to doing that, that’s a record we should make together,’ ” says Linden. “It took about a year and a half for an opportunity to come up and do it.”

The bulk of the Linden-produced Amour was recorded in fall 2017 at Blackbird Studio in Nashville, Tennessee. Later, Linden “continued to chip away at it,” as he puts it, and that work involved bringing in singers (featured vocalists include Nashville stars Jonathan Jackson and Sam Palladio) and mixing at Pinhead Recorders.

For Linden, “Careless Love” — which appears twice on the album — is one of the songs “that tied everything together.”

“I was quite aware that I wanted there to be an atmospheric [instrumental] version that would be the theme song for the record,” Linden says of the leadoff track. “Rachael Davis was there when we did that, and within an hour or so, we did the vocal version [with her].”

Davis also sings on a version of the Roy Hamilton hit “Don’t Let Go,” but its most memorable vocal sound might be the burst of laughter.

“That’s me,” Linden admits. “As we were fading out, I started playing a little Howlin’ Wolf [guitar lick]. And Luther immediately jumped into it and he played one of my favorite things that Willie Johnson plays [on an early Howlin’ Wolf record], and I just broke up. I couldn’t stop myself. And Luther said, ‘You gotta keep that on the record.’ And I said, ‘OK, if you say so.’ ”

Amour arrived Feb. 8 via Stony Plain Records, and it was important to Linden for it to be out in time for Valentine’s Day, which is his wedding anniversary.

“Valentine’s Day is my favorite holiday,” he says, “but love is always in season.”

— By Chris M. Junior

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