Tweakin' Some Twang

by John Lee Sanders

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Karen Love EVERYTHING John Lee Sanders writes
I especially love his take on the classical and gospel enjoy the blues/jazz/rockabilly of his other albums as well
His music sensibility is a language my heart and mind so readily absorbs.. can hardly wait to hear his new collection this October!
John Lee Sanders
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John Lee Sanders A big congratulations on Tweakin Some Twang coming out!! I’m really excited about having a copy in my hand and grateful to you for having had me on your CD. What a killer package! From the art work to a truly inspirational collection of original tunes, a class act all the way.
Butch Coulter, Harmonica
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    The latest CD from John Lee Sanders, which began as a crowdfunding event on Indiegogo. 12 great new original tracks from Sanders, an Emmy Nominated and Blues Song of the Year songwriter. This soulful acoustic/electric Americana Blues Country recording features some of the top session players from Nashville, Memphis, Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, Hollywood, Northern California, Spain, Russia, Holland, Germany and Austria. John called upon his longtime friend, recording engineer, and pedal steel Virtuoso Bruce Kaphan,(credits with Bob Dylan, Cheryl Crow, Chris Isaak) There's some great playing from CMA musician of the year, Brent Mason, and Sting's longtime guitarist, Lyle Workman.

    —DAVID RITZ, music biographer of Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, BB King, Willie Nelson, and co-writer of "Sexual healing"

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John Lee Sanders, Vocals, Keys, music, Lyrics, Saxes, Arrangements, Production, String and Horn arrangements, Cover Art.

Mixdown by Bruce Kaphan who has been there from the beginning as an amazing production assistant.
Mastering beginning this week with David Glasser, at Airshow Mastering, who has mastered the recordings of over 80 Grammy Nominees.
About this CD, and a bit about me.
My 67 years were a slow migration westward from the foothills of Alabama Appalachia, The Mississippi Delta, Louisiana Bayous, Memphis Soul, and Juke Joints of East Texas, which all had their distinctive influence on my music.
My late mother, a generous supporter of the performing arts, would always shout, “Turn off that twangy music” when the Grand Ole Opry was on. I hope I tweaked Mama’s Gumbo enough for her discerning ears, without losing the authenticity of our great musical legacy.

Having both a Classical and roots music education , brought about everything from Hollywood Film Scores, sideman to superstars, to playing Hammond organ in a black church in Oakland. We both shared a common migration from Louisiana, through much different circumstances.

As the digital revolution evolved during my years in silicon valley, It made this recording possible, allowing the contributions of musicians from French Canada, Spain, Holland, Austria, Germany, Russia, Memphis, Louisiana, Texas, East Bay California, Hollywood, and of course Music city USA, Nashville!.

I’ve been inspired the most, by songwriters, who transcend genres, span generations, and tell a story in 3 or 4 minutes, that speak volumes.
Their songs come often like a time capsulre, or a postcard from the past in our collective consciousness,
Through my longtime connection wth Paul Williams, Chairman of ASCAP, I’ve been fortunate to work with the legends of American composers, at the Library of Congress. Their back stories and contributions are timeless and priceless.

The music of 50s-60s Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana are my early roots. The cross pollination of genres were blurred since I can remember, With George Harrison’s Chet Atkins infuence, or flipping from side A to B, of Elvis’ first 45 single in 1954, Hillbilly Country to Black Blues. inadvertently, it expressed the duality of those times, and fueled a cultural, and political revolution.
Music was always the common thread that connected us all.

I had reservations releasing a country crossover project, with the economic woes of streaming, and juggling the tightrope of the past and present cultural divide.
There’s a bit of nostalgia, mixed with the reality of now. We all have differing concepts of what is Americana music. It’s ALL THAT, and more. I’m the opposite of a purist, changing and evolving, blurred times and lines tend to do that.

The musicians and I had a blast doing this project, and I hope you enjoy our work.

Bruce Kaphan, Pedal Steel, Lap Steel, Guitars, Baritone Guitar
Mick Mestek, Peter Booras, Kevin Hayes, Jim Riley, Drums
David Zieglerr, Fiddle,
Emily Mann, Fiddle
Ray Legere, Fiddle, Mandolin
Randy Seppala “Da Bones Man” Washboard
Lee Yankee, Brent Mason, Jeff Tamelier, Lyle Workman, Guitars
Dewayne Pate, Paul Oguin, Alvaro “Dr. Robelto” Fernandes, Bach Norwood, Upright and Electric bass
Vaneese Thomas, Dallis Craft, Vocals.
HG Gutternig, Tuba, Trombone.
Rainer Gutternig, Trumpet
Tollak Ollestad, Butch Coulter, Harmonica,
Maria Grigoryeva, Violin, Viola
Lyudmila Kadyrbaeva, Cello

1. Tweakin’ some twang
Words and music, JLS, additional lyrics, Michael DeCroix
2. Joy in the Morning
Words and music, JLS, additional lyrics, Michael DeCroix
3. More than spoken words
JLS, music, Lyrics, Chris Caswell
4. Backyard full of blues
JLS, music, Lyrics, Chris Caswell
5. When Ash Wednesday Comes around
Words and music, JLS, additional lyrics, Michael DeCroix
6. Hard Times Comin’ Down Hard
7. Words and music, JLS, additional lyrics, Michael DeCroix
8. Ridin’ On a Southbound Train
Words and music, JLS, additional lyrics, Michael DeCroix
9. Somewhere in the Middle
Words and music, JLS, additional lyrics, Michael DeCroix
10. On My Way to Crazy
Words & Music, JLS, additional lyrics, Chris Caswell, Michael DeCroix
11. Lucky Dog
Words & Music, JLS, lyrics, Chip Sanders
12. Barrelhouse Blues
Words and Music, JLS, lyrics, Chris Caswell
13. Big Mama’s Gumbo
Words and Music, JLS, lyrics, Steve Sanders

Special Thanks to my sweet Sister in Law, the late Catherine Crown, who believed in this project, her generosity helped make it possible,
To my family, Steve Sanders, Chip Sanders, Cindy Strickler, Huey Lewis, Bruce Kaphan who was my right hand production advisor,
Paul Williams, The ASCAP Foundation and the legends of American songwriters, Bonnie Raitt, Gecko Turner, Chris Caswell, Dave Goelz, (Zoot & Gonzo of the Muppets), ASCAP, Bob Brown, Angela Strehli, David Ritz, Garth Webber, Doc Kupka of Tower of Power, Maria Muldaur, William Ross, Martin Funderburk, Penny and Karl Groux & Perdido Beach Resort, Amy Foster, Mark Brandt, Dallis Craft, Unity Church Gulf Shores, The Reno Fun Train, the Late Long John Baldry, The Worldresidensea,
Gail Suderman and the Good Noise Gospel Choir, My great band in my Canadian 9 years, Chris Nordquist, Dennis Marcenko, Tim Porter, Tim Hearsey, Scott Grant.
The B.C Cancer Agency. And most of all to “My Joy In the Morning” my beautiful wife and love of my life, Maria Silverio Gomez who was with me through every note and word of this project.


released October 30, 2018

John Lee Sanders, Alto & Tenor Saxes, vocals, guitar,
Drum programming, Piano, Organ, Accordion
String and Horn Arrangements, Artwork.
Bruce Kaphan, Production assistant, Pedal Steel, Lap Steel, Guitars, Baritone Guitar, Nylon String guitar, 12 string, 6 string acoustic, Weisenborn guitar, Dobro guitar, Electric guitar
Peter Booras, Kevin Hayes, Jim Riley, Mick Mestek, Drums
David Zieglar, Fiddle,
Emily Mann, Fiddle
Ray Legere, Fiddle, Mandolin
Randy Seppala “Da Bones Man” Washboard
Lee Yankie, Brent Mason, Jeff Tamelier, Lyle Workman, Guitars
Dewayne Pate, Paul Oguin, Alvaro “Dr. Robelto” Fernandes, Bach Norwood, Upright and Electric bass
Vaneese Thomas, Dallis Craft, Sista Monica Parker, Vocals.
HG Gutternig, Tuba, Trombone.
Rainer Gutternig, Trumpet
Tollak Ollestad, Chromatic and blues harp
Butch Coulter, Harmonica,
Maria Grigoryeva, Violin, Viola
Lyudmila Kadyrbaeva, Cello

Recording Engineers
Recorded from 2014-2018
Track Shack, Sacramento, Peter De Leon
Josh Angus, Catalina Music, Dresden Germany
Linz Austria, Goon Studio, Armin Lehner,
Bill Watson, Nashville Trax, Nashville TN.
Gecko Turner, Corazon De Jesus studio, Spain
Garth Webber, Red Rooster Studio, Berkeley CA
John Lee Sanders, Bluesmeister Studio, Orange Beach Alabama
Bruce Kaphan Studio, Fremont, CA
Wayne Warnecke, Peaceful Waters Studio, Pound Ridge, NY
Maria Grig Studio, St. Petersburg Russia
Andy Cloninger (Dancing Dog Recording Studio) Daphne, AL


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John Lee Sanders Orange Beach, Alabama

Multi-instrumentalist, Composer, Saxophone, Guitar, Piano, vocalist, and Emmy nominated composer, he has evolved a complex musical gumbo, with the flavors of Americana, Rock, Gospel, Pop, Jazz, R&B, Soul, Country, classical, with a deep love of the traditions, and culture of New Orleans. ... more

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Track Name: Hard Times Comin' Down Hard
Verse 1
For many years we lived
By the sea where we were born
Held on to each other
In the eye of every storm
But my baby’s got a feelin’
That this might be the big one
As the storm clouds
above the ocean start to form
Weatherman says she’s closin’ in
Bout Eighty miles off shore
I'm boardin’ up the windows
Like a dozen times before

She might break down the levy
But we’re guardin’ our front door
Baby’s reachin’ out for my hand
'Gainst the wind and rain once more

And it's Hard times comin’ down
And it's a test of my faith
Wondering where's my God
May be weather beaten, not defeated
Just a little bit battle scarred,
hard times comin’ down hard

Verse 2
Dawn slowly breaks
And we’re barely holdin’ on
Shrimp boats in the harbour
Ain’t been out for so long
And there’s blues in Biloxi
and my troubles keep on risin’
and there ain’t much left to lose till its all gone

And on the mouth of the Mississippi
It’s a sad day
From Atchafalaya all the way to Red Fish Bay
Devils blood been gushin’
Deeper than a mile below
Poision on the waters
Off the gulf of mexico,

Oh we survived the hurricane
With the oil in our tracks
Rolled in like a diesel train
And you always had my back
But hard times ain't gonna last forever
We've seen it all before
Cuz we're stronger together
Gonna Make it through one more

Track Name: Tweakin' Some Twang
Tweakin’ Some Twang

There’s a neon sign that points around back
To A jumpin’ juke joint way ‘cross the tracks

Ain’t got no karaoke, no rappers,
and no dj scratchin’ and spinnin’
Just live downhome blues Cold beer
Red hot women

Sweatin out the rhythm like a chain gang
Soul sista’ shakin’ a tamborang
Come on baby shake that thang
Til the church bells ring
Everybody Sing

Hips be jerkin’ girls be twerkin’
One thang for certain the boys be workin’
The back beat, it’s a groove thang
Come Sunday morning we still be tweakin’ the twang

catchin’ lightin’ bugs in a mason jar
cutting a rug at the Cajun bar
Cry like a bee sting bendin my guitar strings
Another honky tonk angel done got her wings

Need a bottle neck, steel and wood
Gotta thunder machine under the hood
Throwin’ it down like a good boy should
I’m a distant cousin from Johnny b good


If you Feel wound up like a ball o’twine
Do the wild thing cross the county line
Ain’t too sophisticated uptown
Slick citified
Get your shuffling shoes, deep fried and amplified

Back in my southern comfort zone
Like a hound dog with a big bone
Gather my posse ride with the gang
To the love zone between the yin and the yang
Track Name: More Than Spoken Words
More than Spoken words
Music and lyrics by John Lee Sanders
Lyrics by Chris Caswell
©2018 Swampmeister Music, Kazz Song Inc. ASCAP

Mister Johnson goes to church each Sunday Morning
Says it’s by the bible we will find salvation
He’s been found at the “No Tell” Motel out of town
Under Mister Jones he makes his reservation
He found a lost little lamb to take care of
That Mrs. Johnson to this day is unaware of

Do as I say, and not as I do
Do those old familiar words apply to you
Do you practice what you preach
Follow what you teach
It takes more than spoken words
More than spoken words to make it true

In the City there’s a well known politician
Said “If elected I will fight air pollution
But once he won the vote
A lie was all he ever wrote
He fought for those who made a hefty contribution
Private jets on peoples money
Payin’ off a Playboy Bunny
But folks in Louisiana know that
“you can’t drain the swamp”


We got a right to state our feelings
Unless our feelings don’t please the majority
We’re free to speak our mind
If we do we find
We get punished just for being a minority
Be careful not to take away the right for
The very liberty we vow to fight for

Track Name: Barrelhouse Blues
Lyrics, Chris Caswell, Kazz Song Inc. ASCAP
Music and Arrangement by John Lee Sanders, Swampmeister music ASCAP
Track Name: Somewhere In The Middle (duet with Dallas Craft)
(Male sings verse one)
For all this time I longed to be your man
Can't get no traction with my wheels in the sand
But the hit and run heartbreaks
Brought us back where we began
To that Texas town on Friday nights
Makin' out behind the bleacher lights
First time lovers, never felt that spark again
Somehow we settled for second best
"You headed east", "and you just drifted out West"
How could we lose the promise of love that was so blessed

We were somewhere in the middle
Of two broken hearts
Picking up the pieces
Wondering where to start
pulled in all directions
Young hearts torn apart
Somewhere in the middle of two broken hearts

(female sings verse 2)
For all this time I loved his uptown world
But somewhere inside I'm still that small town girl
They try to compromise you, and buy you with diamonds and pearls
And if I thought for awhile your heart would never stray
I'd dress you up in style if I only had my way
I'd walk you down the aisle,
But baby even then you wouldn't stay
Oh he was second hand, second best
I carried that flame inside of my chest
How could we lose the promise of love that was so blessed


Maybe we're just too easily persuaded
Living in a jaded limbo land
Baby I've waited, ultimated
Too many lines drawn in the sand
Love is too complicated, Overated
But life never turns out like we planned
When you gonna make a move
Cuz this love is fading
But it's so hard when you're standing somewhere
Somewhere in the middle

Track Name: On My Way To Crazy
Lyrics by Chris Caswell, Kazz Song Inc. ASCAP, Michael DeCroix
Music and additional lyrics, by John Lee Sanders, Swampmeister Music, ASCAP
Track Name: Backyard Full of Blues (Lead Belly's Lament)
Lyrics by Chris Caswell, ASCAP Kazz song Inc.
Music by John Lee Sanders, Swampmeister Music ASCAP
Lyrics to come
Track Name: Lucky Dog
Cruisin’ through the Delta
Highway sixty one
Gigging down in Greenville
having too much fun
Reached and found my early times
Took a myself a drink
Mississippi trooper saw me
Wanna put me in the clink
Turns out he’s my ex wife’s cousin
loves to hear me play
Said “you comin to my house for breakfast boy
Then make yo getaway

Lucky dog, I’m a lucky dog
May just be prince charming
In a Mississippi Bull Frog
But tonight I feel like living
High Up on the hog
Bow wow wow yippee yay
I’m a lucky dawg

Well I finally got to Memphis
Had no place to stay
Met a girl on Beale Street
From some place far away
She said Johnny Lee I’m hungry
So I hailed a yellow cab
We had bbq at the rendezvous
And she picked up the tab
Flashed them big ol’ brown eyes
Pretty Little Southern Belle
Said “Baby I booked the penthouse
At the Peabody Hotel


Somebody up there likes me
And I thank my lucky star
Got an angel on my shoulder
And My daddy’s old guitar
Yeah somebody up there likes me
And the world is mine tonight
I got a sweet young thing and a diamond ring
And a brand new Cadillac car
I’m a lucky dawg

Strollin’ down on Union
My Guitar in my case
Saw that yellow sun museum
And I check out the place
I could hear Johnny cash and ol’ Jerry Lee
And Carl Perkins sing
The spirit of the Delta calling me
I thought heard the king
They gave me an audition
Man he really dug my sound
He said sign right here on the dotted line Boy
Let’s go paint the town

Track Name: John Lee Sanders, Featuring Maria Grig on solo violin - Joy In the Morning
Lyrics to come.
Track Name: Big Mama's Gumbo
Take a few Crawfish, Red Beans
Better put on some rice
Throw it in a big pot, one bite,
you gotta go back twice
All that mojo in the country
folks sho' be gettin' hungry
She got love in the mix
and I got's to get my fix
I got only one addictions
that's big mama's kitchen
She been cookin' all mornin' til the afternoon
Ya'll better get down here soon

Gotta have me some Big Mama's gumbo, yeah
Laissez les bons temps roulét,
Gonna be a good day
Gotta have me some big mama's gumbo, yeah
Somethin' good in every bite
It's gonna be a good night

We got zydeco on the radio
and the washboard be clickin'
when that gumbo starts to thicken
Alligator tastes like chicken
Okra tomatoes and hambone
Everything be home grown
black eyed peas, candied yams
baby that's who I am
Been wined and dined in Paris
With an uptown million-heiress
but the sweetest one I cherish
way back home in the swamp


Well it aint from New Orleans
Ain't creole
Straight from the bayou
and it's sure got soul
Well they boil it down in Lafayette
Way down in Thibodaux
Way down in Breaux Bridge
And even in Monroe,
Big Mama's Gumbo

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