Photo: Darren Race
Photo: Darren Race

After several years of only playing live and releasing a handful of singles over, San Francisco’s Joseph Childress is set to release his first proper LP later this summer on Empty Cellar Records. Arvel Hernandez from Empty Cellar tells me the label was actually created specifically to release music from Childress, and they receive more inquiries about his work than any artist on their roster. The Rebirths will be the first of three Childress records that Empty Cellar will release over the next year and a half.

The Rebirths was originally recorded sometime around 2005 after Childress got in some trouble in New Orleans and found himself back in his childhood home. He locked himself in a bathroom with a guitar (that had naturally been damaged jumping freight trains), where he recorded the entire album. I can’t help but be reminded of the legend of Justin Vernon’s Wisconsin cabin, but unlike Vernon, I have a feeling that Childress won’t sound sad and sing entirely in falsetto on the album . If Childress’ captivating live performances are any indication, the album will pull as much energy as possible from a single voice and guitar, and he might even get a little angry. We can only hope. For a small taste of why people have been clamoring for the release of The Rebirths, check out a few live performances from Childress below.