Lettuce managed to keep the party going through the pandemic to emerge with its eighth studio album, Unify. Out on June 3rd via Round Hill Records, the album announcement arrives alongside the lead single, “Gravy Train”.
The hip-hop/jazz/future funk sextet once again assembled at Denver’s Colorado Sound Studios, completing a trilogy of albums that began with 2019’s Grammy-nominated Elevate and continued with 2020’s Resonate. Though recorded last year, the history of Unify extends years back to when the band first de-camped at Colorado Sound for Elevate. Armed with dozens of songs, Lettuce tracked enough for the 2019 album, its successor, and then some.
The compositions fermented over time, and are now fully marinated in the funk and fit for human consumption. After spending the pandemic apart, the members of Lettuce—Adam Deitch (drums), Ryan Zoidis (saxophone), Adam ‘Shmeeans’ Smirnoff (guitar), Erick ‘Jesus’ Coomes (bass), Nigel Hall (keyboards/vocals), Eric ‘Benny’ Bloom (trumpet)—reunited stronger than ever.
“We’re just getting tighter and tighter,” Coomes said. “Really, these are the first records made with the six of us as a team, and it’s the best the band has ever been: live and in the studio; the funkiest and the most fun.”
Rather than road-testing the songs before laying them down in the studio, the band developed the ideas in real-time. The result is a 16-track collection of songs that fans will see grow and evolve in the live setting.
“It’s very, very exciting. Our audiences are going to hear how we end up interpreting these songs for the first time, in the live form, and then for the 300th time; they’ll get to hear right along with us how the songs will morph and evolve,” Smirnoff said.
Lettuce opened the studio up to collaborators as well, with Unify hosting guest spots from Bootsy Collins on vocals for “Keep That Funk Alive”, Dumpstaphunk bassist Nick Daniels on “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright”, and Berklee professor Jeff Lockhart playing guitar on “The Lock”.
“We really needed to unify,” Zoidis said, “This album came together at a time when we were away from each other longer than we had been in years.”
The lead single, “Gravy Train”, gives listeners a taste of what Lettuce is cooking up for Unify. The track carries as a New Orleans swing courtesy of Bloom’s trumpet as it meets up with Jesus’ Meters-like bassline.
“‘Gravy Train’ just has that classic Lettuce vibe,” Smirnoff said. “It’s one of those songs that’s timeless and could have shown up on any of our first albums. This one is for the OG Lettuce Heads.”
Listen to the new Lettuce single, “Gravy Train”, below and click here to pre-order Unify. The band will head out on the Unify World Tour beginning on March 24th in St. Petersburg, FL at Jannus Live. For tickets and a full list of tour dates click here.
Lettuce – “Gravy Train”
RVA Dance (5:42)
Keep that Funk Alive ft. Bootsy Collins (4:21)
Everything’s Gonna Be Alright ft. Nick Daniels (3:33)
‘Lude 1 (0:29)
Hawk’s Claw (5:33)
The Lock ft. Jeff Lockhart (5:06)
Change the World (4:26)
‘Lude 2 (0:30)
Gravy Train (6:00)
Get It Together (4:39)
‘Lude 3 (0:29)
Lett The World Know (5:19)
Lettuce will perform at the first-ever Daze Between New Orleans festival on May 4th. Taking place in the days between weekends of Jazz Fest, the new event will feature two nights of The String Cheese Incident in addition to sets from Snarky Puppy, Eric Krasno & Friends, Rebirth Brass Band, and many more at Faubourg Brewery on May 3rd and 4th. Tickets are on sale now.