Vida Blue is back! The early-2000s electronic outfit led by keyboardist/vocalist Page McConnell (Phish) alongside Oteil Burbridge (Dead & Company, Allman Brothers Band, Aquarium Rescue Unit), and Russell Batiste (The funky Meters) as well as new guitarist Adam Zimmon (Shakira, Ziggy Marley) has announced the coming release of their new album, Crossing Lines, due out on September 20th.

Check out the Page McConnell-designed cover art for the new Vida Blue album below:

Vida Blue – Crossing Lines – Album Art

As Page noted in an interview with Rolling Stone about reviving the old project with the addition of a guitar player,

It can be so many different things, whether it’s Emerson, Lake & Palmer or Cream. But the keyboard trio in particular, with a keyboard, bass, and drums, just kind of seemed liberating to me. Maybe it’d been years and years of playing with a guitar player, but it was important that I did my own thing. I consciously didn’t want to have guitar in the band. And I think that that was fine for the studio, but I really do enjoy guitar in my band. I don’t know how much you know about Adam Zimmon’s playing or what he’s about, but he’s not only one of the nicest guys you will ever meet, he’s such a tasteful player. He worked on my solo projects. There’s a song called “Halfway to the Moon” on Fuego. That guitar line came from a track that I’d recorded with a solo band that Adam played on. He’s currently out with Ziggy Marley now, and he’s played with a lot of different folks over the years, he’s one of those guys. 

The tracklisting and album art for the new Vida Blue album appeared on streaming services on Tuesday morning along with a stream of the album’s first single, “Analog Delay”. You can listen to Vida Blue’s “Analog Delay” below:

Vida Blue – “Analog Delay”

[Audio: Phish]

Crossing Lines marks the third album by the all-star trio, following 2002’s self-titled release and 2003’s The Illustrated Band, which features four tracks performed alongside Grammy-winning Afro-Cuban outfit, the Spam Allstars. Vida Blue toured with the Spam Allstars behind The Illustrated Band throughout 2004 leading up to their final performance at the third annual Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival on June 11th, 2004.

Rumors of a potential new Vida Blue album began to surface back in early 2018 when the Spam Allstars posted the following to their social media accounts:

14 years ago we had the honor to record and perform with Page McConnell’s Vida Blue with Russell Batiste & Oteil Burbridge. Today Spam Allstars are looking forward to getting into the studio again with this crew!! Stay tuned…

In the ensuing days, a series of photos and video clips appeared on Spam Allstars’ Instagram confirming that this highly-talented group had not only reconvened but was also recording music at the venerable Criteria Studios in Miami.

As Page tells Rolling Stone of the sessions,

I can’t remember laughing harder for four days straight than I did those four days in Miami. There was so much joy and fun. Russell is quite a character and really funny, and tends to be at the center of whatever is going on, and loud. But [he’s] a guy I care about incredibly. I have a deep emotional attachment to Russell and I’m really happy to be playing with him again. The tracks were flowing pretty easily. We were gonna go for five days, but we stopped after four. It all kind of came out in a very natural and organic way. It was a blast, it really was. 

vida blue

[Photo: Rene Huemer]

Later that year, Page McConnell sat in with Russell Batiste at a gig in New Orleans. When Batiste welcomed McConnell to the stage, he confirmed that a new Vida Blue album was in the works: “I don’t know if I should say it or not, but I’m gonna take my f*cking chances ’cause I have nothing to lose, but Vida Blue is coming out with another album!”

Vida Blue will mark the arrival of Crossing Lines with three live shows in September. A real-time pre-sale for all shows will begin tomorrow, Wednesday, July 24th at 10 a.m. ET here. McConnell also spoke to Rolling Stone about what to expect at the upcoming shows, noting,

I know what they were like in the old days with the trio. I think it’ll be fun. I didn’t want to book a huge six-week tour or something. I just wanted to get my feet wet again. One of the things I love about being in Phish is I don’t have to lead every moment of the band. I can be in the band, but not calling the songs or counting the tempos or that sort of stuff. And that’s not a luxury I have in this band, because I have to do that stuff, which is fun but a different discipline for me. …

I think everybody probably thought it was never going to happen again. It was such a long time ago that not many people talk to me about it, but it was always on my mind. I always thought we would do something again. We have three shows coming up here in the fall and I would like it to be something that doesn’t just end here but I would like it to be something that I can continue to do with these guys over the years, even if it’s just one or two shows a year just to keep it together. It doesn’t need to break up again, even if we aren’t as active as we were from 2002-2004. It’s a new phase for us, and I would like to keep it going. 

For a list of live shows and specific general on-sale dates for each, see below. For more information, head to Page McConnell’s website here.

Vida Blue Upcoming Performances

9/18 – 9:30 Club – Washington, D.C. [on sale Thursday, 7/25 at 10 a.m. ET]

9/20 – The Fillmore – Philadelphia, PA [on sale Friday, 7/26 at 10 a.m. ET]

9/21 – The Capitol Theatre – Port Chester, NY [on sale Friday, 7/26 a Noon ET]

Vida Blue – Crossing Lines – Tracklisting

1. Analog Delay

2. Checking Out

3. Where Did It Go

4. Phaidon

5. Weepa

6. Maybe

7. Real Underground Soul Sound

8. If I Told You