Ace Of Cups, the beloved all-female rock group from the 1960s San Francisco psychedelic scene, will release their self-titled debut studio album on November 9th via High Moon Records. Produced by Dan Shea (Jennifer Lopez, Mariah Carey, Santana), the record’s twenty-one tracks span fifty years of brilliant songwriting.
From 1967 to 1972, Ace Of Cups – Mary Gannon (Bass), Marla Hunt (Organ, Piano), Denise Kaufman (Guitar, Harmonica), Mary Ellen Simpson (Lead Guitar), and Diane Vitalich (Drums) – were at the epicenter of the ‘60s cultural and social revolution. From the Acid Tests to the protests, from the free concerts in Golden Gate Park to the ballrooms of San Francisco, they shared stages with everyone from The Band to the Grateful Dead. Michael Bloomfield, Jerry Garcia, and Buddy Miles were their fans and the Ace were chosen to open for Jimi Hendrix the week after his groundbreaking performance at The Monterey Pop Festival. When asked by Melody Maker magazine to name his favorite musical discoveries on his U.S. trip, the Ace Of Cups was the first thing he mentioned.
“I heard some groovy sounds last time in the States, like this girl group, Ace Of Cups, who write their own songs and the lead guitarist is hell, really great.” -Jimi Hendrix, 1967
Despite eliciting some music industry interest for their exceptional songs, sublime harmonies and exuberant live performances, the Ace Of Cups never got the chance to make a record of their own.
As the decades passed, the band members pursued other personal and creative endeavors, playing music both individually and collectively when opportunities arose. While performing at Wavy Gravy’s 75th birthday party and SEVA Foundation benefit, the Ace met with High Moon Records’ founder George Baer Wallace, who was there to talk to the band about releasing archival concert recordings. After hearing them play live, Wallace was so moved by their spirit and spark that he hatched a new plan on the spot, offering the Ace Of Cups the opportunity to record their first ever studio album.
With the enthusiastic support of their new record label, and the guidance of celebrated producer Dan Shea, four of the band’s original members began exploring their back catalog and writing new material. Right from the start the Ace understood the art of the song, and the band has kept that spirit true and close to everything they do. Ace Of Cups blends pure rock, folk, blues and gospel influences with a pop sensibility and a garage band rush; all tinted by an intoxicating psychedelic sheen. As the news spread that the Cups were recording, old friends began to come by the studio to offer support and musical contributions. In total 36 songs were recorded during those sessions, and what started out as a chance to set the record straight turned into a history-making second act.
Album guests include legendary players – and long-time friends of the band – Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casady, David Grisman, Pete Sears (Jefferson Airplane/Starship, Moonalice), Steve Kimock (Zero/RatDog), and Charlie Musselwhite, as well as lead vocal turns by Bob Weir, Taj Mahal, Buffy Sainte-Marie and Peter Coyote. Even with this illustrious line-up, this record belongs wholeheartedly to the Ace Of Cups, who can convey the joy of humanity’s greatest art form as simply and as eloquently as anyone ever has:
“Music – everything will be alright . . .” – Ace of Cups
This is the first release from the Ace of Cups project. Volume Two – coming in 2019 – includes 16 more songs from the band, as well as contributions from Jackson Browne, Wavy Gravy, Sheila E and the Escovedo family, Bakithi Kumalo (Paul Simon), and more.
Visit http://www.aceofcups.com for more information about the band and to pre-order Ace of Cups on CD/LP/Digital.
Learn more about the Ace Of Cups in this award-winning KQED piece, which has garnered 5 million views on social media: http://bit.ly/TheAceOfCups
Ace Of Cups Tracklist:
Introduction: There’s a Record Being Made
We Can’t Go Back Again
The Well (feat. Bob Weir)
Taste of One
Feel It in the Air
Interlude: Baby from the Forest of Knolls
Life in Your Hands (feat. Taj Mahal)
As the Rain (feat. Peter Coyote)
Daydreamin’ (feat. Taj Mahal)
On the Road
Pepper in the Pot (feat. Buffy Sainte-Marie)
Medley (The Hermit / The Flame Still Burns / Gold & Green / Living In The Country)
Outroduction: It’s Always Safe…