Fort Smith naitve Luke Pruitt will release his second studio album, “Songs of Home, Pt. 2” on Oct. 9. This is the follow up to his compelling debut ‘Songs of Home, Pt. 1., a look at life through the prism of Pruitt’s hometown of Fort Smith, Ark.
“I wanted to write a record that told a complete story,” Pruitt said of his second studio album, recorded over four days at The Sound Emporium in Nashville, Tenn., with producer Calvin Turner (Marc Broussard). “I guess, thematically, you could compare it to some of the concept albums that Willie Nelson made in the 70’s, but I approached it more like I was writing a Novella.”
The record documents Pruitt’s perspective before and after 9/11 and has two main storylines. The first is about a Millennial kid graduating high school and leaving for college the summer after 9/11, and the second is about some friends who are immigrants from Mexico.
“I did some personal interviews with them, and they took great pride in telling me about their journey to America and setting roots down in a new home,” Pruitt said.
Pruitt said Turner was able to bring his previous recording experiences into the studio to help create a bigger sound for the new album.
“Calvin takes a lot of influence from Stevie Wonder and a lot of the 70’s L.A. folk pop scene (Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, Randy Newman), but one of his biggest strengths is arranging for big groups. I guess there’s not much demand in the modern songwriter scene for orchestral stuff, so he took a lot of pride in the arrangements and hired David Davidson (Jason Mraz, Neil Young) as concert master. It was an eye opening experience to see such a great team of professionals work to make music. The strings add so much, not just to the music, but the story as a whole,” Pruitt said.
The story of Pruitt’s life in Fort Smith and beyond continues through 13 tracks as his characters seek the American Dream and ultimately, a place to call “home.”
“‘Home’ is a big concept, I guess, but I like the idea of looking at an American town through two very different perspectives. When I sat down to interview the immigrant family, one of them said to me ‘You know, I see how immigrants are portrayed in the American media. I see how angry people are. I just hope that through these songs you can show our roots.’ So hearing that really gave me some purpose in telling their stories. There’s a lot of heated debate over immigration, and we live in such strange and divided times. As a storyteller it became a sort of obligation to look through all the societal issues that divide us and show the humanity beneath it.”
Pruitt plans to tour this fall and will play throughout the Southeast. Link here for tour updates and more info on Luke Pruitt.