Chuck Auerbach, Black Keys Frontman’s Dad, Announces Debut LP
Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach's record label Easy Eye Sound is putting out an album by a fresh new artist this Father's Day: his dad, Chuck Auerbach.
Chuck's record, Remember Me, a mix of country and R&B, is due June 15. The album includes a track called "My Old Man" about his own father.
The song was produced by Dan Auerbach, who also plays on the album. The video for "My Old Man" features family photos and memorabilia. You can watch it below.
The 68-year-old Chuck Auerbach said he's been writing songs for about 15 years, after gaining an interest from his son's work. "I've always loved words," he said. "I'm not sure it's not because we had family who came over [to the United States] in the early 1950s, and my brother and I were the ones who taught a cousin English."
Beyond that interest in words, Auerbach said he knew the importance of original work. "When Dan was beginning as a musician and doing covers, I could see a lot of great musicians around Akron who did covers and had small, successful careers in the clubs," he noted. "But I know they would never get out of the clubs because they didn't do original music. I worked with Dan on him moving into original music."
In the process, Chuck honed his own songwriting chops, but didn't give his first live performance until 2016, when he was convinced to appear at Wisconsin's Appleton Mile of Music Festival by the event's founder, musician Cory Chisel.
After a chance meeting in Nashville, Auerbach, who has worked in forestry, drug rehab and antiques dealing, approached Chisel about working on some songs together, and promptly handed off a pile of 55 compositions for Chisel to check out. A partnership was born, with Chisel co-writing songs and encouraging Auerbach. He had previously written songs for local acts in Ohio.
The senior Auerbach even appeared at SXSW this year, garnering some positive reviews. "Perched on a stool and consulting a binder of lyric sheets as he sang through a long, gray field of beard, Auerbach looked like the late Atlantic Records producer Jerry Wexler and led his five-piece band through rueful country ballads and earthy R&B in a grizzled voice that suggested Tom Waits with a dash of the singer from Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show (the one without the eye patch)," Rolling Stone wrote in its review of his performance, which was named among the Top 30 at the festival.
His songs are, by turns, sad and reflective. "My mother's family were all killed in the Holocaust," said Auerbach. "A friend of mine said, 'Why don't you write happy songs?' I don't know that I write sad songs, but it's hard to be too happy when you know how wrong things can go in this world. I've been anti-war and skeptical of government since Kennedy was assassinated. When I was in eighth grade, I was sent to the principal's office for speaking against the war in Vietnam."
You can see the track listing for Remember Me below.
Chuck Auerbach, 'Remember Me' Track Listing
4. "Long Time To Be Lonely"
5. "I'm So Sorry"
6. "If You Left Me"
7. "My Old Man"
8. "Bottoms Up"
9. "Some Fools"