Serabee Pours A Tall Glass of Sweet Hummingbird Tea
For a heart-to-heart talk about life on her new album out 10/14 on Rabadash Records
First single, “Bayou Baby” – Out 8/19
“I was born on Saturday and singing on Sunday,” Sera aptly puts it. “Music is in my blood, and the road I’ve traveled can’t help but form my music.” – Serabee
“I’ll sing until I bring the whole house down
Yeah, this rambling gypsy music queen
Gonna find her mojo and her steam
As soon as I get to that whiskey town” – Tennessee
This prodigal daughter returns home to embrace her roots to record what she calls “the front porch songs” in a historical 1920s Mason’s Hall turned studio in Covington, LA. Hummingbird Tea will be released on October 14, produced by Serabee and John Autin of Rabadash Records, with distribution through Amplified. Special mixing production appearances by Marc Hewitt (Allen Toussaint), Zach Allen (Kingfish/Keb’ Mo’), and Gary Katz (Steely Dan) give that shimmer to Serabee’s incredible songs.
Hummingbird Tea has been in the works for a couple of years with writing and recording, and it’s well worth the wait. The album consists of 14 original songs ranging from building grooves to stripped-down tear-jerkers dripping with soul from end to end. The backing band consists of Serabee on piano and guitar, Casandra Faulconer: electric bass, Eric Bolivar: Drums, Dave Easley: pedal steel guitar, 12-string dobro, electric guitar, Shane Theriot: Guitars, John Autin: piano, Nick Necaise: B-3 organ, acoustic guitar, mandolin, and Charles (C.C.) Carter: backing vocals, flute, saxophone. A very special guest on the song, “I Need Saving Too,” is the great Mickey Raphael of Willie Nelson’s band, thanks to Shane Theriot. The entire studio’s talent output created a deeply rooted album that will recall musical cities and their geographic sounds like Memphis, Muscle Shoals, Nashville, and New Orleans to round out her songs. A musical quad-city of sorts.
“He was born in a river town
30 miles north of the mouth
Where the River meets the sea
Converging in the sound
In his home, it was Etta James, Bobby Dylan, and Marvin Gaye
The first song that he ever sang was ‘I’ll Fly Away’ – Bayou Baby
The first single off Hummingbird Tea is “Bayou Baby,” a lush soul number about her past, present, and future. “A song idea that was written about me: a girl raised in the churches, juke joints, and tent revivals on the bayous of Louisiana and banks of the Mississippi by a Pentecostal preacher, guitar-playing father, and folk songwriter mother. A true hybrid of both father from Buras, Louisiana, and a Mother from Laurel, Mississippi. When you meet someone who takes you to church without a Bible – whether you are an unbeliever, a sinner, or a saint – it might spiritually challenge your faith in love. Still, it’s always magical,” smiles Serabee, “and a little Dusty Springfield fairy dust goes a long way.”
Writing songs for Sera has always been about preserving through the highs and the lows of life; like “Tennessee,” a song that is filled with imagery of a woman trying to make sense of her creative self, where she belongs, who can she trust, and love; “to take you back to what ya used to know before love and the real world broke you down,” Sera admits. “’ Tennessee’ is a song that Gladys Knight, Otis Redding, and Janis Joplin could’ve written.
On “Drunk Woman’s Words” comes honesty, tough love, and wisdom. With the woman’s movement and rights under fire, the song is an eye-opener, “Some folks may be turned off by drinking songs, but this song offers up brutally honest and unfiltered opinions without fear of consequences. I feel that young girls need to hear stories I’ve lived, avoid the mistakes I made, and stop wasting their youth on relationships that don’t serve them.” We’ve all been there – at both ends – knowing it was honest. A drunk woman is probably a Stoic philosopher in disguise.
“The truth’s in the whiskey
And the poison’s on her tongue
She finds her courage in a bottle
To demand that she be loved
And the liquor tells the story
That you may not want to hear
Every Bloody Disappointment
Every Shameful Bitter Tear” – Drunk Woman’s Words
“I’m Closed” is about emotional maturity,” states Sera about the song that will remind you again of what makes her so good, with her words and how the music supports them. As the song opens up, you think it’s The Rolling Stones and or maybe Sheryl Crow. Sera hollers out, “Padlocked heart here tonight! – I love how the lyrics are a ‘see ya later gator’ and a breakup song, but it’s not a ballad or sad. It’s fun and groovy, plus you can dance to it with your friends and celebrate your newfound freedom!”
Serabee’s colorful voice will remind listeners of Susan Tedeschi, Bobby Gentry, Joss Stone, and Bonnie Raitt; intense, emotional, and filled with conviction. As a singer, songwriter, and musician, the creative edge of Sera points to this soulful artist’s deep roots and colorful background in the American South. Sera was raised on the music of Ray Charles, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Sam Cooke, Bob Dylan, Dolly, Aretha, and gospel music. From an early age, she traveled with her family’s tent revivals, leading the musical praise and worship, excelling on vocals, the Hammond B-3 organ, and piano.
Rabadash Records owner and producer John Autin is thrilled to see this album finally come together; “Recording this record with Serabee has been like working with a songwriter with the skills of Carol King crossed with Paul Simon; with someone with the singing skills of Aretha Franklin crossed with Dolly Parton; she’s that good.”
Serabee (short for her real name, Sera Buras) hails direct from Kiln, Mississippi (between Biloxi and New Orleans), with the wandering strains of roadhouse blues and rollicking revivals psychically embedded in her songs. Striking out on her own, she began performing in New Orleans and Mississippi clubs, where she garnered quite a local following. Sera soon went on to pursue her dreams, as a naturally gifted songwriter, with a strong commercial appeal, to getting signed to major labels. Her first label deal came at 22 at Dreamworks under the guidance of Lenny Waronker and producer Gary Katz (Steely Dan). She struck gold when she penned the number one smash “Crazy Chick” for platinum sensation Charlotte Church in 2009. That took her around the world a few times, and after a few more major label deals, Sera got dismayed, and she returned to Mississippi. As for her past albums, there is talk about retaining them for future releases to complete her catalog.
Sera has written and worked with Michael Bolton, Doug Morris (Universal), Craig Wiseman, Ben Margulies (Mariah Carey), Usher, Matt Serletic (Matchbox Twenty), Hugh Padgham (Sting, Kate Bush), and Stephanie Bentley (Faith Hill). She caught the ears of Michael Bolton, who asked her to be a performer at one of his events in NYC, for he was completely smitten with her talent by saying he thought Sera was one of the best. One of her most cherished moments was meeting George Jones after finding out he loved one of her songs, “Water Under The Bridge,” so they promised each other a duet, but the legendary singer passed away before they could.
Serabee’s live shows are where fans will get the church-like experience from the seasoned artist; whether in a small club or a large theater, her grooves will make you move, the words will make you think, and the delivery is what will save you. She has shared the stage with many of her musical peers and legendary icons like Irma Thomas, Michael Bolton, and TG Sheppard to playing clubs and venues worldwide. So, here’s to the open road!
The story of the album title came from when her mother was facing a life-threatening medical issue a couple of years ago, and the nurse they had at home would talk about drinking her sweet Hummingbird Tea (aka Southern Iced Tea). It was something that Sera embraced as she wrote the songs on the album. As she thought of the correlation between the Hummingbird, her Mom, the album, and her own well-being, Sera began to see a glimmer of hope that they all needed to be revived after their journey, trials, blows, and setbacks and feel hopeful again through songwriting. She thought of how their little wings fly across the Gulf to the Yucatán, nearly dead from exhaustion when they arrive, and how the colorful flowers are awaiting them; it was like the Evidence of God in nature giving medicinal nectar to reward the faith of the Hummingbird.
After some time, Sera found her musical groove and passed the feeling to everyone around her as they sought inspiration during the Covid Pandemic’s height. So, She needed the songs to have the recipe with all the right ingredients, with just enough magic to restore and inspire your empty and weary soul. “We are tiny but powerful creatures, just like the little wild Hummingbird. May the music let you soar and fly high bayou baby like the hummingbirds.
Sera feels this southern, soulful direction will finally be the sound that her fans and the world will know her for like a prescription for the soul and medicinal fuel for the journey. Hummingbird Tea is just the beginning of the old Serabee with a new vision of who she is.
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