This fall, the Dead 27s will head back into the studio to work on a follow-up to their 2014 debut, “Chase Your Devils Down.”
And while that album was well-received by local and regional listeners, the group’s next venture could signal that they’re ready to take a much bolder step into the national soul-rock and funk circuit that’s dominated by artists like Anders Osborne, JJ Grey & Mofro and the North Mississippi All Stars.
The Dead 27s have tapped Ben Ellman, the saxophonist for the funk group Galactic, to produce their next project. Not only a fixture of New Orleans’ music scene, Ellman has become a sought-after producer since an album he produced, Trombone Shorty’s “Backatown,” was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2011 for Best Contemporary Jazz Album.
Recently, he’s collaborated with The Revivalists, and the Boston-based singer-songwriter Ryan Montbleau, who happens to be close friends with Rusty Cole, manager of the Dead 27s.
Cole said he was talking with Montbleau a few months ago about “For Higher,” his 2012 album recorded with Ellman that featured musicians like Ivan Neville, George Porter Jr., and other funk legends in the New Orleans music scene.
“I was like, ‘I would love to do that kind of sound,’ ” Cole said. “Within a week, Ben and I were talking, and we’ve been in conversations about it since January.”
The band is planning to head down to New Orleans for 10 days in November to work on the full-length. It will be narrowed from about 20-25 demos, including “Emanuel,” the song guitarist Wallace Mullinax wrote as a tribute to the nine victims of the shooting on June 17 at Emanuel AME Church.
It’s one of dozens of songs the band has written recently, Cole said.
“They’ve been putting out about four to six demos every week,” he said. “Everybody is writing together, bringing their own stuff to the table, so there’s a lot of really cool stuff going on.”
In general, Cole said his vision for the band is to follow in the footsteps of groups like The Revivalists, whose last two albums produced by Ellman drew praise from critics and helped launch them into the national spotlight.
“I’d like to follow them a little bit as a model,” Cole said. “I’m working on getting a really good team behind (the band) so that when the album drops, the right people hear it.”
In the meantime, you can catch the Dead 27s live at The Windjammer on July 24 with The Distributors and Finnegan Bell. Tickets are $10 in advance at www.the-windjammer.com and $12 at the door. The show starts at 9 p.m.