Bonerama collaborated with The Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan vocalist Michael McDonald in a tribute to the New Orleans producer and musician Allen Toussaint. “Empty World” is a bittersweet track that appreciates Toussaint’s kindness while also mourning his absence.
Bonerama’s bandleader and songwriter Mark Mullins said about Toussaint, “I was pretty much devastated when I heard the news of Allen’s passing. His influence on me as a musical hero, arranger, composer, producer is immeasurable.”
The brass funk band Bonerama is familiar with making tributes to influential musicians. They released the Led Zeppelin tribute album Bonerama plays Zeppelin in April of this year. McDonald is a five-time Grammy winning artist who performed opposite Cyndi Lauper and John Oates at last year’s Family Gras.
Mullins further expressed the meaning behind Toussaint’s legacy:
“I think of the seemingly effortless ability he brought to the process: brilliant ideas to song to arrangement, artist recruitment, recording, mixing, completing a song, and repeating the process to make a collection of songs. Then, he excelled at the behind the scenes business artistry of bringing these songs to the masses. A whole other art. It’s an astounding series of hurdles to clear and he made it look easy. If any of those steps don’t come together perfectly along the way, the song likely becomes lost, and virtually no one will hear it or remember it,” said Mullins.
The song, while focusing on Toussaint, is also a dedication to all of the great musicians New Orleans has lost. “Empty World” is available for purchase from Basin Street Records. Bonerama started their tour October 3 and comes back to Louisiana October 19 for Chuckfest in Lake Charles.
“Allen Toussaint’s contributions to New Orleans music are simply unparalleled in what one person has done to make the genre what it is today. For us, as New Orleans musicians, wanna-be role models, and fans, we wanted to make this as special as we could for him, and all of the legends that are so rapidly leaving this world, in what is feeling like, to me, an Empty World,” said Mullins.