Photo Credit: Stacie Huckeba

Steve Cropper has unveiled Friendlytown, the latest in a long string of offerings from the legendary sideman and veteran session musician. Set to release on Aug. 23 via Mascot Label Group, Cropper’s forthcoming project arrives as his second solo record alongside backing ensemble The Midnight Hour, who released Fire It Up to widespread acclaim in 2021. For his follow-up, the artist at once honors his monumental history and looks forward to his legacy, showcasing the strength of his industry connections and time-tested skills on the preview single “Too Much Stress.”

At 82 years old, Cropper’s career has been nothing short of extraordinary, having supported chart-topping efforts from Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Bill Withers, Albert King and more as part of Stax house band Booker T. & the M.G.’s and later worked with stars like Elton John, Paul Simon and Ringo Starr. On Friendlytown, the artist upholds this legacy with a new fleet of top-tier collaborators, welcoming contributions from Queen’s Brian May, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons and country-rock singer-songwriter Tim Montana, among others. Aside from his contributions as a songwriter, guitarist and producer, Cropper wants his fans to remember him for this vital skill: “When I think about my legacy, I want it to be said that I was a nice guy.”

Cropper’s passion for collective exploration shines through on “Too Much Stress,” which features top-tier licks from iconic guitarists May and Gibbons. After receiving his first solo Grammy nomination for the “rock n’ soul” quintet’s debut, Cropper turns up the heat for his return, tapping producers Jon Tiven and Eddie Gore to create what he terms “guitar heaven.” As May and Roger C. Reale team up for gritty vocals on alternating verses, Cropper underscores the entire affair on rhythm guitar, complementing the all-too-true refrain of “too much stress” the ensemble echoes.“If your booty is not shaking in the first two bars of this album you’re already dead in a chair,” Cropper jokes.

“Too Much Stress” (feat. Brian May) is available now, and fans can pre-order Friendlytown here. Read on for a full tracklist.

Friendlytown Full Tracklist:
1. Friendlytown
2. Too Much Stress (feat. Brian May)
3. Hurry Up Sundown
4. Let’s Get Started
5. Talkin’ Bout Politics
6. I’ll Take Tomorrow
7. Lay It On Down
8. You Can’t Refuse (feat. Tim Montana)
9. Rain On My Parade
10. There’s Always A Catch
11. In God We Trust
12. Reality Check
13. I Leave You In Peace