Shin Joong Hyun. (Courtesy Light in the Attic…)
Light in the Attic Records, the celebrated Seattle/L.A. reissue label whose new release, "Dreamin' Wild" by Donnie and Joe Emerson, is featured in a story in this Sunday's Times, will celebrate 10 years as a label with an anniversary show at the El Rey Theatre on Sept. 28.
The bill includes three acclaimed artists who have been the focus of the label's reissues: Rodriguez, the folk rock singer, creator of the essential late '60s album "Cold Fact" and subject of the new documentary "Searching for Sugar Man"; South Korean guitarist Shin Joong Hyun, who will be performing his meditative guitar music in a rare appearance outside of Asia; and British folk guitarist Michael Chapman, whose underappreciated work has received new interest on the heels of Light in the Attic's series of reissues.
Label co-owner Matt Sullivan, who relocated to Los Angeles last year to open a satellite office, is particularly happy to bring Shin Joong Hyun to America. The 74-year-old got his start playing for U.S. troops in Korea after the 1953 armistice agreement and was jailed and tortured in the 1960s for subversive activities. He'll be performing in the States for only the second time ever. (His first appearance was during a Korean music celebration at the Hollywood Bowl.)
All three artists playing the show have at one time or another seen renewed interest in their work because of reissues by the label. Similarly, Donnie and Joe Emerson have done a fair number of interviews since the re-release of "Dreamin' Wild" on June 26. A reissue of a private press record that the teenage duo recorded at their family farm in rural Washington state in 1978, the record began receiving attention a few years ago after a collector found a copy in an antique store, and soon thereafter an online buzz started building.
By the time Sullivan called them, a few other labels, most notably Indiana-based Secretly Canadian, had expressed interest in reissuing the record. Ultimately, the Emersons decided on Light in the Attic.
Listen: Randall Roberts' 'Best of Light in the Attic' Spotify playlist
"I think they realized that we did a lot of reissues," Sullivan said last week at his East Hollywood office, "and that it really fit in with what we do, and we’re really going to spend time with it, and nurture it, and go out there and meet them and get them involved." Sullivan added that he was definitely thrown for a loop when he learned from the duo's father, Don Emerson Sr., that they were close to signing a deal with another label.
"Hearing an 80-year-old guy say 'Secretly Canadian' was like, the farthest thing from what I thought he was going to say." (Sullivan stressed his admiration and respect for Secretly Canadian's work.)
No info yet on ticket sales for the 10th anniversary show, but Pop & Hiss will keep you posted with details.
Keep an eye out for The Times' story on the story behind Donnie and Joe Emerson's "Dreaming Wild."
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