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Third Man Records is delighted to present Michael Kiwanuka's contribution to the TMR Blue Series of releases. Kiwanuka, a 25 year-old UK native of Ugandan heritage, was raised in north London where he split his time between session work and local gigs. Along the way, having found footing as a solo artist, he was signed to Communion Records, then Polydor, and has since performed throughout Europe and North America too—touring in direct support of Adele. He made his way through Nashville this past summer with just enough pause and aplomb to commit these morsels to tape. The A-side "You've Got Nothing to Lose" is an original composition, featuring The Buzzards' Dominic Davis on upright bass and Cory Younts on piano, joined also by fellow balladeer Lillie Mae Rische on fiddle. Their contributions transform his work into a stone-cold groove with almost orchestral underpinnings, making it a fitting extension of their previous Blue Series.
Produced by Jack White, the single also features a chilling rendition of Townes Van Zandt's infamous "Waitin' 'Round to Die" on the B-side, the perfect compliment to the timbre and mood of the A-side.
A-SIDE:You’ve Got Nothing to Lose
Michael Kiwanuka: Vocals, Acoustic Guitar / Lillie Mae Rische: Acoustic Guitar, Fiddle / Cory Younts: Piano / Dominic Davis: Upright Bass / Jeremy Lutito: Drums
B-SIDE: Waitin’ ‘Round to Die (Originally by Townes Van Zandt)
Michael Kiwanuka: Vocals, Acoustic Guitar / Lillie Mae Rische: Acoustic Guitar, Fiddle / Cory Younts: Wurlitzer, Piano / Dominic Davis: Upright Bass / Mickey Grimm: Drums
Coinciding with the single's release is Rolling Stone's exclusive premiere for the visually striking and truly compelling video for "You've Got Nothing To Lose," now live. Directed by Nashville-based critic and director/curator for Third Man Records' Light & Sound Machine film series James Cathcart, the video is a powerful reflection on acceptance and misconception; the story unfolds as a woman gets ready to attend her young son’s birthday party. Cathcart explains his concept for the video: "Michael’s song has this air about it - of a father figure imparting wisdom. So I looked for an unexpected context to apply that to. It’s about misleading perceptions - not just in terms of the character’s gender, but also from what we expect of the people she encounters. Acceptance comes from a camo-clad country boy, while it’s the presumably enlightened young person that harasses her on the bus… we were able to strike just the right tone: sweetness tainted by melancholy…or perhaps it‘s the other way around? We've all had bittersweet birthdays.”