“Of all these the richest in beauty is the beautiful life.
That is the perfect work of art”
~William Somerset Maugham
The Vinyl Kings, an accomplished band of veteran Nashville musicians, are pleased to announce the release of "Smoke Rings for Renee" on Jan. 27, 2023. This lovely and powerful song will be the first single from their long awaited new project, Big New Life, to be released as a series of singles throughout 2023.
A stimulus for "Smoke Rings for Renee"—and ultimately, the new project—was the passing of band member Josh Leo's wife, Renee LaRose Leo, who stepped off this mortal plane on January 29, 2021.
"These are personal songs about us and what we’re going through as musicians—coming to terms with life, growing old and looking back and looking forward," says Leo.
"Renee was an artist, educator, alchemist, and high-priestess, with great eyes and a wicked laugh," says bandmate Jim Photoglo. "Her loss touched me deeply, generating a creative spark resulting in 'Smoke Rings For Renee.' Even in her absence she continues to inspire."
Video filmed and directed by Jim Shea
The remaining Vinyl Kings, Leo, Larry Lee, Michael Rhodes, and Harry Stinson gathered around the song and proceeded to write, produce, and record a body of work in the same spirit.
Although separation and loss were the stimuli, this Big New Life project emerges as a story of survival—a celebration of triumph—stunningly sustained through 11 compositions of gratitude, perseverance, and joy. These are veteran songwriters who turn to "the song" when life presents itself.
"Renee’s passing and us becoming inspired to want to write from a joyful, positive, fun, and happy place was what got it started for me," adds Stinson. "We had 'grown up.' We had some real things to say and put down in song. Songs about real life with a highly creative spin. To once again collaborate with this band was in line with what our original purpose was 32 years ago: To have fun and entertain ourselves, which in turn entertains others."
Vinyl Kings member Larry Lee agrees: "We really wanted to do something positive. Something with a promise of better things to come. All revolving around love."
Tonight I'll light another flame
To say a prayer and say her name
As spirits dance and drift away
Like smoke rings for Renee