For Too Late to Pray: Defiant Chicago Roots liner notes & credits, go here. 

Bloodshot Records was born in 1994 with the release of its first album, the scene-capturing compilation For A Life of Sin: Insurgent Chicago Country. For our 25th anniversary, we wanted to come back home to shine a light, once again, on Chicago—ever-changing, ever-vibrant, ever-on-the-make—to champion the storytellers who keep the city a vital place. While the metropolis is too motley to have a signature sound, it does have a signature hustle, the hope-against-hope drive that a small-timer can beat it past the big shots and catch a break. No matter what may change, move on, or get bulldozed, as long as the city IS, that spark will never be snuffed out. Someone or something will always be here to fan it.

Bloodshot Records is undeniably and proudly a product of that Chicago hope and hustle. As the label’s home, the diverse city has shaped its personality, its sound, and its surrounding scene. A communion of ideas between local artists and purveyors at venues, record shops, bars & restaurants, and numerous independent organizations inspires a certain quirky, inclusive, salt-of-the-earth spirit. 

Too Late to Pray: Defiant Chicago Roots is a redux of For A Life of Sin. It is a current magnifying-glass look at some—but not even close to all—of the artists and groups making unique and special music in the city’s roots scene. Some of the artists you may have heard of; some are woven so tightly into the fabric of the city, it’s hard to imagine a time without them; some we’ve claimed, whether they like it or not, as natives; some you might be hearing for the first time; and some you may never hear from again.

Robbie FulksFreakwaterJon Langford’s Hillbilly Lovechild (featuring Steve Albini), and the The Handsome Family return in resplendent form from their contributions on For A Life of Sin and maintain their unchallenged status as guardians of the traditional guard. Other featured artists are just as well-regarded in their accomplished tenure and we are now fortunate enough to release some of their exceptional music: Tammi Savoy, The Hoyle Brothers, Brendan Kelly, Lawrence Peters, and The Western Elstons. Some we have worked with before in other forms (Bethany Thomas & Tawny Newsome of Jon Langford’s Four Lost Souls, Joybird’s Jess McIntosh); some have interned and worked at Bloodshot (The Dyes, Kelly Hogan); others are more recent trailblazers of the scene and are driving it in exciting, new directions (ROOKIE, Wild Earp, Big Sadie, David Quinn, The Family Gold, Sima Cunningham of OHMME, Saluda Moonlighters, Los Gallos). 

Too Late To Pray is one big Chicago family affair. 

[Stunning album artwork by Jon Langford]

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