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Brittany Davis Previews Debut Solo LP With Funky ‘Sepricon’

26-track 'Image Issues' will arrive March 1 on Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard's Loosegroove label
Brittany Davis
(photo: Bridie Florence)

Acclaimed Seattle musician Brittany Davis has so far been best known for being a member of Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard‘s side band Painted Shield, but the sightless non-binary artist is now stepping out solo in a major way. Davis’ 26-track, concept-driven debut album, Image Issues, will be released March 1 on Gossard’s Loosegroove Records label and is led by the supremely funky single “Sepricon.”

An accompanying video the track was directed by Tony-nominated modern dance choreographer Donald Byrd (The Color Purple) and filmed at Seattle’s Rabbit Box, where Davis has often performed. “‘Sepricon’ was definitely born to funk … to soul funk! The record is an ode to James Brown and filled with thoughtless greatness,” Davis says. “There really is no rhyme or reason to it — all primal instinct.”

Co-produced by longtime Pearl Jam associate Josh Evans and guided every step of the way by Gossard, Image Issues is nothing short of a dazzling, genre-agnostic listen. The album is laced with spoken word segments Davis calls “Treadmill Memories,” chronicling a tumultuous upbringing marked by death, the inhumanity of the criminal justice system and day-to-day family instability. Musically, Image Issues nods to everything from OutKast and Cardi B to Jimi Hendrix and Beyoncé, with Davis playing every instrument and singing every note.

“This one is really special,” Evans tells SPIN of Image Issues. “It’s only scratching the surface of what else Brit can do. There’s so much more where this came from.” Evans likens Gossard’s role on the project to that of producer Quincy Jones on several classic Michael Jackson albums. “He is everywhere in spirit and conception and love and vision,” he says. “I heard a quote somewhere that Quincy Jones’ instrument with the MJ albums was the telephone — and he was a virtuoso. Stone played a similar part on this album. He got the right people in the room together and pushed everyone to trust their instincts, push farther, be brave and keep going.”

Davis spoke at length with SPIN earlier this year about the support of the music community in Seattle, where the artist has lived for more than a decade. “I’m entrenched in Seattle music now, and I’m working with historical figures who have been a part of historical movements. All of that changes how you walk,” Davis said. “It’s not the same as wishing and hoping. No, it’s happening, and the people I’m touching are real. The lives I’m impacting are real. The love being given is real. The journey is no longer in my head, and that’s humbling because you realize that even if it’s all gone tomorrow, the music will always be there.”

Davis will perform internationally for the first time tomorrow (Dec. 7) at France’s Rennes Trans Musicales Festival and will return to the continent for more shows in summer 2024.

Here is the tracklist for Image Issues:

Treadmill Memories I
Image Intro
Sho Nuff
Treadmill Memories II
Through the Motions
Treadmill Memories III
Daddy’s Gerl
Treadmill Memories IV
I’m Sick
Follow My Lead
Kari’s Face
So Fly
Treadmill Memories V
Image Issues
Treadmill Memories VI
Wanted You to Know
Treadmill Memories VII
Trading Secrets
Soft As the Sand
Amid the Blackout of the Night