Dion has released the single and video for “Angel in the Alleyways.” The song, on which Patti Scialfa and Bruce Springsteen are featured, was written by Dion and Mike Aquilina and is one of the selections from the forthcoming Stomping Ground album. Stomping Ground is set for release on November 5 through Keeping The Blues Alive Records.
The new track is the third Stomping Ground cut to have been made available in advance of the album. The two released earlier are “Take It Back” with Joe Bonamassa guesting and “I’ve Got To Get To You” with Boz Scaggs, Joe Menza and Mike Menza joining in.
Dion has long been known as a man of faith and “Angel in the Alleyways” reflects that in terms of its lyric and the setting of the video clip. It was shot at the Monastery of St. Bernard de Clairvaux, a Spanish monastery constructed in the eleventh century. It fell into disuse in the 1830s and was ultimately shipped in pieces to Miami where it was reconstructed in 1950s. Patti Scialfa and Bruce Springsteen’s contribution was shot in their home studio.
The song’s theme is one of abiding belief with a line that underscores Dion’s dedication to the blues: "An angel walks / An angel prays / By your side at night unseen in the alleyways / Who guides the hand that comes to play? / Like BB King and Stevie Ray / Who takes the pain we didn't choose? / Turns it into Chicago Blues"
Patti Scialfa and Bruce Springsteen previously worked with Dion on “Hymn To Him,” a track from his 2020 Blues With Friends album. Dion credits Scialfa for the richness of the song’s arrangement. “Everything you hear -- that’s all her,” he explains. He had sent her only the most basic track on which to lay her vocal and she returned with 64 tracks that were fully arranged. Dion quipped, “64 tracks is more than I’ve used on all my records combined.”
In the liner notes that accompany Stomping Ground, Dion writes, “I gave Patti a simple, raw demo of ‘Angel in the Alleyways,’ with just my guitar and vocal. What you’ll hear now is what Patti made of it. There are five verses, and she treated each of them in a unique way. This is her gift. The lady's imagination is unlimited. Her husband contributed the right tones on guitar and harmonica. They are my dream team. They truly make me feel loved.”
Stomping Ground, produced by Wayne Hood and Dion, features a total of 14 tracks and includes musical contributions by Mark Knopfler, Eric Clapton, Peter Frampton, Billy F Gibbons, Keb’ Mo, Sonny Landreth, Marcia Ball, Jimmy Vivino, G.E. Smith, Rickie Lee Jones as well as the aforementioned Bonamassa, Scaggs and the Menzas. The album also includes original liner notes by Pete Townshend.
Stomping Ground track listing (LP version -- CD version follows the same order)
1. Take It Back with Joe Bonamassa
2. Hey Diddle Diddle with G.E. Smith
3. Dancing Girl with Mark Knopfler
4. If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll with Eric Clapton
1. There Was A Time with Peter Frampton
2. Cryin’ Shame with Sonny Landreth
3. The Night Is Young with Joe Menza and Wayne Hood
1. That’s What The Doctor Said with Steve Conn
2. My Stomping Ground with Billy F Gibbons
3. Angel In the Alleyways with Patti Scialfa and Bruce Springsteen
1. I’ve Got To Get To You with Boz Scaggs, Joe Menza and Mike Menza
2. Red House with Keb’ Mo’
3. I Got My Eyes On You Baby with Marcia Ball and Jimmy Vivino
4. I’ve Been Watching with Rickie Lee Jones and Wayne Hood