Julian Primeaux, the 31-year-old singer-songwriter/guitarist who was raised in the Northside area of Lafayette, had an ambitious plan.
The goal was to release three albums in one year, all concept records about the human heart. Each record would show a different sound of Primeaux — one fiery rock ’n’ roll, one gospel, and one with jazz-like rhythms.
But touring put Primeaux’s plans on hold.
“I started recording all the songs in 2013,” he said, mentioning that his last album, an odds-and-ends collection, came out in 2011. “The goal of recording and releasing three albums in a year’s time was a challenge to myself. The Beatles and Creedence Clearwater Revival ... those bands did that. But in the middle of that, I had all these European tours. It changed everything.”
Primeaux will head back to Europe for his fifth time in June. But before he does, he’ll perform in Baton Rouge as part of a short tour around the South. On Friday, he’ll bring his live show to Phil Brady’s on Government Street. The Rakers will open. Cover is $5.
Primeaux is a fixture in the Lafayette music scene. He started playing guitar at 8 years old. By the time he was 13, his father, A.J., would take him to bars to play. By now, he’s played guitar with a red carpet-length list of performers, from Dax Riggs to Dr. John, as well as zydeco acts like Corey Ledet and Cedric Watson. For a while, Primeaux also was known for his work with the now-defunct Lafayette punk/rockabilly/roots band The Howdies. He still plays with his dad from time to time in A.J. and the Bad Cats.
“I try to incorporate things I love and listen to into whatever I’m doing,” Primeaux said.
While he can write a riff with the best of them, Primeaux loves digging in the record crate. He said he gets stuck in black holes, listening to his influences’ influences.
“For me, it’s a continual evolution of what I’m into in terms of music,” he said. “I’m someone who will just go back further and further. I’ll think, ‘What influenced that?’ I’ll hear where that sound came from and think it’s even better.”
His favorite music is old gospel groups he came across while digging into old Sam Cooke songs.
“I have musical heroes — Van Morrison, Sam Cooke,” he said. “That’s deep in my pores. The corporate rock stuff — it’s too polished, too glossy. The stuff that you know was written to make a buck — as a young kid, I was aware of how cheesy it was.”
Being true to himself and how he wants his music to sound has been difficult with the relentless touring, but Primeaux made progress on releasing his trilogy earlier this year. In January, he released the first part , what he calls his “dirty rock record,” titled “This Guilded, Swaying Heart.”
“This album is about life, living and the experiences you have,” he said. “The next one is about religion, God and death. The third one is more about love and serenity. They’re all rocking, but thematically and stylistically different. Each one is about a different part of the heart. I try to have that fire in it.”
Follow Matthew Sigur on Twitter, @MatthewSigur .