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Dusty Hill Recorded Vocals for New ZZ Top Album Before He Died

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ZZ Top’s Dusty Hill contributed some singing to the band’s in-progress recordings before the bassist and co-vocalist died last week at age 72, bandleader Billy Gibbons has revealed.

Hill died in his sleep on July 27–28, the group shared in a statement shortly after. The bluesy Southern rock veterans had already been performing with a fill-in musician due to Hill’s ill health, allowing them to continue their ongoing North American tour scheduled through 2022. ZZ Top canceled their July 28 concert out of respect to their late bass player, but they’re otherwise carrying on as part of a promise Gibbons made to Hill.

And as far as recent ZZ Top studio work is concerned, Gibbons told Variety on July 29 that “just within the last couple of months, we were reviewing a couple of the rough tracks that were starting to come together from the sessions that we were conducting just a few months ago.”

Songs with Hill’s vocals are on the tapes, although they will “require some completion,” the ZZ Top founder shared. “I think the luck of the draw was, I handed Dusty a couple of lyric sheets, and I said, ‘Hey, see if you can make heads or tails out of this,'” Gibbons continued. “He said, ‘Can I sing it?’ I said, ‘Dusty, you could sing the calendar if you wanted to — people would love it.’ He goes, ‘Hey, that’s not a bad idea. If we ever get back to go to work, can we add the calendar into the show? I know all the words.’ I said, ‘Get in there. Go sing.’ So, yeah, we’ve got a couple of things [with Dusty singing lead] that’ll make sense.”

In concert, ZZ Top guitar tech Elwood Francis took up the bass last month after Hill had to leave the tour due to a hip injury. Days later, Hill died at his home in Houston. Francis will presumably stay in the onstage position at least until the band’s current tour wraps up.

Still, Hill “did the first two” shows of the tour, Gibbons explained. “And then he requested dismissing himself. He said, ‘Yeah, let me go check this out.’ And of course I said, ‘Hey, man, health is number one. Go do your thing.’ And I could tell through those first two valiant attempts, if he’s not giving it 110 percent, he was the first one to kind of say, ‘Gee whiz. Let’s go take care of this.'”

ZZ Top’s most recent studio effort, La Futura, emerged in 2012. See the act’s upcoming concert dates below; get tickets at zztop.com.

ZZ Top 2021-2022 North American Tour Dates

Aug. 3 – Little Rock, Ark. @ First Security Amphitheater
Aug. 4 – Alexandria, La. @ Rapides Paris Coliseum
Aug. 6 – Camdenton, Mo. @ Lake Ozarks Amphitheatre
Aug. 7 – Washington, Mo. @ Town and Country Fair
Aug. 8 – Bonner Springs, Kan. @ Azura Amphitheater
Aug. 11 – Sturgis, S.D. @ Buffalo Chip Campground
Aug. 12 – Casper, Wyo. @ Casper Events Center
Aug. 14 – Reno, Nev. @ Silver Legacy Casino
Aug. 15 – Grande Ronde, Ore. @ Spirit Mountain Casino
Aug. 17 – Jacksonville, Ore. @ Britt Pavilion
Aug. 19 – Maryville, Wash. @ Tulalip Amphitheater
Aug. 20 – Lewiston, Idaho @ Clearwater River Casino
Aug. 21 – Missoula, Mont. @ KettleHouse Amphitheater
Aug. 24 – Englewood, Colo. @ Fiddler’s Green
Sept. 11 – Milwaukee, Wis. @ Summerfest
Sept. 12 – Cincinnati, Ohio @ Riverbend Music Center
Sept. 14 – Huber Heights, Ohio @ Rose Music Center
Sept. 15 – Cedar Rapids, Iowa @ AE PowerHouse
Sept. 17 – Council Bluffs, Iowa @ Harrah’s Casino
Sept. 18 – Pryor, Okla. @ Born and Raised Festival
Sept. 19 – Memphis, Tenn. @ Orpheum Theatre
Sept. 21 – Charleston, W.V. @ Charleston Coliseum
Sept. 22 – Doswell, Va. @ Meadow Event Park
Sept. 23 – Frederick, Md. @ Frederick Fairgrounds
Sept. 25 – Watertown, N.Y. @ Watertown Fairgrounds
Sept. 26 – Bethel, N.Y. @ Bethel Woods Center
Sept. 28 – N. Charleston, S.C. @ Performing Arts Center
Sept. 30 – Macon, Ga. @ Macon City Auditorium
Oct. 1 – Tupelo, Miss. @ BancorpSouth Arena
Oct. 2 – Lake Charles, La. @ Golden Nugget
Oct. 4 – Fort Worth, Texas @ Dickies Arena
Oct. 8 – Las Vegas, Nev. @ The Venetian Theatre
Oct. 9 – Las Vegas, Nev. @ The Venetian Theatre
Oct. 10 – Scottsdale, Ariz. @ Talking Stick Resort
Oct. 13 – Las Vegas, Nev. @ The Venetian Theatre
Oct. 15 – Las Vegas, Nev. @ The Venetian Theatre
Oct. 16 – Las Vegas, Nev. @ The Venetian Theatre
Nov. 6 – Key West, Fla. @ Key West Amphitheater
Nov. 7 – Fort Lauderdale, Fla. @ Seminole Hard Rock
Nov. 9 – Tampa, Fla. @ Seminole Hard Rock
Nov. 11 – Orlando, Fla. @ Hard Rock International
Nov. 13 – Fort Myers, Fla. @ Mann Hall
Nov. 14 – Jacksonville, Fla. @ Florida Theatre
Nov. 16 – Melbourne, Fla. @ King Center
Nov. 17 – Savannah, Ga. @ Johnny Mercer Theater
Nov. 20 – Wilmington, N.C. @ Cape Fear CC
Nov. 21- Durham, N.C. @ Performing Arts Center
Nov. 23 – Chattanooga, Tenn. @ Tivoli Theatre
Nov. 27 – Lubbock, Texas @ Buddy Holly Center
Nov. 28 – Lubbock, Texas @ Buddy Holly Center
Dec. 3 – Biloxi, Miss. @ IP Casino Resort and Hotel
Dec. 4 – Shreveport, La. @ Municipal Auditorium
Dec. 5 – Wichita Falls, Texas @ Memorial Auditorium
Dec. 7 – Abilene, Texas @ Taylor County Coliseum
Dec. 11 – El Paso, Texas @ Abraham Chavez Theatre
Dec. 12 – Midland, Texas @ Wagner Noel Center
April 23, 2022 – Abbotsford, Canada @ Sports Centre
April 24, 2022 – Penticton, Canada @ South Okanagen
April 26, 2022 – Kamloops, Canada @ Sandman Centre
April 27, 2022 – Lethbridge, Canada @ ENMAX Centre
April 29, 2022 – Saskatoon, Canada @ SaskTel Center
April 30, 2022 – Enoch, Canada @ River Tree Casino
May 3, 2022 – Brandon, Canada @ Keystone Centre
May 4, 2022 – Niagara Falls, Canada @ Fallsview
May 8, 2022 – Laval, Canada @ Place Bell
May 10, 2022 – Halifax, Canada @ Scotiabank Centre
May 13, 2022 – St. John’s, Canada @ Mile One Centre
May 14, 2022 – St. John’s, Canada @ Mile One Centre

Rockers We’ve Lost in 2021

R.I.P. to the rockers who died in 2021.

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