Artpace to host pre-release event for Robert Leroy Hodge’s album, Between the Devil and the Deep

Limited quantities of the vinyl album will be available at the event on Thursday, Jan. 19.

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click to enlarge The cover of Robert Leroy Hodge's Between the Devil and the Deep features a collage reflective of his visual style and the album's explorations. - Courtesy Image / Artpace
Courtesy Image / Artpace
The cover of Robert Leroy Hodge's Between the Devil and the Deep features a collage reflective of his visual style and the album's explorations.
Robert Leroy Hodge — an interdisciplinary artist born and based in Houston who participated in Artpace's International Artist-in-Residence program in 2017 — will be coming back to San Antonio to preview the album he recorded during his residency, Between the Devil and the Deep.

Through the title is a reference to a Theolonious Monk recording, “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea,” the album itself is a reflection on the mythology and history of blues musician Robert Johnson. It was recorded at San Antonio’s Sheraton Gunter hotel, in the same room and on the same day — albeit 80 years after — where Johnson participated in a recording session (one of two in his lifetime) in 1936 that would define his remembered output.

Between the Devil and the Deep is Hodge’s exploration of the myth of Johnson selling his soul to the devil at a crossroads for the guitar skills that would bring him legendary status. The album explores Hodge’s inquiries into the unknown inspired by his research — questions like “Is there a ‘soul?’” “Can it be sold?” and “Does it actually belong to us?” An homage less in sound and more in mythos, the album is inspired by Johnson’s Delta blues but leans more toward hip-hop and, duly, soul, featuring musicians from Houston, New Orleans and San Antonio.

Hodge was selected for Artpace’s IAIR program in 2017 by curator Michelle Grabner, and has since also participated in the exhibition "Slowed and Throwed: Records of the City through Mutated Lenses" at Artpace in 2021. Originally shown at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, "Slowed and Throwed" explored visual practices that mirrored the innovative musical methods of late Houston hip hop legend DJ Screw. Hodge's previous works include the album Two and 1⁄2 years: A Musical Celebration to the Spirit of Juneteenth and a traveling installation called “The Beauty Box.”

During the event, Hodge will speak about the album and guests will have first dibs on purchasing copies of the signed vinyl, which will be available in limited quantities.

Free, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday Jan. 19, Artpace, 445 N. Main Ave., (210) 212-4900, artpace.org.

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