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The Story of SUSTO and Aldrick Williams, The Bloodstock of Poetry

Like everything else in the world of SUSTO, there’s a noteworthy story behind The Bloodstock of Poetry. Released today via the Acid Boys label, the album features the spoken word poetry of street poet Aldrick Williams, native to the Caribbean islands of Antigua and Barbuda, with musical accompaniment from the SUSTO crew. Aldrick lives across the street from SUSTO’s Justin Osborne in North Charleston, and the two met in 2020 and became fast friends. We caught up with Justin and Aldrick to talk about the origins of The Bloodstock of Poetry, and how their friendship led to the creation of this album. Read on, Champions!

“The Bloodstock of Poetry is about sharing…sharing a message, motivate people, make people laugh, make people happy, and to brighten up their day…Champion.” – Aldrick Williams

Justin and Aldrick first met shortly after Justin moved to North Charleston with his family. Aldrick was living across the street, and one day the two were introduced and got to talking.

“He had come up and introduced himself to Meghan, and she told me about him, and so eventually I met him,” Justin explains. “Immediately I could tell he had a beautiful, shining spirit. He started telling me his poems, and the first one he told me was ‘Champion’.”

Now, the name Champion has a special significance in Justin’s life, a significance that was especially present in Justin’s mind during the time that he and Aldrick had met. At the time, Justin had been traveling back and forth to his hometown of Florence, SC, to spend his last moments with his father, who sadly passed away in 2020.

“My Dad used to call me Champ when I was a kid,” Justin explains. “And then I would come home from Florence and be kinda down, knowing that it was gonna be one of the last few times I’d see my Dad. I’d get home, and I’d get out of my van and I’d see Aldrick sitting on his front porch, and he’d look at me and put his hand in the air and say, Champion!

Justin would look back and return the gesture, shouting “Champion!” right back at Aldrick. Over time, as the two became better friends, Aldrick began telling Justin more of his poems, and more stories about his life.

“I enjoy meeting people…sharing my poetry with them, especially Champion,” Aldrick explains. “And, the name is important but when we finish talk… I see other champions, as myself.”

Aldrick’s life story is one of traveling around, sharing his poems with people all over the place. He recalls when people would assume he was looking for money, but Aldrick would tell them to keep their money and instead take with them the gift of his poetry.

Eventually, the idea came up to turn Aldrick’s poetry into an album. So Justin booked a date in the studio with Wolfgang Zimmerman, and they went in to record the poems. Aldrick knocked out the nine poems in no time, and then it was set to music by the crew. SUSTO’s Justin Osborne makes his debut as a producer here, with help from Wolfgang Zimmerman behind the boards. Corey Campbell scored the album, with Dylan Dawkins scoring the intro and Justin contributing some scoring as well. SUSTO guitarist Dries Vandenburg was also in the mix with his camera, making this a full-on family effort.

The result is an ambient, SUSTO-esque backdrop to Aldrick’s conversational and direct poetry. The poems are all about life’s simple moments of joy and wisdom, as told through the unique perspective of Aldrick Williams. At times uplifting and touching, and at other times hilarious and raunchy (“Golden Shower” is about exactly what you think it’s about), The Bloodstock of Poetry is a delightful listen that is almost guaranteed to brighten up your day, just like Aldrick says.

“Now is the time for us to show love, and understand love, and share love,” Aldrick closes.

Listen to The Bloodstock of Poetry by Aldrick Williams below.