Guitarist works on set of "obscure R&B and blues songs" ... Also reveals Eagles co-founder Bernie Leadon will join legendary band on upcoming tour
Joe Walsh isn't planning to let another two decades pass between solo albums, as he did before 2012's well-received "Analog Man." In fact, the Eagles member has already started work on his new project.
"I'll say, loosely, I've started a blues album," Walsh tells Billboard. The guitarist recently assembled some all-star friends -- including Dr. John, Robert Randolph, Keb' Mo', drummer Jim Keltner, keyboardist Mike Finnigan and Jeff Beck bassist Tal Wilkenfeld -- to record a batch of material that mixes originals with what Walsh says are "real obscure R&B and blues songs. Half of it is original, and half of it's old Howlin' Wolf or John Lee Hooker. I told everybody to bring a song in and everybody did, be it an old blues song or some idea. We went through some old Stax records from, like, the Otis Redding days, Sam & Dave stuff that were just albums tracks, and did our version of a whole bunch of stuff."
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Walsh says the group finished "about 12 tracks, and it's really good. We'll probably do it again before I call it finished, but we got a really good start on it."
He isn't putting a firm timetable on that, but Walsh is already hatching plans for what more he'd like to do with the project.
"My thought is maybe to go out and play, like, jazz festivals in Europe with that lineup when the album comes out," says Walsh, who's in the midst of a run opening for good pal Bob Seger and his Silver Bullet Band. "I thought that would be great, and it's some really good people who normally wouldn't get a chance to play with each other, and the music was really magic."
Before that, of course, Walsh will be immersed in The History of the Eagles Tour, which gets under way on July 6 in Louisville and is expected to play intermittently throughout the year. Walsh says the trek will follow suit with "The History of the Eagles" documentary (coming out April 30 on DVD and Blu-ray) with a chronological show that will include both acoustic and full-on electric segments.
"It's our 41st year as a band, last year was the 40th anniversary, so happy birthday to us and we're building a whole new stage, lights, sound, visuals, set list," Walsh reports. "We're going to revisit a lot of old songs and do a whole new tour based around the documentary. It'll be quite an evening."
Walsh, who joined the Eagles in 1975, says the group will make use of archival footage that's been rarely or never seen, and he expects that some of his solo material will also be part of the mix.
"There'll be part of the show that doesn't involve me, but I may come out and play some James Gang stuff as part of the show just to show what I was doing when 'Witchy Woman' came out," he notes. "We don't have that down yet."
Walsh adds that he's particularly looking forward to having Eagles co-founder Bernie Leadon, who he replaced, on the road as a special guest for the tour.
"Bernie's brilliant," Walsh says. "I never really got a chance to play with him, but we've been in contact. We see him from time to time, and I'm really glad he's coming because it's going to take the show up a notch, and I'm really looking forward to playing with him, finally."