It's been seven years since Peter Wolf last released a solo album, but the J. Geils Band frontman is planning to end that drought later this year.
Wolf tells Billboard.com that his as-yet-untitled album, his first since "Sleepless" in 2002, will be out "sometime during the summer" on a Universal Music Group label. He's been recording in New York and Boston and recruited guests such as Merle Haggard, Shelby Lynn, Neko Case and Larry Campbell (Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello, Emmylou Harris).
"It's been a lot of hard work, but it's seeming worthwhile," says Wolf, who produced the album. "There's a lot of meat and potatoes, some songs on there that are great, emotionally close to me. It's heart-felt type of music; it's just country, honky-tonk, hillbilly, R&B, blues, rock -- it all kind of gets whisked around, because I love it all. It's got the Woofa Goofa Mama Twofer seal of excitement."
Wolf says he's recorded "a bunch" of songs for the project but expects 13 to be on the final track list. And for now he's being circumspect about song titles and lyrical subjects.
"The songs kind of speak for themselves, and I'd rather they do that," he explains. "You can sort of go on about the content of a song or the meaning of a song, but unless someone is familiar with it...For me as a fan of music, it doesn't mean much until I've heard it, so I'm gonna wait for that to happen with these (songs)."
Wolf -- who was on the road with Kid Rock's Rock N Roll Revival Tour in 2008 -- says he plans to tour in support of the album as well, mostly in "intimate venues" in key cities. "I'm looking forward to getting out on the highways and byways and playing a whole retrospective of a lot of that (solo) stuff," he says.
Before that happens, however, Wolf will revisit his Geils past on April 24-25, when the group reunites for a pair of concerts in its "adopted home town" of Detroit. There are "no plans" for any further Geils projects, but Wolf says the shows will help a bit to set up the new album's release.
"The Geils shows are exciting," he acknowledges. "They are a part of my life that I love and that I treat with great respect. But the (solo work) also is another part of my life that I also treat with great respect. As a musician I feel honored and value that I have different palettes and different things to choose from. It's the totality of it all that makes it exciting for me and keeps me going and motivates me and still keeps me a hard-driving man."