Booker T. Jones' Stax/Volt resume reads like a field guide to American music, but for his Anti- debut and first solo set since the '80s, the 64-year-old soul man went with a different kind of Southern sound altogether, enlisting Georgia rockers the Drive-By Truckers as his backing band for an album of all-new instrumentals.
"Potato Hole" is due April 21. Neil Young, who Booker T. and the MGs backed on 2002's "Are You Passionate?" handles lead guitar duties, and the 10-song set includes covers of "Hey Ya," Tom Waits' "Get Behind the Mule" and the Drive-By Truckers' "Space City."
"It was a matter of finding people to help me interpret these ideas," Jones tells Billboard. "In the public's mind, it's gonna be a new sound for me. In my mind it's not. I've loved rock for a long time. In the '60s I wrote a few songs for Otis Redding and Eddie Floyd that were rock songs, but it was too soon for us to be doing that kind of music."
Jones and the Truckers will play Jazzfest in April and have other festival appearances on tap to announce in the coming weeks.