Styx's Tommy Shaw and Night Ranger's Jack Blades turn back the clock to the 1960s and '70s on their second album as Shaw Blades, "Influence," due Feb. 20 via VH1 Classic Records.
Styx's Tommy Shaw and Night Ranger's Jack Blades turn back the clock to the 1960s and '70s on their second album as Shaw Blades, "Influence," due Feb. 20 via VH1 Classic Records. The follow-up to the pair's 1995 album "Hallucinations" sports 11 covers of tracks such as Orleans' "Dance With Me," Steely Dan's "Dirty Work" and Seals & Crofts' "Summer Breeze."
The project was inspired by the duo's cover of Spirit's "Nature's Way," which appeared on Blades' 2004 self-titled solo album. "We had so much fun doing it, so we thought, 'Wouldn't it be great if we could actually do a whole album like this? Could we?'" Blades tells Billboard.com. "We looked at each other and said, 'Well, yes we can!'"
The track list was guided by songs Blades and Shaw could sing "duet-style," like Simon & Garfunkel's "Sounds of Silence" and the Mamas & the Papas' "California' Dreamin'." Adds Blades, "Other times, we picked songs that just touched our souls, like 'Lucky Man' by Emerson Lake & Palmer. We're in the midst of two wars right now and that whole song is about a man going off to war. It's amazing how these songs can resonate and strike a note in 2006 just as they did in 1970."
Shaw Blades will tour in support of the album in February and March. "We'll set up the whole place like it's a living room," Blades enthuses. "We'll always have guests. That's the fun of this whole thing. Believe me, if you put this CD on in your car, you will sit there and sing along to every song."
Meanwhile, Blades is working on a new Night Ranger studio album ("It's hard rock, more so than maybe one would think from Night Ranger," he promises) as well as a live collection taped in Tokyo in 2003. In addition, he has signed on to produce a new album from his Damn Yankees cohort Ted Nugent early next year.
Here is the track list for "Influence":
"Time of the Season"
"I Am a Rock"
"Sounds of Silence"
"On a Carousel"
"For What It's Worth"
"Dance With Me"