Neil Diamond's next studio album will be a self-titled affair, the first for the performer in his 40-year career. As previously reported, "Neil Diamond" will be released Nov. 8 via Columbia and is bei

Neil Diamond's next studio album will be a self-titled affair, the first for the performer in his 40-year career. As previously reported, "Neil Diamond" will be released Nov. 8 via Columbia and is being produced by Rick Rubin. The set has been pushed back twice to give the label more time for set up.

"It's a very stripped-down, beautiful, emotional album," Rubin told Billboard.com last night (Aug. 18) before the first of three Diamond shows at New York's Madison Square Garden. He added that several tracks feature string arrangements that were being completed in the studio this week.

Among the songs expected to make the final cut for the album include "Oh Mary," "Delirious" and "Evermore." The set is the follow-up to Diamond's 2001 effort "Three Chord Opera," which debuted at No. 15 on The Billboard 200.

Last night, Diamond seemed thrilled to be playing in front of his hometown crowd, telling them, "We're happy that you're here and that you remember us." The 28-song set was highlighted by sing-a-long versions of "Sweet Caroline," "Cracklin' Rosie" and "Cherry, Cherry" as well as the tour debut of "Thank the Lord for the Night Time."

The North American leg of the trek kicked off July 25 in Omaha, Neb., and has grossed $10.36 million from 13 shows reported to Billboard Boxscore, seven of them sell-outs. Diamond's 2005 box-office haul is more than $42.4 million from 43 shows, 36 of them sell-outs.

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