New Penn Set Ruminates On Past, Present
Singer/songwriter Michael Penn utilized the post-World War II state of 1947 Los Angeles as the context for his new studio album, "Mr. Hollywood, Jr. -- 1947."Singer/songwriter Michael Penn utilized the post-World War II state of 1947 Los Angeles as the context for his new studio album, "Mr. Hollywood, Jr. -- 1947." The set is due June 28 via Penn's own Mimeograph Records through spinART, marking his first foray out of the major-label system that issued his first four albums.
"I'm hesitant to call it a concept record," Penn tells Billboard.com of the 13-track set. "I was thinking about my father and people who fought in World War II, and the trauma that a war brings to a person's psychology. I always write about the day to day traumas of life and relationships. But I was thinking about someone who was going through those things, and then coming home and having the extra baggage of experiencing a war as well."
Penn experimented with the fledgling tracks via his monthly gig at Los Angeles club Largo, and drafted familiar collaborators such as his wife, Aimee Mann, and vocalist Buddy Judge to assist in the recording process. Former Jayhawks principal Gary Louris lends a hand on the songs "Pretending" and "A Bad Sign."
"Gary was in L.A. and we had a mutual friend who said I should call him up," Penn says. "So I did, and he was up for it. He came by and I put him to work."
Penn will preview the set with a three-week acoustic tour, which he says will feature just himself and possibly a keyboard player. "I hope we get to a point where I can afford to go out with a band, because that would be a lot of fun," he says with a laugh.
Beforehand, the artist says he's scrambling to finish the music for the documentary "The Comedians of Comedy," which chronicles Patton Oswalt, Zach Galifianakis and Brian Posehn's recent tour of rock clubs. The film is due to premiere next week at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas.
Here are Michael Penn's tour dates:
April 9: Seattle (Tractor Tavern)
April 10: Portland, Ore. (Mississippi Studious)
April 11: San Francisco (Cafe Du Nord)
April 12: Los Angeles (Largo)
April 14: Minneapolis (Varsity)
April 15: Chicago (Schuba's)
April 16: Madison, Wis. (Cafe Monmartre)
April 18: New York (Joe's Pub)
April 20: Boston (Lizard Lounge)
April 22: Brywn Mawr, Pa. (the Point)
April 23: Alexandria, Va. (Iota)
April 25: Charlotte, N.C. (Evening Muse)
April 26: Atlanta (Redlight Cafe)