Peter Wolf has set an April 6 release date for "Midnight Souvenirs," his seventh solo album and first set of new material in eight years.
"It's music based on the influences that I enjoy and grew up with," the J. Geils Band frontman tells Billboard.com about the 14-song set, which will be released by Verve/UMe. "There's some country elements, some Philly sound to it, some just good ol' straightback rockin' stuff. You try to absorb the influences but reshape it in a way it doesn't come off sounding like a museum piece."
Wolf has spent two years working on the followup to 2002's critically acclaimed "Sleepless," recording "Midnight Souvenirs" in New York, Boston and Los Angeles with co-producer Kenny White, who also worked on "Sleepless" and 1998's "Fools Parade." Wolf co-wrote songs with Will Jennings (Steve Winwood, Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker) and Nashville songwriters Angelo Petraglia and Taylor Rhodes. "Midnight Souvenirs" also features guest appearances by Shelby Lynne ("Tragedy"), Merle Haggard ("It's Too Late For Me") and Neko Case ("The Green Fields of Summer"), while the track "The Night Comes Down" is dedicated to the late Willy Deville.
"I took a long time making this record. It just didn't seem like there was a need to rush," Wolf says. "It's not a record that has a particular theme, other than there's something nocturnal about it, and I tried to keep it to the adventures that go on beyond the midnight hours. I think the songs pretty much capture them, so that's what it's sort of about." Wolf is looking forward to taking the new songs on the road once "Midnight Souvenirs" is released. "There's a whole other aspect to these songs when a band plays 'em life," he says.
Before that, however, he has two shows planned with the J. Geils Band -- a New Year's Eve gig at the Mohican Sun Casino in Uncasville, Conn., and a benefit for Big Brothers/Big Sisters on Jan. 23 in Boston which he calls the "last" Geils show. "You never say never," Wolf notes, "but I can tell you in my heart of hearts that as far as I know -- and I'm a pretty good source -- there is nothing I can think of that's planned. So this is basically it right now."
The track list for Wolf's "Midnight Souvenirs" includes:
"Tragedy" (with Shelby Lynne)
"I Don't Wanna Know"
"Watch Her Move"
"There's Still Time"
"The Green Fields Of Summer" (with Neko Case)
"Thick As Thieves"
"I'm Always Asking For You"
"Leaves Us All Behind"
"Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky"
"Don't Try And Change Her"
"The Night Comes Down" (for Willy Deville)
"It's Too Late For Me" (with Merle Haggard)