Kid Rock took some of the wraps off his next album, "Born Free," during his three-night weekend homestand at the DTE Energy Music Theatre in suburban Detroit, debuting six of the songs and announcing the album's release date.
Though originally tipped for Sept. 7, "Born Free" will come out Nov. 16, according to a message from the onstage video screen at the end of Saturday's concert. Additionally, Jim Beam, which manufactures the Rock-endorsed Red Stag black cherry-flavored whiskey, distributed T-shirts announcing a Kid Rock Born Free World Tour 2010-2011.
Meanwhile, Rock and his Twisted Brown Trucker band gave the three sold-out crowds a taste of the new album, playing several songs each night. A clear favorite was the title track and first single, a patriotic heartland anthem in vintage Bob Seger mode that Rock said was inspired by his trips abroad to play for U.S. troops and a feeling of "how lucky each and every one of us are, no matter where you're from, to be born in a country that's free." A film crew shot performance, rehearsal and backstage footage that will reportedly be used for "Born Free's" video and other album promotion.
Rock also rolled out upbeat tracks such as "Slow My Roll," a sinewy, Rolling Stones-flavored rocker, the riffy working man's anthem "God Bless Saturday" and "Feels Good To Me," a spirited romp that will feature country star Trace Adkins on the album version. "Rock On" was an uncharacteristically dark and somber meditation on the end of a relationship, and the shows also included a finished version of "Times Like These," a topical ballad spurred by the country's -- and particularly Detroit's -- economic problems. The song was originally performed as a work-in-progress at Rock's pair of Detroit stadium shows during July of 2009. Its refrain -- "I heard them say they're shutting Detroit down/But I won't leave, 'cause this is my home town" -- not surprisingly went over very well with the partisan amphitheater crowds.
Rock also populated the weekend shows with covers, including Sly & the Family Stone's "Everyday People," "In Color" by Jamey Johnson, who opened Sunday's show, and Uncle Kracker's "Good to Be Me," which Rock co-wrote and produced. The Saturday show was introduced by trumpet-wielding actor David Arquette (in town filming "Scream 4") who danced side-stage -- and onstage during "Three Sheets to the Wind" -- and even played a bit during "All Summer Long." On Sunday, Johnson sang "In Color" with Rock, and the two were joined by fellow hometown hero Bob Seger for a rendition of his "Turn the Page."
Though the Detroit area dates effectively wrap up Rock's touring for the year, he'll also headline a special Patriot Day concert on Sept. 11 in Hilton Head, S.C., and the Puyallup Fair in Washington state on Sept. 26. Rock said his touring plans for "Born Free" are up in the air during Billboard magazine's Music and Advertising conference in June, where he was the keynote speaker. "I'm not sure if I want to exactly when the record goes," he explained. "I've always thought about putting a record out and maybe sitting back and letting it soak in on the fan base rather than going out and playing it the day it comes out, when everyone hasn't had a chance to soak it in yet.
"That's what I'm thinking now -- but it could all change tomorrow."