It's 6:30 p.m. on a Friday in Los Angeles. The car ferrying Academy Award-nominated thespian Terrence Howard has just left the landmark Orpheum Theatre, the downtown backdrop for such movies and TV shows as "Dreamgirls" and "American Idol." It's where Howard will return the next morning to direct the video for "Sanctuary," the soulful love ballad/lead single from his Sept. 2 Columbia debut, "Shine Through It."

Racing through a day that segued from taping a segment of the PBS series "Independent Lens" to a video production meeting and then this Billboard interview, a subdued Howard revs back up when the subject switches from his jam-packed schedule to music.

"This album is about bringing back the nostalgia for musicianship," the "Iron Man" co-star says. "Young kids are being inundated with a watered-down version of what used to be music; an electronic idea of what used to be a feeling."

Other than declaring early on that his formal foray into music would not be a takeoff on his role as rapper DJay in 2005 film "Hustle & Flow," Howard says he simply went where the mood took him. "I didn't know going in if the whole album would be just me on guitar and completely acoustic," he recalls. "Then I heard other possibilities, like putting a bass here or strings there."

Recorded live in 11 days, "Shine Through It" reflects...

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