Jonathan Cain Talks New Solo Release, Shares Title Track 'The Songs You Leave Behind': Premiere

Jonathan Cain
Michael Cairns

Jonathan Cain

As he prepares to release his own new album The Songs You Leave Behind -- a compendium of both new and older material whose title track is premiering exclusively below -- next month, Jonathan Cain is also feeling optimistic about some new Journey music in the future.

"I'd like to revisit that," Cain tells Billboard. "I'm in a good place musically, mentally, spiritually. I'd like to get with Neal (Schon) and find out what he's got on his mind, get with Arnel (Pineda) and just start gathering (material) and see what we've got." Cain is hopeful that opportunity will come during Journey's summer tour with Def Leppard and the Pretenders and lead to hitting the studio -- preferably Cain's own in Nashville, where he has the Record Plant console on which Journey made 1986's Raised On Radio  -- later this year.

"After this tour we may have a window to do it," Cain says. "It could be a great record. I can almost see it in my mind. I couldn't tell you that a year ago."

Last year, of course, Journey was curiously embattled following its April induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Some social media posts by Schon and aimed primarily at Cain pointed to a band at odds. But that's apparently not the case anymore.

"Neal and I have reset," reports Cain, who claimed to be baffled by the issues last year and says he's not addressed them any further now. "We didn't even talk about it. We don't have to. It's over. It was a big misunderstanding to a large degree. We didn't have to explain it. Time heals everything. The music's bigger than those kinds of disagreements. When I walked into the room for rehearsals I could see (Schon) was ready to go again. He's excited to go out there and play together, and I think the brotherhood is restored in a good way."

With Journey back on the road May 21, Cain will bring out The Songs You Leave Behind on June 8. Inspired by his 2017 memoir Don't Stop Believin'..., the 19-track album combines songs from his pre-Journey career, some of which were companion pieces for the audio version of the book, and seven never before released tracks, including "What Else Have I Missed," which is dedicated to Cain's children, and "The Songs You Leave Behind."

"I finished (the title track) the day I spent making a video about the book," Cain recalls. "I was driving home from Nashville to Orlando and I was just, like, hit with this song. I probably wrote in in 20 minutes, just like boom boom boom. I wrote 'Faithfully' like that, a 20-minute tune, automatic and effortless. It's just me saying you'll be remembered for the songs you leave behind; As a songwriter and having the blessings and the success I've had, that's all I can hope for, y'know?"

Cain calls The Songs You Leave Behind "a very personal album" and is also happy to have a vehicle for '70s material that's gone out of print over the years. The set includes several faith-based songs, while the wrenching "The Day They Became Angels" recalls the 1958 fire at his parochial school in Chicago that killed 92 of his classmates and was written for the 50th anniversary commemoration of the tragedy.

"These songs weren't written to be hits," Cain says. "They weren't written to be commercial. They're just telling a story. You have to define yourself -- Who is Jonathan Cain? Who is the guy who wrote 'Faithfully?' I wanted to find that guy again, what's his story? If I didn't get all these songs done and recorded and out, I wouldn't have felt complete. It was something I had to do."