Neil Finn Leaves Middle Earth, Resumes Work on Solo Album

Neil Finn Leaves Middle Earth, Resumes Work on Solo Album

'The Hobbit' Soundtrack Arrives Dec. 11 ... Finn Says First Solo Album in 12 Years Coming in '13

Having wrapped work on "The Hobbit," Neil Finn has resumed work on his first solo album in 12 years, which he figures will be released in the summer.

"I'm in the middle of it," Finn said by phone from Tarbox Studios in Auckland, New Zealand, where he is working with Dave Fridmann. While he figures he'll finish recording in January, "I've become used to not really predicting when records will come out."

Finn's "Song of the Lonely Mountain," the end credits tune in "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," was released online last month; the soundtrack album featuring Howard Shore's score and the Finn track will be released Dec. 11, three days before the film is in theaters.

The song, more than six minutes in length, is not characteristic of Finn's work in Crowded House or his solo work on "On Nil" from 2001 or "Try Whistling This," released in 1998.

"The original melody is already stated in the movie and that gave me a starting point," says Finn, who worked with Plan 9 and his sons Liam and Elroy on the recording. "It was quite nice to have something to begin with. (The filmmakers) encouraged me to think 'dwarvian' and that became attractive, banging anvils and such and adding electronic elements. Who's to say what exists in Middle Earth?"

To envelope his music in the Lord of the Rings/Hobbit world, Finn traveled to Wellington where it had been shot. "A reasonable amount of film" was screened for Finn, who holed up in director Peter Jackson's office to write and demo the song.

"It was quite a supportive environment," he says," noting "Lord of the Rings" already had a special spot in the Finn household. "Elroy was 12 when the first film came out and he was obsessive about it. (The series) has been elevated to quite a pedestal. I'm delighted to be inhabiting the score."

Finn will next be touring Australia with Paul Kelly from Feb. 16 to March 18.