Frank Black Still Feeling Country

Franz Ferdinand's sophomore album, "You Could Have It So Much Better" (Domino), arrived at No. 1 on the new U.K. chart yesterday (Oct. 9). The only other new entry in the top 10 of the album chart saw

Pixies guitarist/vocalist Frank Black is eyeing an early 2006 release for his second consecutive solo album that has been recorded in Nashville with top session musicians. The artist tells he has about 25 songs to choose from for the upcoming Back Porch/EMI set, which will be the follow-up to this summer's "Honeycomb," which debuted at No. 11 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart.

"It will either be a lean and mean record with 11 songs on it, or a self-indulgent opus with everything," he says with a laugh. Although the provisional name for the album was "La Sicilian," Black says, "That probably won't be the title."

Black recently completed a second round of recording with such artists as Steve Cropper, Spooner Oldham, David Hood, the Band's Levon Helm, Al Kooper, Buddy Miller and Rich Gilbert, a member of his solo band the Catholics. He also recorded duets on the country oldie "Dirty Old Town" with Marty Brown and Cowboy Jack Clement on the original "Golden Shore," the latter of which he describes as "very James Taylor-ish."

Black has even revived an outtake from "Honeycomb," an old traditional song called "Been All Around the World." The artist says, "Dylan and the Dead have done it. I sort of updated the lyrics and that one is also James Taylor-ish."

Among the other cuts in consideration for the album are "You Can't Crucify Yourself," "I'm Not Dead, I'm in Pittsburgh" (co-written with Reid Paley), "Elijah," "If Your Poison Gets You," "My Terrible Ways," "Fitzgerald" and "Holland Town."

Black was finally able to present some of the Nashville material live during a one-off show when he was in the city earlier this fall, and he's still hoping to mount a tour at some point. "It makes sense if I put out a couple of records on Back Porch with various lineups, I'd be more comfortable doing a tour with whoever I can get," he says.

"Whereas with just 'Honeycomb,' that band was such a classic lineup and it was the only record representing my so-called 'Nashville' period, that I felt under a little pressure to have that band," Black continues. "I didn't want to go out with some young buck alternative rock guys. But now that there's a second record with different people, I could find some alt-country guys. A lot of the 'Honeycomb' guys have expressed interest in going on tour, but half the time they're flying around with Neil Young!"