Seger, meanwhile, has been flying back and forth to Nashville to finish work on the album, whose title and release date have not yet been revealed. It will be Seger’s first since the “Early Seger Vol. 1” compilation in 2009 and his first of all-new material since “Face the Promise” in 2006. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer has also been at home in Detroit rehearsing his Silver Bullet Band for a tour that starts on March 26 in Detroit. So far 17 shows have been announced, and the trek, Seger’s first since 2006-07, is expected to wrap up during late May in the Detroit area.
“Downtown Train,” which Waits released on his 1985 album “Rain Dogs,” is a song Seger has waited more than two decades to release. He recorded the song in early 1989 but was beaten to the punch by Rod Stewart, who included a his version of “Downtown Train” on his late 1989 box set “Storyteller — The Complete Anthology: 1964-1990.” Stewart’s version hit No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and topped the Rock and Adult Contemporary singles charts. It was also nominated for a Grammy Award.
Seger, meanwhile, opted not to release his version of the song but noted at the time that he had mentioned recording the song to Stewart during a visit to London in the summer of 1989. “The next thing I knew, a month later he recorded “Downtown Train” in London and two months later he recorded it in the same studio I recorded it in Los Angeles,” Seger said. Stewart and his representatives have long denied that he stole the idea to record “Downtown Train,” and any hard feelings have settled over the years. Stewart offered an olive branch of sorts by recording Seger’s “Still the Same” as the title track of his 2006 covers album “Still the Same…Great Rock Classics of Our Time.”
The current version of “Downtown Train” was freshly recorded for the new album, produced by Seger in Los Angeles.
Mary Chapin Carpenter, Patty Smyth and Everything But The Girl have also recorded versions of “Downtown Train,” while Seger has released his versions of other Waits songs, including “16 Shells From a Thirty-Ought Six” and “New Coat of Paint.”