Sting says he’s fully aware that an album of 16th century lute songs is not exactly a commercial slam-dunk. But he’s holding out hope that his “Songs From the Labyrinth,” due this week via Deutsche Grammophon, will find an audience.
“I keep saying it — you just never know,” says Sting, who recorded the album with lute player Edin Karamazov from Sarajevo. “I think this is a longer shot than [‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?’] but … why not? The response so far has been very encouraging. People have said, ‘Wow, this is totally different. How refreshing.’ I don’t know — that may translate into mass appeal or it may not.
“We really did this for love, and whatever happens next is in the hands of the Gods, really,” he adds. “Songs From the Labyrinth” is comprised of songs by composer John Dowland, along with one track written by Robert Johnson (the Englishman, not the American blues legend).
Sting and Karamazov certainly plan to do their part to lure people into the “Labyrinth.” They’ll be the musical guests on the Oct. 16 episode of the new NBC show “Studio 60” and are playing a handful of shows this month. “I think we have to stay intimate with it, live,” says Sting, who has adapted the Police’s “Message in a Bottle” and his own “Fields of Gold” for lute. “It’s not gonna work in a giant stadium. It needs to be a small, controlled space.”