Soul Asylum frontman Dave Pirner has set a July 16 release date for his first solo album. The as-yet-untitled album, said to be heavily inspired by the singer’s move from Minneapolis to New Orleans, will be released via Ultimatum Music. Soul Asylum fans fear not, as the band is planning to record an album for release next year.
“I never had this big ambition to make a solo record,” Pirner said in a statement. “Honestly, I prefer being in a band, but I think after being in the same band, I needed to try something new and different and I think I saw this as a window of opportunity.” A summer tour is in its initial planning stages.
The 11-track album features contributions from keyboardist Billy Preston (Beatles, Rolling Stones) and guitarist Chris Whitley. While the album was essentially self-produced, Pirner received a helping hand from Oliver Leiber and David Gamson (BBMak, Corrs) on a pair of tracks and recording engineer Trina Shoemaker (Sheryl Crow).
The set is said to have an R&B flavor, and Pirner credits such New Orleans musicians as pianist/composer Henry Butler, jazz artist Kermit Ruffin, and funk group the Meters as influences on the work. The album was recorded at New Orleans’ famed Kingsway Studios.
Soul Asylum was formed in the early ’80 and at first overshadowed by such Minneapolis luminaries as the Replacements and Husker Du. But the group outlasted both and rose to stardom in 1992 with its Columbia effort “Grave Dancer’s Union.” Led by such singles as “Somebody To Shove” and “Runaway Train,” the set sold 2.1 million units in the U.S., according to SoundScan, and peaked at No. 11 on The Billboard 200.
Since then, the band hasn’t come close to matching its success, as its most recent effort, “Candy From a Stranger,” peaked at No. 121 on The Billboard 200 in 1998. Soul Asylum has a handful of tour dates confirmed for the summer, including an April 28 show in Wayne, Neb., and appearances at chili cook-offs in Washington, D.C., and Long Beach, Calif.