Source – Music Radar
Dave Stewart admits that he he didn’t originally plan on cutting his new album, The Blackbird Diaries, in Nashville. But the bizarre combination of volcanic ash and a certain Gretsch guitar drew him to Music City.
“It happened when there were all of those volcanic eruptions in Iceland in 2010,” says the 58-year-old Stewart. “Air travel was pretty much at a standstill throughout Europe for a while. So, not being able to go anywhere, I decided to visit my favorite guitar street, Denmark Street, in London. I was in this shop, and I my eyes went right to this Gretsch Rancher, an acoustic with a very funny shape. The guy at the shop told me he’d bought the guitar at an auction some 20 years before in Texas.”
Stewart opened the guitar case and discovered songbooks and photos that had belonged to the original owner, many of them dating back to 1950s Nashville. “Looking through it all, it was as if I were becoming part of a story. The tug of Nashville was quite strong.”
Once it was safe to travel, the Grammy Award-winning artist/writer/producer, and former half of Eurythmics, made his way to Nashville, where he hooked up with John and Martina McBride at their Blackbird Studio. From there, things fell together quickly. The McBrides introduced Stewart to a stellar cast of studio musicians – guitarist Tom Bukovac, drummer Chad Cromwell, bassist Michael Rhodes, steel guitarist Dan Dugmore and Mike Rojas on piano – who backed up the veteran British hitmaker on The Blackbird Diaries.
The 12-song set, due out 28 June (although in the US, Canada and Australia it will be issued 24 August), also features appearances by Stevie Nicks, Colbie Caillat, the Secret Sisters and Martina McBride. But Stewart hasn’t been concentrating solely on his own record: he recently produced Nicks’ new album, In Your Dreams, Joss Stone’s upcoming disc, LP1, and has penned a musical adaptation of the movie Ghost with writer/producer Glen Ballard that is set to open on London’s West End soon.
And if that weren’t enough, in September Stewart will unveil an intriguing ‘supergroup’ Super Heavy, in which he’s teamed with Mick Jagger, Joss Stone, Damien Marley and AR Rahman. “Some might say it’s an odd mix,” says Stewart. “But that’s kind of what I do: I take disparate talents, put them all together and see if I can come up with something new and different. With Super Heavy, I’d say that’s been realized.”
So many projects and so little time to discuss them all, but that’s just what MusicRadar did when we sat down with Stewart the other day. In addition to his numerous releases, Stewart happily held forth on a subject near and dear to his heart: guitars.
When you met John and Martina McBride in Nashville, you didn’t really have an album written, is that right?
“That’s right. They invited me to come by and see the studio, and I fell in love with both of them and the studio. I had started to write some lyrics on the plane, and by the time I got to my hotel I had quite a few things written down.
“I felt pretty good about some of the songs I had written, and once I started playing with the band, things fell together very quickly. John McBride was very instrumental in putting the band together. I would mention certain songs and albums and references, and he would name a player. Every time I’d say something, John would come up some somebody who was absolutely perfect. The band had never played together per se, but they were a magic combination of talents.”
There’s a lot more of this interview, so click here to read the rest of it.