18.09.2012 By: David Hayter

Dave Stewart has been a busy man since calling time on the Eurythmics and putting his solo career on hold in 1998. Exploring every conceivable avenue, the legendary collaborator has published comic books, written two musical scores, produced a truckload of albums, and even found time to create a super group with Mick Jagger, Damian Marley and Joss Stone.

Famed for waging war on multiple fronts, he caught the world off guard when he returned with two brand new solo albums written and produced in the heart of country music’s Nashville hit factory. Releasing his first new material for 13 years has clearly invigorated Stewart, who is excited to reclaim his reputation as a guitarist and singer songwriter.

He readily admits he’s “bonkers” about guitars, rather than synths, and he’s anxious to discuss swapping Duesenbergs with Glen Campbell, playing with Orianthi, and theRockbridge Boutique in Virginia, but we start by discovering just where on earth these two records came from:

You’ve kept incredibly busy, but you go 13 years without putting out an album with the Dave Stewart name on the cover, and now you’re back with two records in 12 months. So what came over you?

It was weird. I didn’t make a record for 13 or 14 years, and then by some sort of default,because of that Icelandic volcanic eruption, we got grounded in London. So to get back to LA, I had to fly via Nashville, and while I was there someone had set up a meeting for me with Martina and John McBride.

They showed me Blackbird Studio, and we went for a meal and a drink, and around two in the morning, we had all drunk loads of different stuff, and John decided he wanted me to come to the studio. Now he’s this vintage guitar collector, and he had thousands of vinyl records, and microphones from the 1920s. And I was in the middle of all this stuff and just thought, “wow”, and I said: “I’m coming back here to make a record”.

So I was literally straight back. He thought I meant in a few months, but I was right back. And I made a record, The Blackbird Diaries, wrote it and recorded it in 5 days. John McBride just got me all these great players, and I thought: why change horses in midstream? So I decided to do The Ringmaster General, with the same players, in the same place, just with some slightly different guests.

Read the entire interview here.