The Waterboys will release a brand new album early next year entitled Modern Blues via Kobalt on January 20th 2015. The album is a first for the band, as it’s the first release fully recorded in Nashville, Tennessee by the group. Produced by Waterboys leader Mike Scott and mixed by Bob Clearmountain, Modern Blues, the band’s eleventh studio album, contains nine passionate songs, evoking the very best of The Waterboys past work while forging forth to explore new ground.
Mike Scott entered the studio intent on harnessing the rolling, spontaneous energy that fueled some of The Waterboys greatest albums. “I set out to make a record with an ensemble playing live, to get that performance spirit. It’s how I recorded Fisherman’s Blues.” To that end, he corralled old hands and new friends. Ralph Salmins, a mainstay on drums for the past four years, appears alongside Scott and talismanic Waterboy Steve Wickham, who weaves a dizzying fuzz fiddle spell on several tracks of Modern Blues.
Fresh to the ranks of the group are Memphis keyboard player “Brother” Paul Brown, and David Hood, legendary bassist from the heyday of FAME studios and Muscle Shoals. “I’ve got the man who played on “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” on bass!” Scott laughs. “He and Paul had a huge impact on the sound.”
Asked why he chose to record in Nashville, Scott (who lives mostly in Dublin) explained, “Nashville has a reputation as Music City, USA and I fancied some of that. It’s one of the few cities that still has a recording studio industry intact, which brings the spur of competition. I know that across town Jack White’s making a record, The Black Keys are making theirs. I like that competitive feeling, it’s exciting. It’s a spur.”
In true Waterboys’ style, a spirit of exploration defines the album. Few bands have changed as much as this one. Formed in 1983, on their first three albums The Waterboys sculpted a layered post-punk sound, culminating in 1985’s sky-scraping This is the Sea. Since then the music has never ceased to evolve, from the hugely influential mix of Celtic folk, gospel, country and rock on the classic Fisherman’s Blues, to the New York guitar sounds of Dream Harder, the agitated millennial sonic exploration of A Rock in the Weary Land, and the fired-up poetic passion of 2011’s An Appointment with Mr. Yates. In 2013 the band embarked an extensive North American tour with over 40 dates.
Modern Blues is an electric, eclectic, soulful, bold and gloriously freewheeling rock’n’roll record, arriving at a time when the relevance and popular reach of The Waterboys has never been greater. In 2013 Ellie Goulding scored a top 3 UK hit with their “How Long Will I Love You” and earlier this year Prince performed “The Whole of the Moon” solo at the piano during his Hit + Run show at Ronnie Scott’s in London. “A Pagan Place” has also recently become a live staple for The War on Drugs.
The Waterboys have just announced two UK shows for February and a North American tour is in the works with details to be announced at a later date.
Modern Blues Track Listing
Still A Freak
I Can See Elvis
The Girl Who Slept For Scotland
Rosalind You Married The Wrong Girl
Nearest Thing To Hip
Long Strange Golden Road
UK Tour Dates
Feb 2, 2015 – Coventry, UK Warwick Arts Centre
Feb 3, 2015 – London, UK Roundhouse