Stream the new album from The Waterboys via WSJApril 2, 2015
The Waterboys hit our stage on 5/18!
After basing the Waterboys’ 2011 album on the poetry of William Butler Yeats, leaderMike Scott drew on a rather different literary influence for the band’s latest: Jack Kerouac. The new album, “Modern Blues,” streams in its entirety today on Speakeasy.
It’s a rollicking collection of nine robust songs, recorded in Nashville with players including Muscle Shoals bassist David Hood, keyboardist “Brother” Paul Brown and guitarist Zach Ernst, along with Waterboys regulars Steve Wickham on fiddle andRalph Salmins on drums.
Though the Waterboys are known for their Celtic-rock and folk leanings, Scott was interested in a different sensibility for “Modern Blues.” “I wanted an American feel on the music, and so I wanted to not only record in America, but to work with American musicians,” he says by email.
Kerouac, then, is a fitting influence: the Beat author’s 1957 novel “On the Road” has been hailed as a quintessential American novel. Scott first read it when he was 21, and has re-read it several times since. Most recently, he read the version based on the 120-foot scroll of paper that Kerouac used to type the first draft of the book.
“By happy coincidence, my reading of it was just when I began writing songs for ‘Modern Blues,’ and its spirit infuses some of the lyrics, most notably ‘Long Strange Golden Road,’” Scott says.
The 10-minute epic closes “Modern Blues,” which is the Waterboys’ 13th studio album since the band’s 1983 debut, and the follow-up to 2011’s “An Appointment With Mr. Yeats.” Scott has also released a handful of solo albums.
“Modern Blues” is due April 7 in the U.S. on Harlequin and Clown/Kobalt. (The album came out earlier this year in Britain).