Pop Culture

Solomon Burke goes country on new album

Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton, Gillian Welch and Patty Griffin have contributed to Solomon Burke's upcoming album, the soul heavyweight's first full-length country effort. The as-yet untitled set is due September 26 via Shout! Factory.

Burke teamed with producer Buddy Miller to record 16 tracks at Miller's Nashville home, 12 of which will make the final cut.

"I've always wanted to do a country album, even since the '60s, so this is kind of like turning back the hands of time," Burke told Billboard.com "I didn't want to do a record like this in L.A., I wanted to come (to Nashville) and find the real deal."

While the disc will touch on some traditional country covers, there will be "a few" originals, including a track penned by Welch.

"I feel like I've been at the university of country music," Burke said. "I'm just so proud and so grateful for what we've done here and all the guests helping out have been so good to me. This is the most exciting thing I've done in the 51-year history of my career."

Burke hopes both the medium and message will reach out to new listeners as well as his existing fanbase.

"We're in the middle of wars. We go through hurricanes and the minds of our country's leadership have to be turned around," he said. "It's time we face a new life and new time, to understand the precious moments of love and tenderness. We're losing our world and I've got a message. Plus, it's just plain fun."

Burke plans on incorporating more country songs into his live shows, which often feature as many as 14 musicians on stage. "We're going to back the horns down a bit, maybe do a little square dancing," he joked.

The preacher/entrepreneur released his last album, "Make Do With What You Got" last March. It was the follow-up to his Grammy-winning 2002 Shout! Factory debut "Don't Give Up On Me."

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