“He Don’t Live Here No More,” the lead single from Robbie Robertson’s upcoming album, How To Become Clairvoyant, will be serviced to radio this week. “He Don’t Live Here No More” is a riveting firsthand look at the temptations endemic to the rock and roll lifestyle. You can check it out at:
“It was a lifestyle of the time that most of my friends went through. Some came out the other side, and for some, the train ran off the tracks,” recalls the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer. Employing a gut string guitar on the song’s searing solos was just one of the many interesting choices Robertson made during the sessions for How To Become Clairvoyant, which will be released on April 5th.
“A lot of the making of this record was very experimental,” says Robertson, who co-produced the album with long-time collaborator Marius de Vries (Massive Attack, Bjork, Rufus Wainwright). “We were not coloring inside the lines. Musically and lyrically, I went to unexpected places.”
How To Become Clairvoyant – Robertson’s first release in more than 10 years and his Macro-Biotic Records/429 Records debut – is perhaps the most revealing record of his storied career. It features 12 original songs – eight written by Robertson alone, three penned with longtime friend Eric Clapton and the instrumental album closer “Tango for Django,” written with de Vries.
“This is Where I Get Off” marks the first time he’s publicly addressed his decision to leave The Band. As the song suggests, one’s past is inescapable, but it needn’t impede the journey forward:
Everything you leave behind
Catches up in another time
So just pull over
To the side of the road
This is where I get off
This is where I move on
The initial sessions for How To Become Clairvoyant took place in London, where Robertson recorded with Clapton, keyboard legend Steve Winwood, bassist Pino Palladino and drummer Ian Thomas. Midway through, he was tapped by director Martin Scorsese to work on the music for Shutter Island. The break gave him some clarity and, when he resumed recording in Los Angeles, the album became even more guitar-oriented. There he invited a new generation of players to join him on his musical journey – Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine, Audioslave), who guests on “Axman,” and Robert Randolph, who plays pedal steel guitar on the title track and “Straight Down The Line.”
“Robert is extraordinary, a high-wire act,” observes Robertson. “And I was so impressed when Tom performed ‘Tom Joad’ with Bruce Springsteen at the Hall of Fame’s 25th anniversary concert. He gets amazing noises out of his guitar.”
In addition, he asked Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor to collaborate on the cinematic soundscape “Madame X.” “Trent has musical instincts that are unpredictable and haunting,” notes Robertson. Vocalists Angela McCluskey, Rocco Deluca, Dana Glover and Taylor Goldsmith (Dawes) are also featured on the album. With an eye on the rear view mirror, Robertson forges ahead, fusing the contemporary and the classic to create his most personal work yet – How To Become Clairvoyant.
The track listing for How to Become Clairvoyant is as follows:
Straight Down The Line
When The Night Was Young
He Don’t Live Here No More
The Right Mistake
This Is Where I Get Off
Fear of Falling
She’s Not Mine
Won’t Be Back
How To Become Clairvoyant
Tango For Django
The Japanese edition will feature a bonus demo of “Won’t Be Back” with Eric Clapton.
The CD will also be available as a deluxe double disc package featuring intimate demos with Eric Clapton: The Right Mistake (Demo Version); He Don’t Live Here No More (Demo Version); Fear Of Falling (Demo Version); This Is Where I Get Off (Demo Version); Madame X (Demo Version) and Houdini (Demo Version).
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