Thursday, July 25, 2019

A long-awaited return to music from Robbie Robertson in September

Inspired by his decades of creating and composing music for film and filled with songs exploring the darker corridors of human nature, Robbie Robertson’s new solo album Sinematic is set for release on Sept. 20 via UMe.

Available now for preorder on CD, digital and 180-gram 2LP, a Deluxe Edition, limited to 1000 copies, follows on Oct. 25. The Deluxe Edition presents the album on CD and 180-gram 2LP vinyl with a 36-page hardcover book featuring custom artwork Robertson has created for each track. The 13-song self-produced collection is Robertson’s first new studio album since 2011’s How To Become Clairvoyant.

For his new album, Robertson drew inspiration from his recent film score writing and recording for director Martin Scorsese’s organized crime epic “The Irishman,” as well as the forthcoming feature documentary film, “Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band,” based on his 2016 New York Times bestselling memoir “Testimony.” The documentary will celebrate its world premiere on Sept. 5 as the Opening Night Gala Presentation for the 44th Toronto International Film Festival.

Opening track “I Hear You Paint Houses” is available now for streaming and as an instant grat download with digital album preorder. Drawn from Scorsese’s film and the book it’s based on, Charles Brandt’s “I Heard You Paint Houses” about confessed hit man Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, the song is a duet with Van Morrison.

Preorder Sinematic and listen to “I Hear You Paint Houses”:

“I was working on music for ‘The Irishman’ and working on the documentary, and these things were bleeding into each other,” says Robertson of the impetus for Sinematic. “I could see a path. Ideas for songs about haunting and violent and beautiful things were swirling together like a movie. You follow that sound and it all starts to take shape right in front of your ears. At some point, I started referring to it as ‘Peckinpah Rock’,” a nod, Robertson says, to Sam Peckinpah, the late director of such violent Westerns as “The Wild Bunch.”

He was mostly assisted in the studio by bassist Pino Palladino (John Mayer Trio, The Who), drummer Chris Dave (D’Angelo, Adele), and keyboardist Martin Pradler, who also mixed the record. The band is rounded out with Afie Jurvanen, who provides guitar and backing vocals, along with vocalist Felicity Williams, a regular collaborator with Jurvanen in his band Bahamas.

Robertson is also joined on the album by special guest vocalists Van Morrison, Glen Hansard, Citizen Cope, J.S. Ondara, and Laura Satterfield; musicians Jim Keltner, Derek Trucks, Frédéric Yonnet, and Doyle Bramhall II; and producer Howie B who provides electronic textures on several tracks.

Throughout the album, Robertson takes listeners through a colorful tour of society’s seedy underbelly. “Shanghai Blues” is a vivid saga examining China’s notorious Green Gang mobster Du Yuesheng, who dominated opium, gambling and prostitution operations in the early 20th century. More crime and mystery unfold in the moody “Street Serenade,” which Robertson calls a “sinphony.” The edgy, electronic “The Shadow” is a nostalgic homage to Orson Welles’ entrancing radio crime drama.

While many of the songs on Sinematic focus on sinful themes far removed from Robertson, he draws from his own life story for the track “Once Were Brothers,” a reflection on The Band, written for the new documentary of the same name. Robertson is joined on the track by Nairobi native J.S. Ondara and American singer/songwriter Citizen Cope. 

Of the song, Robertson says, “There is war and conflict involved. Writing it hurt inside sometimes, but those experiences can be rewarding in the emotional outcome. It hurt but I loved it.”

Enhancing Sinematic’s film noir thrust is a suite of multimedia images that Robertson created, including artwork for the cover and each individual song. The art is included in the Standard Edition’s CD and LP booklet and presented even more elegantly in the Deluxe Edition’s lavish 12”x12” casebound hardcover book.

For fans who would like to own a piece of the artwork, four images – the Sinematic album cover, “Beautiful Madness,” “Shanghai Blues,” and “Walk In Beauty Way” – are being made available for purchase as archival-quality, framed canvas prints in a limited run of 100 for each. Ten canvas prints of the album’s cover art will be signed by Robertson with proceeds benefiting the American Indian College Fund. To view and order the images,visit:

As Robertson prepares to release his sixth solo album, The Band’s iconic self-titled sophomore LP will turn 50 just a few days later (plans to celebrate the anniversary will be announced soon).

Track listing:

1. I Hear You Paint Houses
2. Once Were Brothers
3. Dead End Kid
4. Hardwired
5. Walk In Beauty Way
6. Let Love Reign
7. Shanghai Blues
8. Wandering Souls
9. Street Serenade
10. The Shadow
11. Beautiful Madness
12. Praying For Rain
13. Remembrance

No comments: