Earlier this week (Feb. 12) in New York City, a small group of journalists were invited to the Iridium Jazz Club for a listening session of John Fogerty‘s upcoming album, Wrote A Song For Everyone, hosted by the man himself.
MTV’s Bill Flanagan interviewed Fogerty about each track on the album; each segment was followed by the song being played.
As previously reported, Wrote A Song For Everyone sees Fogerty revisiting his solo and (mainly) Creedence Clearwater Revival catalog, and it features guest spots from many prominent musician. Several country artists are among them, including Keith Urban, Miranda Lambert, Brad Paisley, Alan Jackson, and the Zac Brown Band.
The listening event lasted about three hours, so we figured we’d break it down for you. Here are five things we learned:
1) Fogerty originally thought Keith Urban was an “urban” artist
Keith Urban plays on an update of Fogerty’s solo classic, “Almost Saturday Night,” but he and Fogerty had worked together years before. Flanagan originally got the two of them together for a 2005 episode of CMT’s Crossroads. Flanagan reminded Fogerty that he had to suggest the idea a couple of times; Fogerty recalls asking “Keith who?” and then mistook him for being an R&B artist due to his name. His wife Julie is a fan of Urban’s, although their kids make fun of her for that. Another fun fact: their kids, Shane and Tyler (who play on “Lodi”) have their own band called Hardy Har.
2) Miranda Lambert asked for Tom Morello, but not by name
The country singer joined Fogerty on the title track, and while listening to the song after recording her own vocals, she noticed that this new version didn’t feature the guitar solo that was on the original Creedence version. She just uttered, “Face-melting guitar solo.” Fogerty noted that a “face-melting guitar solo” wasn’t what he had in mind when he recorded the track: on the original, the solo is rather laid back. But for this new version, he decided to go with Lambert’s off-hand suggestion. He didn’t like any of the solos he came up with, so he decided to go to the man who specializes in the art of melting faces: former Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello. The two met when they accompanied Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band at the 2009 concert celebrating the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame’s 25th anniversary. He texted his request to Morello, who immediately responded, “Where? When?”
3) If you work with My Morning Jacket, budget your time accordingly
He had one day to record “Long As I Can See The Light” with the Kentucky group. “They’re kind of a ‘jam band,'” Fogerty sheepishly noted, mentioning that it took them five hours just to set up before they began playing. The result proved to be worth it: “Long As I Can See The Light” was a perfect fit.
4) When he first heard Bob Seger’s cover of “Fortunate Son,” he thought it was a Creedence Clearwater Revival recording
Fogerty noted his past issues with CCR’s record label Fantasy Records a few times during the night. When he started talking about Bob Seger, who collaborates on “Who’ll Stop The Rain,” he thought it was Fantasy exploiting his band’s back catalog (again). But he later told Seger it was “Better than the original.” For “Who’ll Stop The Rain,” Seger put in a small lyric change, switching “Good men through the ages” to “Goodness through the ages,” because he didn’t want it to be sexist. Fogerty joked with the audience that his original intention was not to exclude women.
5) Fogerty could have a great book tour in his future
He’s releasing his memoirs in 2014, and should he decide to do so, he could do a one man show promoting the book, if yesterday’s event is any indication. Before he and Flanagan walked onto the stage, a slideshow narrated by Fogerty detailed his experience in the late ’60s being in the Army Reserve during the Vietnam war. The legendary singer also has a great speaking voice, and spins a great yarn, so to speak. At the end of the show, he strapped on his black Gibson Les Paul for a furious solo take through “Fortunate Son” — one of the many songs inspired by that conflict. It’s easy to imagine Fogerty doing a multi-media show complete with passage reading, solo performances and short films.
Wrote A Song For Everyone, which also features the Foo Fighters, Kid Rock, Dawes, Jennifer Hudson, Allen Toussaint, and the Rebirth Brass Band, is out May 28.
— Brian Ives, Radio.com