Kinks Legend Ray Davies to Release New Solo Album
Ray Davies is set to release his first new solo album in nearly a decade. Titled Americana, and based around the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s recent memoir, the record is described as an “autobiographical work” that chronicles the impact America has had on Davies’ life.
“From his earliest days touring the U.S. with the Kinks and subsequent blacklisting by the American Musicians Union, to his years playing stadiums and eventually staying in New York and New Orleans for a time, America has served as both muse and tempest to Davies,” reads an official press release.
Fittingly, the acclaimed singer-songwriter enlisted Minnesota-based group the Jayhawks as his backing band while recording the LP. Ironically, however, sessions took place in London – specifically at Konk, the studio founded by the Kinks in 1973. Written, conceived and arranged by Davies, the album also features spoken-word passages lifted from Davies’ memoir. A second volume of Americana is promised for later this year.
Completing Americana has clearly been a challenge for Davies. Word of the project first came to light three years ago, and indeed back in December 2015, the singer told Billboard – mistakenly, it turned out — that the record was “coming soon.” Speaking with Mojo around that same time, Davies described the effort as “the biggest record project I’ve ever attempted … a real challenge. You adapt books into films and stage plays, but it’s very unusual to adapt a book into a record.”
Slated for release on April 21, Americana comes in the midst of an eventful period for Davies. Queen Elizabeth recently honored the singer with knighthood for his services to the Arts. “Initially I felt a mixture of surprise, humility, joy and a bit embarrassed,” he said, in the wake of receiving the honor. “But after thinking about it, I accept this for my family and fans as well as everyone who has inspired me to write.”
A preview of Americana, via a song titled “Poetry,” is available for streaming at the NPR Music website.