The next studio album by Paul McCartney will be released on February 7 on Hear Music/Concord Records. The catch is that the album -- which is still untitled -- will be McCartney's tribute to the standards he grew up listening to. It also will feature two new original songs, which was the formula for his last album of covers, 1999's Run Devil Run.
The album is produced by Tommy LiPuma and features Diana Krall and her band, plus appearances by Eric Clapton, who appeared on McCartney's "Freedom" single in 2001, and Stevie Wonder, who appeared on McCartney's Tug of War album in 1982.
The new album will be "a deeply personal journey through classic American compositions," according to a news release. McCartney has been considering making this album for more than 20 years.
"In the end it was, 'Look, if I don't do it now, I'll never do it,'" he said.
McCartney added that it's about time "the songs me and John based quite a few of our things on" received the recognition they deserve. When I kind of got into songwriting, I realized how well structured these songs were, and I think I took a lot of my lessons from them. I always thought artists like Fred Astaire were very cool. Writers like Harold Arlen, Cole Porter, all of those guys - I just thought the songs were magical. And then, as I got to be a songwriter I thought it's beautiful, the way they made those song'."
In the studio, the recording of this album was also a new challenge for McCartney, who, for the first time ever, performed exclusively in the vocal booth without no instrument - no guitar, no bass, no piano.
"It was very spontaneous, kind of organic, which then reminded me of the way we'd work with The Beatles," he said. "We'd bring a song in, kick it around, when we found a way to do it we'd say, 'OK, let's do a take now,' and by the time everyone kind of had an idea of what they were doing, we'd learnt the song. So that's what we did, we did the take live in the studio."
"It was important for me to keep away from the more obvious song choices so, many of the classic standards will be unfamiliar to some people. I hope they are in for a pleasant surprise."
The album was recorded at Capitol Studios in Los Angeles, New York and London throughout 2011. The track "My Valentine' will be streamed on paulmccartney.com to premium members for 24 hours on December 19. A full tracklisting to be announced soon.