Yesterday marked the 40-year anniversary from Elton John’s very first US debut, in concert in Los Angeles, fresh off the plane from London. While a momentous anniversary, Elton John has confirmed that he is in no way slowing down the pace of his career now. Collaborating under the production of long-time friend Bernie T Bone Burnett with one of his biggest inspirations, Leon Russell, the duo will be releasing an album, titled The Union, scheduled for release in mid-October. The album features fifteen original songs written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin, together with Leon Russell. Taupin states, “They… cut fifteen songs ranging from Stones-like rockers, country tinged ballads, gospel and even a Sinatra like weepy [track].” Set for release on October 25, The Union marks the culmination of a mutual musical adoration that began in the late 1960s, before Elton’s debut US performance in 1970 at The Troubadour Club in Los Angeles.
The opener and single from The Union, Elton and Leon Russell’s new album, is now available for download as of yesterday. “If It Wasn’t For Bad”, the first track on the album, written by Leon Russell, features vocals by Elton and Leon Russell, and an impressive cast of musicians including Jim Keltner on drums and Booker T. Jones on organ. Recorded in LA earlier this year, The Union features guest musicians including Brian Wilson, Booker T, Don Was and Neil Young. Cameron Crowe has filmed the sessions for a documentary; simultaneously creating a moment of history as the first time that Elton’s progress has been recorded on film. Critics who have had an early preview of the album are united in praise for the work that Elton has described as a “Seventies record with a modern feel.”
The two will hit the stage on the upcoming tour with their own bands, which includes guitarist Davey Johnstone, bassist Bob Birch, percussionist John Mahon, keyboardist Kim Bullard and drummer Nigel Olsson for Elton with bassist Jack Wessel, guitarist Chris Simmons, drummer Brandon Holder and guitarist Beau Charron supporting Russell. So far the tour only consists of two fall 2010 dates, October 19th at the Beacon Theatre in NYC and November 3rd at the Palladium in Hollywood, CA, but chances are as the release of highly anticipated Union approaches, additional dates will unravel.