New Elton John Album Preview

by Rita Houston
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Elton John is back, folks, with a new record coming this fall called The Diving Board, and I was invited to Electric Lady Studios to hear it. Producer T-Bone Burnett and Bernie Taupin were both there to talk about the making of the album, which has been a few years in the works.

T-Bone first worked with Elton on the Leon Russell project, The Union. He cited the great 11-17-70 live album as an inspiration for this record, which Elton calls "the most piano-oriented album of my career."

In terms of production, T-Bone said he wanted to bring Elton back to basics, with a trio that included Raphael Saadiq on bass and Jay Bellerose on drums; strings and horns were added later. He spoke about the changes in recording afforded by digital technology, explaining that the new process allowed for a much deeper low end than vinyl ever would have — interesting, considering that we usually just hear about the downsides of digital recording. The album does have a beautiful low end, aided I'm sure by the amazing speakers we heard the songs on (ATC for you audiophiles). I wouldn't mind a set of those in my living room.

The album on the whole is a beauty, with a story-like cinematic quality to the songs. Elton is in great voice, and the production is authentic and artistic. The lyrics have weight, and Elton's phrasing is often unpredictable in a good way. There are a few instrumental breaks in the album too.

The album is set for a September release.

Here's the track list:

    Oceans Away
    Oscar Wilde Gets Out
    A Town Called Jubilee
    The Ballad of Blind Tom
    Dream #1 (instrumental)
    My Quicksand
    Can't Stay Alone Tonight
    Voyeur
    Home Again
    Take This Dirty Water
    Dream #2 (instrumental)
    The New Fever Waltz
    Mexican Vacation
    Dream #3 (instrumental)
    The Diving Board
 

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