The Seger File
An unofficial web site about the music of Bob Seger
Updated November 24, 2006
Written and edited by Scott Sparling
sparling@segerfile.com

The Full Contents
Search the Seger File
The 2011 Tour Page
 

Latest News and Updates

 
FACE THE PROMISE
 
2010 Updates
2009 Updates
2008 Updates
2007 Updates (Jan -July)
2006 Updates (Jan-Sept)
2006 Updates (Oct-Dec.)
2005 Updates
2004 Updates
2003 Updates (July-Dec)
2003 Updates (Jan-June)
2002 Updates
2001 Updates
1998-2000 Updates
 
 
Nine Years Online
The Seger File's Birthday Party
 
Unreleased Tracks
Vault V
10 more unreleased tracks
 
Vault 4
16 more unreleased tracks
 
Forward Into the Vault --
26 more unreleased tracks
 
Return to the Vault -- 18 More Unreleased Tracks
 
The Vault --31 Unreleased Tracks
 
Recorded but Unreleased --Unreleased Seger from A-Z
 
Photos
Photos 1Photos 2
 
Photos 3Photos 4
 
Hall of Fame Photos
 
Settle Annex
A collection of great Seger photos
 
Misc.
Dylan's "Denver"
 
The Albums
Ramblin' Gamblin' Man
Noah
Mongrel
Brand New Morning
Smokin' O.P.'s
Back in '72
Seven
Beautiful Loser
Live Bullet
Night Moves
Stranger in Town
Against the Wind
Nine Tonight
The Distance
Like A Rock
The Fire Inside
Bob Seger's Greatest Hits
It's A Mystery
Greatest Hits 2
Face the Promise
 
Other Albums
The Promised Live Album
The Promised Studio Album
Seger on the Edge
The Bob Seger Collection --(Australian Greatest Hits)
Seger Classics
A Very Special Christmas,1987
Other Album Appearances
The Seger Tribute Album
Sing Your Own Seger
Perfect Albums?
 
Selected Singles
Check the Label
Who Picks the Singles?
Early Singles
The Lonely One
TGIF/First Girl
Ballad of the Yellow Beret
East Side Story
Persecution Smith
Sock It To Me, Santa
Vagrant Winter/Very Few
Heavy Music
2+2=?/Death Row
Ramblin' Gamblin' Man
Looking Back
If I Were A Carpenter
Bombs Away
Understanding
Chances Are
My Take on Chances Are
Reaching Number One
 
Other Seger Tracks
Released on Singles, But Not on Albums
Covered by Others
Written By Seger, Recorded by Others
 
Videos
Night Moves (SNL)
Making Thunderbirds
Old Time Rock and Roll
American Storm
Like a Rock
Shakedown
Real Love
Fire Inside
Night Moves (New)
Turn the Page
It's A Mystery
Chances Are
Ten for Two
The Cobo Hall Tapes
The Palace Tapes
 
Influences/Other Bands
Soundtracks
 
TV Appearances
 
Like a Truck
Who Does the Song Belong To?
Ancient History Dept.
How Seger Sees Rock/Truck
Singer or Salesman?
Gatsby, Seger and Victory
The Mystery Man
How the Song Became An Ad
Good Song, Great Ad?
Bad Press, Bad Precedent
Through the Lean Years
Bob's View
Insults and Dead Horses
Fix Or Repair Daily
 
The Early Years
Early Days
Motor City's Burning
Places He Played
Jackson
More Dues-Paying Years
 
Career, Misc.
Lead Singer Vs. Guitar Player
The Slow Road to Success
The Requisites of Greatness
Theories: Why It Took So Long
"You Are Now Leaving Seger Territory"
Punch
Breaking Out
What Is Success?
 
Bands
Early Bands
The Decibels
The Town Criers
The Omens
Democracy Rocks
Later Bands
Bob Seger and the Last Heard
The Bob Seger System
STK
Julia/My Band/Borneo Band
Muscle Shoals band
The Silver Bullet Band
Back-up Systems
Shaun Murphy
Karen Newman
Related Bands
Detroit All-Stars
Alto Reed
 
Blue Highway (Drew Abbott)
 
Bio, Part 1
Detroit? Ann Arbor?
We Even Sang the Parts the Instruments Were Playing
A Father Leaves
Fire and the Memory of Love
All the Wild, Wild Good Times
Personality
Interests and Hobbies
Predicting the Future, Then and Now
 
Bio, Part 2
On Growing Older
Politics
The Seger Work Ethic
You Can't Miss That Driving Rain
Friends and Family
Let's Dig Up Something Really Nasty
Katmandu
I'm Gonna Tell My Tale, C'mon
Of Caves and Barbed Wire
Misc.
 
Songwriting
 
Early Tours and Shows
The Oakland Mall
Jackson
The Primo, R&R Farm, Suds Factory and Chances Are
The Agora
On the Road
Jackson County Fair
Pontiac, the Michigan Jam and Other Victories
Seger in the Arena
The 1983 Tour
 
The 1986-87 Tour
The Last Tour?
They'll Never Be in The Arena, But They Get to Write the Reviews
Savannah
Charlotte
Philadelphia
Oakland
Miami
San Francisco
Seattle
Houston
New York
Los Angeles
Vancouver (Canada)
Greensboro
 
The 1996 Tour
The Set List Discussed
The Set List Presented
The Set List Analyzed
Bringing the Family
Tour Notes
Thirsty for Seger
A Review of the Reviews
Charleston
Nashville
Palace of Auburn Hills
Washington
L.A.
 
The 2006-07 Tour Pages
 
Readin' O.P.'s
A compilation of e-mail messages. Some favorite are:
-- Hope to see you tonight
-- Motor City Rock
-- The FargoDome
-- The 7-Eleven and the Winter Olympics
-- He gave me a strange look
-- Now that we're older
 
 
Brand New Email
More great letters.
-- Seger, Sinatra, Cobain
-- My Dad, Bob and Charlie Martin
-- I work for General Motors
-- Seger and Mohammad Ali
-- The last thing I hear from Bob Seger
-- Road trip to Ann Arbor
-- I never spoke to Bob, but he always spoke to me
 
 
Brand New Email Pt. II
-- Bob at the Roseland Inn
-- Seger interview
-- Backstage with a bad pass
-- Put the car in park
-- Starry August nights
-- Cool me down
-- The bridge from Motown
-- The Seger-starved masses plead for tour news
-- The Kiss File?
 
Seger Stories and Misc. Email
--The best thing you could say
--Blue and Julia  
--Rockin' with Fidel  
--Early days of baseball and Bob
--Follow your heart  
--Waving with the lighter
 
Email '05
--About Drew Abbott
--On 2+2
--On "The Lonely One"
--About Tom Neme
--About Charlie Martin
--Shows
--The Toledo Jam
--About Pep Perrine
--About Jim Bruzzese
--Early days
--Fans
--Early songs
 
Falsehoods
Seger Inks SimTour Deal, Gets Ready to Rock
Capitol Releases "Dee-Pah!
The Seger Cam is back online
The Michigan Jam 2
The Seger versus. SpringsteenComplexo-Meter
The Medicated Top 20
 
Misc.
Reese: Money for Music
Get Back to Work
A guide to surfing The Seger File at work.
The Primo Photo
The Rolling Stone Letter
The Imaginary Interview
Why the Seger File Is Here -- Getting Over Bob Seger
Face the Promise
Bob Seger's 16th Studio Album
Released September 12, 2006


The Seger File Reviews

Many Seger File readers have shared their reviews of Face the Promise. Here's the first batch. I'll add more as I have time.

Just Added -- "We've Got Seger Back: We Sure Do Need Him." -- by Fontaine Brown (formerly Doug Brown, of Doug Brown and the Omens).

After 10 years off the scene, an artist needs to drop something that shows he can still do it.  This one completely reestablishes Bob as the Big Chief of the Nothern Lands.  It's a feast for old Seger fans (like me) and a peek at some possible new roads in the old territory...read more.

A freight train coming, and Seger's driving! -- by Bill Wolski

"I bought my first copy over iTunes, because I couldn't wait the 15 minutes it would have taken me to get to the store.  Then, once I finished listening to it, I stopped by the store to get a real copy. God, how I've missed that sound."...read more.

"Enjoy This to the Marrow..." -- by Sean from Iowa

I was born the week "Back in '72" was released. First week of 1973. I guess I first "discovered" Seger when we had "Stranger in Town" on 8-track upon its release in '78, and we played it pretty regularly for months...read more.

The Crown Jewel -- by Chip Stewart

Just one word.... WOW. No wait...a few other thoughts too. Maybe I'm over reacting but this just hits me as a defining album...one that is the crown jewel of a great artist's career...read more.

Not Quite a Bullet -- by Randy Cepuch

Here's my attempt at a balanced review of Face the Promise. I'd give the album a "B" overall. It's better than most Seger albums but not up to, say, Live Bullet or Beautiful Loser...read more.

Lives Up to the Seger Promise -- by Gord Hunter

Bob Seger on a Harley. Threatening skies and wheat fields rolling off to the horizon. It's an iconic image that encompasses everything we think we know about the man. He's the heartland's storyteller. He's the blue collar, Midwest rebel. 25 years later he's still charging against the wind...read more.

Wisdom and Introspection -- by Marty Carlisle 

An album of wisdom and introspection...Only one complaint:  There are no fluid moments on this record where Seger holds his listeners spellbound...read more.

Sounding Better than Ever -- by Ron Olson

Wait For Me while I try to catch up...I'm now listening to Face The Promise for the third time.  Can't get enough...read more.

Worth the Wait -- by Scott Cohen

Eleven years. I have waited eleven years for Bob Seger to release new material. I still remember buying his last CD, "It's a Mystery" on cassette...read more.

An Amazing Album -- by Allen Dodge

It is such an amazing album... I think what most of the songs say to me is that Seger is getting back to his roots...read more.

Listening All Night -- by Mark Morris

So I sat here all night, listening to the album over and over again, posting my brief reviews of each song over on the Segernet site....read more.

Wreck these Speakers -- by Scott Sparling

The Phase-Techs in the living room are history. Damn it, Bob. I really loved those speakers. I guess I love your new CD more.

Face the Promise is loud, passionate, smart, rocking, and intimate. It does what a Seger album should do -- it shows his amazing breadth as a songwriter, musician and performer. And it does was a great album must do -- it goes straight into your chest and your feet and your heart, and stays there...read more.

 WARNING: The music you are about
to enjoy is extremely hot.

October 1, 2006 


Seger on FTP

Seger took the Detroit Free Press on a track by track tour of Face the Promise. Here's what he said:

Seger, Track by Track
by Brian McCollum
Detroit Free Press
September 12, 2006

Writing and rewriting, tweaking and tinkering down to the wire, Bob Seger spent a decade on his latest album.

Today marks the release of "Face the Promise," a 12-song effort recorded in Nashville and near Clarkston with longtime engineer David Cole of Los Angeles.

"It's real easy to get snowblind working on a group of songs for that long," says Cole. "My hat's off to Bob for staying the course, and pushing himself as an artist."

Seger and Cole sat down with the Free Press to break down the tracks.

1. "Wreck This Heart"

Seger: "It's about the balance of family and work. I was banging along on an electric guitar and started singing 'Wreck this Heart' to the chords and said, 'Oh, wow, is that cool.' And that's how it happens: I'll sing 200 times and not get anything. Then on 201 I'll sing something cool and, boom, I've got a song."

Cole: "I'm excited there's so much rock on this album. Fans will gravitate toward those songs."

2. "Wait for Me"

Cole: "I know they made a video that showcases a younger Bob kind of guy on a motorcycle with the beautiful girl. It's the director's interpretation of that song, and invokes the heartland, and hopefully captures some broader audience for him. But when Bob explained the song to me, it's really a message to his kids."

Seger: "I don't think anybody got it. In my mind, you've got to have the discipline to allow your kids to make their own mistakes. ... Sometimes I've got to get away, but I'll always come back."

3. "Face the Promise"

Seger: "It's about kids from small towns looking at the big American dream: 'I'm gonna go out and face the promise of the promised land. I want to get to the big city and get off this farm.' ... A pretty swampy, rock-blues song. I really like it."

Cole: "One of the songs that's been around for the duration of this process. Another barnburner."

4. "No Matter Who You Are"

Seger: "There was a song by Joni Mitchell called 'Dog Eat Dog' that inspired 'No Matter Who You Are.' She's singing about an artist who comes out and has this special, unique thing, as all artists do. And then after maybe one or two hits, the record company says, 'Now keep writing 'em like that.' That's it in a nutshell: You have to guard your special, pure thing and cherish it."

5. "Are You"

Seger: " 'Are You' is about rampant commercialism, and how we're inundated with it."

Cole: "This has some of the best drum work. I love what Steve Brewster brought to it. It was a tough song for him to wrap his head around. Bob had this idea for a particular beat. He had demo'd it at home with a drum machine. You can do anything you want with a drum machine, but when it comes time for a real person to do it, it can be really difficult. But he nailed it.

"Obviously you see a lot of Nashville musicians on this record. Bob likes working in Nashville. You call these cats, and they're just thrilled to come in and play on a Bob Seger record."

6. "Simplicity"

Seger: "Keep things simple. Again, it's advice to my kids: The fundamentals will get you through. Be a good listener if you wanna be a good friend. Little things like that."

Cole: "Normally people record a few instruments at a time, but Bob said, 'No, I want to do this as a full band like the old Phil Spector records.' A full horn section, keyboards, guitars, percussion, drums, and Bob singing live -- we had the whole thing going at once."

7. "No More"

Seger: " 'No More' is about the Iraq war. I don't know if we stay there any longer that it's going to get any better. The troops have done a fantastic job. ... But what's going to change in the next five years if we come home right now?"

8. "Real Mean Bottle" (with Kid Rock)

Cole: "He's got the mutual admiration society with Kid Rock -- they're buddies, they share a manager, their kids play together. When he said to Kid, 'Hey, do you want to do this Vince Gill song?' Kid dropped everything and said, 'When?!'

"He came in and said, 'Man, we've got to rock this thing.' He started singing it at double speed with all this attitude. Bob's eyes lit up. It really came together on the spot."

9. "Won't Stop"

Seger: " 'Won't Stop' is about addiction. And I think it goes nice with 'Real Mean Bottle,' actually. We were kind of making fun of drinking, and all that, but then I wanted a serious song about addiction -- like, 'I don't condone this.' "

Cole: "He said, 'You know, I think this should be really sparse, just guitar and voice.' ... I said, 'We should bring in this guy Eric Darken to do percussion -- he might have an idea for a tambourine or shaker part, something simple.' He's down in Nashville, we're in Detroit. I sent him a file over the Internet and had him play on it and send it back to us."

10. "Between"

Seger: "I think my favorite song on the record is 'Between.' I just love the groove. I love the way I sang it, I love the way they played it, I love the way the girls sang it. And it says exactly what I wanted to say."

11. "The Answer's in the Question" (with Patty Loveless)

Seger: "I thought, what a cool idea for a song: The answer is in the question. 'Will you be home late again?' OK, if you ask somebody that, there's something wrong."

Cole: "When he wrote that song, he said, 'You know, I can hear this as a duet. It would be cool to have the male and female perspective on the lyric.' He said his first choice would be to sing with Patty Loveless, because he's such a fan of hers. He wasn't sure she'd want to do it."

Seger: "I called her up and said, 'Now, trust me -- it's not a hit.' "

Cole: "She just gushed and responded, 'I'm you're biggest fan -- what are you talking about?!' "

12. "The Long Goodbye"

Cole: "When I heard it, I really was attracted to the melody and the simplicity of the arrangement, and I didn't really understand what the lyric was all about. I had a sense of it, but didn't really get it. And Bob explained it to me."

Seger: "It's about Alzheimer's disease. I dealt with that with my aunt, after my mother died. And now, my wife is dealing with it with her father. So it became fresh again.

"I was just folk-picking one day on a guitar, doing all these strange chords. That song has more chords in it than any other song on the record. There's like four chords for three words at times. So it's a very complicated chord structure, and I just really loved it. So I thought, 'What am I going to sing to this?' And I came up with 'The Long Goodbye.' "

Seger listening to Face the Promise.

September 13, 2006


From the Vault to the CD -- Comparing Tracks

I was lucky enough to hear six of the CD tracks (counting "Red Eye to Memphis') in the Vault over the years. Here are the original write-ups, reprinted from those trips. How close did I come to describing them right?

Wreck This Heart

This track sounds exactly the same as the version E2 and I heard in the Vault. Here's how I described it back then:

Judging only by the lyrics, you might think "Wreck This Heart" was a sorrowful kind of song. There are dark clouds, a cold wind and maybe a little self-doubt. But the music and the vocals are as boisterous and upbeat as anything Seger's done in recent memory. Dark clouds or not, "Wreck This Heart" is an arena shaker. Or as E2 put it, "Mr. Jagger, call your office: We've found the long-lost Sticky Fingers outtake!"

Indeed, the song breaks out of the gate with a big guitar fanfare worthy of the Stones (though I got more of a "Money for Nothing," vibe from it, which in turn came from the Stones, I suppose). Anyway, you get the picture. Big, chopping git-box chords and a bass-drum/snare-drum beat that orders everyone to their feet. I feel pretty sure "Wreck This Heart" will be on Seger's next CD. When I look at the credits, I'll be checking to see if Joe Walsh is listed -- or someone carrying on the Walsh sound.

As the big intro builds, Seger lets out an energetic "Hut! Hut!" and then the vocals come in -- fast, loud and confident. On paper (or on your monitor) the lyrics don't really convey the energy. Think "Lock and Load" but uptempo, with a lot more voltage and a lot more fun.

I feel a cold wind blowing all over me
I see the dark clouds starting to form
The trees are bare, the grass is brown
Another early winter Michigan storm
Everything I do is just a little wrong
Every day for me is the same
Everyone I know is getting in my face
And I've only got myself to blame
I think I'm gonna
Wreck this heart
Wreck this heart
Wreck this heart
After a while

The second verse veers toward country music territory. Seger sings of problems with his boss, his wife, of having bills to pay, of missing his dog. Hey, just throw in a truck that doesn't start and you've got a song that Tim McGraw would kill for.

The bridge gives us the first "wishing well" reference of this vault visit, as the guitar takes off, screaming:

There's time to work, time to live
There's only so much time around
And if you lean too far over the wishing well
You might fall in and drown

There's also a classic Seger lyric in the last verse: "Order me a case of your southern soul and let me out tonight. I need a good long ride on your rodeo and everything will be alright."

Turn it up. "Wreck This Heart" will rock your world.

One of the few pictures ever taken in The Vault

July 27, 2005

Wait For Me

The released version is essentially the same as the Vault version. I don't remember the synthesized strings, but they might have been there.

"Wait For Me" is in a familiar genre: it's a mid-tempo Seger medium ala "Still The Same," "Understanding," "The Real Love," "By The River," etc., etc.

I can imagine someone thinking that we've got enough Seger mediums as it is. But "Wait For Me" is so dead-center perfect that Ears 2 and I instantly fell under its sway. This has got to be the next single. FM radio has ignored Seger's last two albums. I don't see how they can ignore "Wait For Me." It's infectious, earnest, upbeat, real, full of yearning…all those things that make a great Seger song.

Musically, it's most closely related to "Against the Wind." There are chord changes, particularly as the song enters the bridge, that bring to mind ATW. But you have to listen for the similarity -- these are clearly two distinct songs.

The lyrics give us a travelin' man who has to answer the call of the wild, but who also believes in love.

I will answer the wind
I will leave with the tide
I'll be out on the road
Every chance I can ride.
 
No matter how far,
No matter how free
I'll be along, if you'll wait for me.

The bridge describes a free-spirited rebellion against routine. In "Travelin' Man," women came and women went, "every one trying to cage me." Here, Seger's heart is pledged to one woman…but he's not staying home, even if she doesn't understand why, no matter who tries to talk him out of it.

And I'll fight for the right to go over that hill
If it only means something to me.
I will not be persuaded, I won't be still
I'll find a way to be free-eee.

The line "I'll fight for the right" might remind you of "moving eight miles a minute." And you can hear the Eagles sound that informed much of ATW. But neither influence detracts or distracts.

The last verse cements the pledge: "Straight to your side, I guarantee…if you'll wait for me," followed by repeated choruses of "Wait for me."

This isn't new ground, but it's rock solid with a great melody and great vocals. What more could you want? "Wait For Me" is pure Seger. I can't wait to hear it again.

June 27, 2005

Face The Promise

The sound of the released version is basically the same as what I heard in the Vault -- though the Vault track had an extra verse, just before the bridge:

I've seen too many lakes
Too many trees
I'm tired of these towns
I'm down on my knees
So long, Minnesota,
So long, Winterland.
I need to face the promise
Of the promised land.
 
Here's the original Vault write-up:
I listened to "Face the Promise" last because I suspected it might be special: In interviews last year, Seger said the new CD might be titled Face the Promise. Album titles can change, but at least at one point Seger thought of "Face the Promise" as important enough to be the title track. What would it be like?

The answer is: Masterful. Driving. Modern.

The song establishes itself instantly. "I've been down in the delta," Seger sings, and a snaky, powerful lead guitar immediately answers the line, replicating the rhythm of the words. Seger and the guitar trade lines like this throughout the song.

For every new or unreleased track I heard, I tried to think of an existing Seger song that was similar. "Face the Promise" is the only one that seems to have no obvious antecedent. The back-up singers sound just as they do on "Rite of Passage," except they are used more sparingly and to better effect, and Seger's voice is prominent in the mix. What brought me to my feet, though, is how new this sounds. This is not Seger doing another version of something we've already heard. This is Seger taking us someplace new, and with authority.

You hear it in the music and you hear it in the vocals. If you could measure commitment on a scale of one to ten -- where one is Phoning It In and ten is Straight from the Gut -- this track would be up in the high teens. In film, you hear people talk about an actor completely inhabiting a character. Seger completely inhabits this song. The guitar-driven music cooks and Seger bites into every line, but it's not a shouter -- Seger mixes restraint and urgency beautifully. The vocal quality is similar to Seger's voice in 16 Shells from a 30-6. The bottom line is that he feels it, and he makes you feel it.

Maybe that's because the song seems built around an urgent seeking. He sings about needing a world of changes:

I've been down in the delta
Workin' these fields
Breakin' my back
I need a better deal.
So long Mississippi
So long Alabam'
I need to face the promise
Of the promised land...
 
I need a world of changes
I need a brand new space
I need an El Dorado
There's gotta be some place.
 
There's a line inside
I think I've crossed
You better watch out now
I'm gonna be my own boss.
So long North Dakota
You must understand
I need to face the promise
Of the promised land.
In the bridge, when Seger sings that he needs an El Dorado, the reference is not to the car, but to the legendary city sought by Spanish explorers. Each of the five verses ends with Seger proclaiming good-bye to some real world place (from North Dakota to Olean, a city in southwest New York) and proclaiming the need to "face the promise of the promised land."

I think it's a great song. Over the past few months, various people who I know as practically lifelong Seger fans have written me asking, essentially, what's the point? Why continue hoping for a new Seger CD that never seems to come? In short, why should we keep caring?

This song is the answer. It's that good.

July 29, 2002

Are You

Before I could write up my take on "Are You," Seger's management called and asked me to stop writing so much about the new songs. "It spoils the surprise for Bob" to have the songs so fully described, is how they put it. So I posted only the following summary. (Though as an inside joke for Seger's management, I slipped the line "most of what we're told is misdirection" into one of my posts about the album being delayed.)

Clanging guitars, big drums and a sharp-edged beat in another song from 2004. Seger delivers strong, confident vocals in a song about materialism and values.

October 18, 2005

The released track is different -- and improved -- from the Vault version. The tasty back-up vocals weren't there, or at least I don't remember them. The lyrics and the basic structure haven't changed. I do remember EarsTwo commenting that "Are You" was in the same sort of sonic world as "These Shoes" by the Eagles.

Won't Stop

The complexities of Vault entry meant I didn't hear any tracks this year. EarsTwo -- upgraded to Ears One -- heard this one. He called it a slow strummer and had some issues with the guitar. I haven't checked in with him yet to find out if the CD version is what he heard.

Answer's in the Question

The Vault version is just Seger -- no Patty Loveless -- and the sound is stripped down to guitar and drums -- so it sounds lonelier and, to me, more peronsal. The four lines beginning with "Whan all the trees are bending" are not on the released version. And the line "Faith is in decline" was changed to "Faith is hard to find," for the CD.

"Answer's in the Question" is a fine song to bring this series to a close, since it's the kind of song -- like "Somewhere Tonight" -- that could be used to close an album. It's a song about endings -- about the feelings and questions that circle over us, late at night, when things are ending. It's not purely a sad song -- but there's kind of a muted sorrow to it, mixed with an understanding that this is how life is. Will you hide, the lyrics ask, or face your fears:
 
The answer's in the question
Will you be home late again?
Will you find the courage
When the truth comes closing in?
When all the trees are bending
and the storm is really here
Will you just stay hidden?
Will you face your fear?
 
When trust is almost broken
Faith is in decline,
The answer's in the question
Will you leave this all behind?
 
The heart's a lonely hunter
It never quite feels safe
The devil's in the details
The thrill is in the chase.
 
You rise and fall like water
You try to stay the same.
The only thing that's certain
Is that everything will change.
How will I be remembered?
Will my critics be unkind?
The answer's in the question,
Will you leave this all behind?

 The lyrics don't tell us what it is that's ending, or why. In that sense, the song is mostly interior monologue. It's sung quietly and resolutely over a simple guitar arrangement, with brushes on drums. The tempo and the three-quarter-time beat is similar to "West of the Moon," but "Answer" is simpler and more serious.

My sense is that the song is about that moment when you start asking yourself questions that you haven't wanted to ask. And the simple fact that you're finally asking them tells you that the relationship is ending.

The song closes with a couplet that could be taken two ways. "How will I be remembered," Seger sings, "Will my critics be unkind?" For the first several listenings, I took that literally, as if Seger were asking how music critics would view his career. Then it struck me that when you leave a relationship, you leave a whole set of people -- friends, relatives -- and I remembered Seger's comment about the Tom Wait's line, "I don't care if they miss me / I never remember their names," in "Blind Love." (Seger said: "I think he's talking about, maybe her relatives...he's broken up with her and maybe he didn't like her relatives so much....") So I decided the "critics" are the ex-lover's friends and relatives, offering their opinions on why things went wrong.

There's an honest simplicity to "Answer's in the Question." The track I heard was short, about three minutes, with no back-up singers, no big swell of music -- just Seger, his voice slightly haunted and very powerful. It's the kind of song, I think, that would have to be on the next album.

Though, as Seger sings, "the only thing that's certain / is that everything will change."

August 15, 2002

 

The Patty Loveless duet is a different kind of pleasure, I suppose -- but for me the Nashville polish subdues the emotion. The Vault track sounded a lot more like "Won't Stop" in terms of sonics. I felt like you could reach right out and touch Seger, sitting there alone in the night. For me, that intimacy made the song more powerful.

Red Eye to Memphis

I won't be able to hear the "bonus tack" version until midnight tonight, so I can't compare the two yet. Here's the original Vault entry:

This new track begins with a great, slippery bass line. Listen to the bass at the front end of "Tryin' to Live My Life Without You," speed it up and add more funk -- that's basically how this uptempo Memphis song begins. This track is all about groove, and Seger hits it well. "Baby's on the red eye to Memphis," he sings, "Bringing me something tonight / Bringing it home to daddy / Tonight we won't fuss or fight."

This is a short track, less than three minutes, but it's definitely tastier than anything on It's A Mystery. I could imagine Bonnie Raitt or Curtis Salgado or any number of people attempting a song like this and doing a good job. But Seger's voice is really what makes this track cook. It's the kind of groove tailor-made to show off his great phrasing. Sometimes Seger will grab a word in the middle of a line and turn it into something close to a howl (cf., "When you WERE a young girl," from "River Deep, Mountain High") and he does the same here:

"This ain't no hat, no new pair of shoes
She's packing something we SHORE can use."

In addition to being musically different from anything on Mystery, the subject matter is also different: "Memphis" percolates with a kind of Fire-Down-Below sensuality, or even lust, that was missing from Mystery. "We're gonna howl at the moon / create some history soon."

The track I heard had one back-up singer and someone on tambourine. The last verse is preceded by a great Seger howl. "I'll be down at the terminal in Memphis," the song concludes, "Watching every single gate..." (The lyrics were obviously written before 9/11 -- they don't allow you past the checkpoint these days.) All in all, it's a great, upbeat, sexy song, with all-out Seger vocals. A must for the next CD.

August 9, 2002


Other Reviews

The Detroit Free Press

New Seger album worth the wait
BY Brian McCollum
September 10, 2006

It's the album Bob Seger fans hoped he'd give them.

It's certainly the album Bob Seger wanted to make: Eleven years in the works, "Face the Promise" is assuredly no throwaway effort, its dozen tracks the result of scrupulous pruning from a body of songs three times as big.

It is the sound of Seger aiming to sink his teeth again into rock 'n' roll, and successfully tearing off a healthy piece. The guitars are turned up. There's swing in the grooves. Seger lets loose and lets his voice get dirty.

The new album isn't "Beautiful Loser," "Night Moves," "Stranger in Town" or even "Against the Wind," the 1980 record that began Seger's move into smoother adult rock. Those are the peak moments of an artist on a roll, empowered by his creative highs and validated by his popular success. If nothing else, "Face the Promise" performs a vital service by ensuring that his discography doesn't end with 1995's "It's a Mystery," a tepid effort and the weakest overall collection of his career.

Album opener "Wreck This Heart" promptly sets the tone: Built atop a winding, growling guitar line, it's as assertive musically as it is lyrically ("Am I talkin' too fast / Am I hard to hear?"), and signals Seger's eagerness to keep the wattage high. But it's also something of an anomaly. Where "Face the Promise" is largely built on studied contemplations of life today and tomorrow, "Wreck This Heart" finds Seger revisiting youthful rock abandon.

That casual looseness makes just one other notable appearance, on his much-discussed duet with Kid Rock on Vince Gill's "Real Mean Bottle," a chugging roadhouse stomper and drinking ode that pairs the two Oakland County neighbors on record for the first time.

Although the lyrics become more earnest elsewhere, the record largely maintains that tough, gnarled musical edge. Three of the album's best songs -- "Between," "Simplicity" and "Won't Stop" -- are its most raw and organic. The texture lightens up only for a lovely pair of closing songs: "The Answer's in the Question," featuring lead and harmony vocals from country crooner Patty Loveless, and "The Long Goodbye," a touching and stirring portrait of Alzheimer's disease.

A group of seasoned Nashville players provides the sonic bedrock, and although the performances occasionally come close to taking on too much polish for their own good, Seger keeps enough raggedness intact to let the stuff qualify, by any measure, as rock 'n' roll.

Sometimes it's worth the wait.

The Detroit News

Seger's latest is full of 'Promise'
Susan Whitall / The Detroit News
September 9, 2006

It's clear from the opening kick of the drums and the first "hyut!" out of Bob Seger on the song "Wreck this Heart" that "Face the Promise" isn't just a little side project he's been working on in between Pistons games.

This is the real thing, the soulful, hard-rocking stuff that made Seger's name shorthand for "Detroit rock," and sold out all those '70s gigs at Cobo Hall.

But it's country, too; several songs, including his duet with Patty Loveless, "The Answer's in the Question," will warm the hearts of country radio programmers.

The first song, "Wreck This Heart," is a throwback in the best sense; a raucous rocker expressing frustration and yearning for escape.

Similarly, on "Face the Promise" Seger is "all small-towned out," howling for freedom, straining at the bit for new horizons and longing for a blacktop road and a wheel in his hands. In his best music, Seger has always channeled the Rustbelt pain and dashed hopes of his fans, giving their feelings words and music.

He was doing this infused with a very Michigan blend of country, soul and rock years before a poverty of imagination caused writers to lump him in with John Mellencamp and Bruce Springsteen.

On the album, Seger is using fewer metaphors in his lyrics, which gives his music the old punch, and a more subtle poetry.

From the song "Simplicity" comes this ultimate Detroit couplet: "Complex theories have their place/I like throwdowns in your face." He wrote the song for the Pistons, but it's also about the former autoworker's own lunchbucket work style, about how performing "the fundamentals" wins the day.

In "No Matter Who You Are," after making the point that someone is always going to want something else from you, he adds the concise, beautiful line: "This is an ancient test; it's a shiny lie."

"Are You" expresses dismay at consumerism, with Seger's impassioned vocal answered, Southern-soul style, by the heartfelt wails of Shaun Murphy.

More recent fans might think the anti-Iraq song "No More" is out of character for the amiable Seger, but this is the guy who wrote and recorded the blistering antiwar song "2 + 2," a hot little piece of wax on the Hideout label.

In that earlier song, on top of a fuzz-guitar riff, Seger sings: "Yes it's true I am a young man, but I'm old enough to kill/I don't wanna kill nobody but I must if you so will "

In "No More," Seger looks back with a more seasoned regret and pain at Vietnam, "forty years ago, when I was young," and complains that he "doesn't want this" anymore.

Most memorably, he swaps verses on "Real Mean Bottle" with Kid Rock, his husky baritone contrasting pleasingly with Rock's wailing tenor.

Get ready to hear this one on the radio for the next eon or two.

The Boston Globe

Seger keeps the faith with 'Promise'
By Sarah Rodman, Globe Staff
September 12, 2006

Bob Seger may drive a snazzy foreign sports car these days, but the music he makes still possesses the durability of those American-made trucks he helped sell. At 61, he's still like a rock.

On ``Face the Promise," his first album in 11 years, the plainspoken Detroit legend with the pleasantly road-abused voice continues to earn his post-Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction stripes with a set of songs that sound familiar in the best sense of the word.

Seger headed to Nashville and took an ``if it ain't broke" approach to his project, self-producing a compact, muscular, and richly melodic set of bar-band rave-ups, stately ballads with soaring female choruses, and sturdy midtempo rock songs. Each track comes from the same family as classic-rock staples ``Night Moves" or ``Against the Wind ," but Seger wisely avoids slavishly cloning the originals.

The revitalized tone is set immediately by the barn-burning opener ``Wreck This Heart," which is all Saturday night attitude and ``more cowbell!" exuberance.

The 11 tracks that follow are equally sound and range from the whiskey-soaked duet of Vince Gill's Merle Haggard tribute ``Real Mean Bottle," with acolyte Kid Rock, to the ruminative acoustic closer ``The Long Goodbye."

``Goodbye" -- which explores the fog that can arise between lovers, friends, even citizens and their government -- is among several songs that shed light on what's been on Seger's mind during his hiatus. The ``American Storm" he saw brewing in the distance 20 years ago has made landfall, and the father of two young children is wondering if it's too late to take cover.

Over a bodacious backbeat, ``Between" worries about global warming, taking to task those aforementioned trucks with lyrics about big engines, shirked responsibilities, and melting glaciers . The soulful ``Are You" -- which sounds like Don Henley at his most indignant fronting the Stones -- targets consumerism. ``No More" is an almost Orbison-ian, string-adorned lament about wars past and present that features a creamy, tear-stained vocal.

Of course, as Seger sings on ``Simplicity," the blue-collar rocker has long focused on ``the basic stuff." So ``Promise" also includes a beautiful waltz-time duet with Patty Loveless that deals with faith, fidelity, and legacy, and the title track -- which oddly name-checks Massachusetts and Framingham -- takes to the open road.

While in some ways Seger has turned these pages before, it's a pleasant surprise that he's found new meanings upon re-examination.

The Flint Journal

By Doug Pullen

It's been 30 years since "Live Bullet" put the Michigan Rock and Roll Hall of Famer on the map, 20 years since his heyday, 11 years since his last release of all-new material. So "Face the Promise," out this week, had better be good, right? Rest assured, Seger fans, "Face the Promise" lives up to the promise.

With nary a Silver Bullet member in sight, Seger fulfills "Promise" with his classic blue-collar rock 'n' roll, splashes of country, some well-placed string arrangements, a couple of choice duets (one with Kid Rock) and the kind of certainty in the lyrics that only comes with age, wisdom and a high-level of comfort with his place in life. It's a good place to be, but not without its perils.

"Promise" completes a trilogy that began with 1991's "The Fire Inside," which chronicled Seger's life with new wife Nita and a desire to put his old life behind him, and 1995's "It's a Mystery," which cast a father's weary eye on the world. The 12 songs on "Promise" tackle everything from the war in Iraq (the string-laden "No More") and the environment ("Between") to the kind of love that withstands life's tests (the lovely ballad and first single, "Wait for Me").

Opener "Wreck This Heart" is classic Seger, with snarling guitars, chick singers and that familiar smoky wail, using the onset of "another early Michigan winter storm" to spin a tale of reinvention, a theme echoed in the hard-driving title song, a blue-collar anthem about finding "a brand new space."

Occasional overreliance on monotonous grooves bogs down the proceedings at times but at 61, Bob Seger has found a sense of urgency that suits him well.

MonstersandCritics.com

Patrick Luce
September 15, 2006

With the release of 'Face the Promise,' rock icon Bob Seger is back after an 11 year wait between studio albums, and the rocker is better than ever. The album is a must have for Seger fans or anyone who enjoys real rock.

Seger, who recorded most of the album in Nashville, kicks off 'Face the Promise' with the guitar-driven track "Wreck This Heart" that features his signature sound and lyric style. The song also shows that the singer/songwriter can still rock with the best of them.

On the album's title track, "Are You," and "Between," Seger fills the album with hard guitar power chords and hammering drums that gives us some of his hardest rock since the early '70s. His duet with Kid Rock on the cover of Vince Gill's "Real Mean Bottle" demonstrates that Seger can still hang with the young rockers, and leave them in his dust.

The album also features plenty of the singer's signature sound and lyrics that have made him a huge influence in rock, and one of music's greatest artists. "Wait For Me" (the album's lead single), "No Matter Who You Are" and "No More" are classic Seger, and are enough to hook you on the entire CD.

Seger also slows things down from time to time with the tracks "Won't Stop," "The Answers in the Question" (which features a duet with Patty Loveless) and "The Long Goodbye." This change gives the entire album a nice overall pacing.

As a longtime fan of Bob Seger, I have been looking forward to this album since I heard it was going to be released. By the end of the first song, I was hooked, and Seger makes sure every track on the album is a winner.

This is simply a great CD for fans of Seger or guitar rock. 'Face the Promise' has something to offer everyone. Fans of Seger's harder rock songs will love tracks like "Wreck This Heart" and "Are You," but the singer also makes sure to include enough of his softer side to please those fans that prefer his ballads. The album is simply classic Bob Seger, and it won't disappoint.

The Appalachian News-Express

'Promise' of Seger CD worth the wait
By Rick Bentley
September 16, 2006

"I don't want to put some dog meat out there if I'm in the Hall of Fame -- know what I mean?" Bob Seger, quoted by UPI. Mission, most definitely, accomplished.

Bob Seger's first CD of new music in 11 years is called "Face the Promise," and it hit record stores on Tuesday. A delay that long for someone of his age is certainly dangerous, but it turned out to be a calculated decision that should simply improve his already remarkable image.

Seger, who grew up on the streets of Ann Arbor, Mich. (the town he so eloquently toasted some 30 years ago in his classic Mainstreet), first gained national attention in 1969 when his debut album "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man" reached as high as No. 68 on the Billboard charts while the single of the same name peaked at No. 17.

For years, he was known largely for his live shows in the Midwest, which he traveled through in a station wagon (kids, ask your parents about this precursor to the minivan). That all changed in early 1976 when Seger, unable to finish the title track for his next studio album, grudgingly agreed to the release of a live album recorded in Detroit's Cobo Hall in late 1975.

This two-album collection, "Live Bullet," turned out to be the best move of his career. And when he finally finished the song in question, the follow-up album, "Night Moves," became the album of his life and a rock n' roll staple.

Now, some 30 years later, Seger is back with a CD that easily holds up with the trilogy that began with "Night Moves," "Stranger in Town" and "Against the Wind," that should put him back on the national map.

And, unlike much of Seger's more recent efforts, this one delivers on his promise to rock. Opening track "Wreck this Heart" blisters. Seger's signature "Hey Hey" only seconds into the CD speaks volumes. Listen up, people, he seems to say. Because I'm back, as good as ever.

The first single, "Wait for Me," an appropriately-titled song for those of us who have, is an acoustic mid-tempo piece that easily stands up to his most famous ones, songs like "Against the Wind," "Fire Lake" and "Shame on the Moon." Written as an ode to his young children, Seger's voice carries that high, lonesome sound often associated with Bluegrass singers but that has served him well on the road to the Hall of Fame.

The title track follows, and once again, is pure rock n roll.

But the highlight of this CD easily comes at track eight, where Seger and fellow Detroit native Kid Rock absolutely explode on Vince Gill's "Real Mean Bottle." The song, a tribute to Merle Haggard, may be hardly recognizable to Gill fans, but is all sizzle. Rock, born Bob Ritchie, is given a production credit after Seger said he took over the session.

"Bob turned the thing up 70 beats a minute," Seger told the "Detroit News." "He did the handclaps, the breakdowns, he changed the melody on the bridge and the choruses. He did all of that right in front of my eyes. That's why I gave him a production credit."

In your haste to find "Bottle," don't miss the songs it's sandwiched between. "No More" and "Won't Stop" are solid efforts that could have easily found a home on any of Seger's classic albums. The former weighs in on the war in Iraq, the latter is a slow-burner that has that legendary Seger vocal right at the forefront, and both would be welcome additions to the much-rumored tour.

The CD is fleshed out by such tunes as "Between," which is reminiscent of "Tomorrow" from his "Greatest Hits 2" collection; "The Answer's in the Question," a duet with Pike County native Patty Loveless; and "No Matter Who You Are," another mid-tempo that falls very comfortably from these 61-year-old lips.

Read these words carefully: I rarely buy CDs in stores these days, and even less frequently pay full price. But "Face the Promise" is worth the trip to your local CD supplier.

This CD rocks. It has the classic sound of Seger in his late-70's heyday, exactly the kind of music you and I say we can't find anymore.

Buy "Face the Promise." It'll have you jamming all the way home.

Rick Bentley is sports information director at Pikeville College.

About.com

I Never Give Five Stars
by Dave White

We have a five-star rating system here at About.com. As a matter of principle, 4.5 is the highest rating I ever give an album. Until now.

Gut Level Music

You know how it is. One of your favorite classic rock bands or artists releases an album of new music and you rush to give it a listen, hoping it evokes the same reactions you experienced 30 or so years ago when you first heard them. As often as not, you're disappointed to find that the "something" that originally made you a devoted fan just doesn't seem to be there anymore, at least not consistently.

A handful of artists can, for me, still deliver with new material today what they did back in the day: Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Neil Young. And with his new release, Bob Seger maintains a favored spot on that list.

With 2006's Face the Promise, Seger is still delivering the same addictive brand of roots rock he began cranking out with 1969's Ramblin' Gamblin' Man. The themes are timeless; the voice is still clear and powerful; the appeal is visceral, gut level.

The 11 Year Wait

 As always, it is music with a simple but effective message, set to a medium-hard rock beat. Later practitioners like Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty and John Mellencamp owe much to Seger's everyman style and work ethic. Waiting 11 years between albums might be risky for some artists, but Seger has had no problem picking up where he left off with 1995's It's a Mystery.

"The Answer's In the Question" with Patty Loveless is one of the most well-chosen duet pairings I've heard in a very long time. As players of both instruments will tell you, there's a big difference between a violin and a fiddle, just as there is a big difference between the musical styles of Seger and Loveless. The two instruments and the two voices are blended here with surprising results. The track stands out on an album full of standouts.

 There's plenty of classic Seger rock throughout, especially the lead track, "Wreck This Heart," "Are You" and the title song, "Face the Promise." And there's plenty of the lyrics that are Seger's trademark: simple, direct, easily related to by common everyday folks like us.

Face the Promise is a stomp-your-feet, make-you-think, give-you-some-goosebumps album that has what may be some of the best work Seger has ever done. If you're already a Bob Seger fan, you'll listen to it often. If you aren't already a Bob Seger fan, this album will make you one.

East Valley Tribune (Arizona)

Aural Fixations - Country outlets speed return of rocker Bob Seger
By Chris Hansen Orf
September 17, 2006

If it's proved anything in its nearly 60 years as a genre, it's that rock 'n' roll is a young man's game. The court of popular opinion in rock is swift and often unjust, casting aside classic rockers in favor of quick fads and cool haircuts worn by younger kids.

Consider this blueprint: Elvis' popularity was usurped by the mop-top Beatles, who were, at least when they landed on these shores in '64, a fad -- and the vicious circle has repeated itself in the decades since.

Detroit rocker Bob Seger, for instance, was huge in the '70s and '80s, but by the '90s, after hair metal had killed off most of the arena rockers of Seger's era and after grunge had killed off the hair metal bands, Seger's last disc, 1995's "It's a Mystery," debuted at No. 27 on the album charts and faded quickly.

It might not have been fair, as the album was generally solid, but in the MTV era, a graying dude in his mid-50s wasn't going to exactly send a post-Gen X crowd raised on hip-hop and Kurt Cobain running to the record store.

And mainstream rock radio was no help either, as Seger's two singles from "It's a Mystery," "Lock and Load" and "Hands in the Air," didn't even crack the Top 20, and the singer, perhaps seeing the writing on the wall, retired to raise his kids in Michigan.

In the meantime, though, Seger was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by fellow Detroiter Kid Rock, who has consistently sung Seger's praises as an influence on his non-hip-hop rock and country material, and older fans of Seger, perhaps remembering the singer's classic work and good-time concerts, began clamoring for his return.

With his first disc of new material in more than a decade, "Face the Promise," released Sept. 12, Seger has heeded the call.

And he's getting help from an unlikely source: Country Music Television.

Perhaps Seger realized that his classic acoustic and pianobased ballads such as "Against the Wind," "Fire Lake" and "Night Moves," if recorded today, would be a perfect fit on country radio and CMT's video programming since both lean more toward '80s rock than ever, and figured it would be a good market for new material. CMT is already playing the first single from the disc, the breezy, melodic "Wait for Me," and Seger looks like a distinguished old roots musician in the vein of a late-career Waylon Jennings.

Seger even recorded the new album in Nashville, Tenn., the country music capital.

Of course, Seger is a born rock 'n' roller and "Face the Promise" contains plenty of tunes for old fans of his upbeat songs such as "Rock & Roll Never Forgets," "Strut" and "Betty Lou's Gettin' Out Tonight." He leads off the disc with the power-chord fiesta, "Wreck My Heart," and revs things up with the gritty title cut and the bluesy "Are You."

Still, it's the acoustic tunes here -- "Wait for Me," "No Matter Who You Are" and "No More" -- that recall Seger's best work. All of them could be country singles.

The disc's best cut, "Won't Stop," contains Seger's take on the shifting tides of rock 'n' roll popularity and his place in it with the words "You can study the ancients, you can learn every fact/you can follow the cycles that'll even come back/how everything changes, it's been ever thus/one day you're a comet, the next day you're dust/but you won't stop there."

Seger didn't stop there, back in 1995, and it's good to hear his classic bellow of a voice again, even if it's now singing contemporary country music, er, yeah, rock music.

Arena rock is alive and well

With Bob Seger making a comeback in contemporary music, here is a look at some other '70s and '80s arena rockers that are primed for a comeback with nostalgic baby boomers. Poison, Def Leppard and Journey recently played to capacity crowds at Cricket Pavilion, so why not these guys? Come on, dude, it's time to get the band back together!

The Winnipeg Sun

Seger keeps it simple
By Darryl Sterdan

The stranger is back in town. Face the Promise is Michigan rocker Bob Seger's first CD since 1995's underwhelming It's a Mystery. But considering how rested, rejuvenated and ready to rock he sounds on this 18th release, the real mystery is why the 61-year-old waited so long.

Striking a pose between the Ramblin' Gamblin' Man soul-power of his early days and the Beautiful Loser ballads of his peak, Seger leads a crew of hired guns through a consistently strong set of tracks penned over the past five years.

Barnburners like the title cut and Wreck This Heart have the chugging heartland-rock guitar riffs. Slowburners like Wait for You and Won't Stop fulfil the soulful balladeer quotient. Funkers like Simplicity and Between bring the grooves and horns. A honky-tonking blues-rocking duet with Kid Rock on Real Mean Bottle and a country-tinged ballad with Patty Loveless build bridges to younger fans.

And everything is graced with Seger's gruff, chesty vocals and peopled with the disillusioned but resolute blue-collar everymen of a million Springsteen and Mellencamp songs. In other words, it's pretty much what you want in a Seger disc. And what he wants too.

"Simplicity," he says at one point, "works for me." Works for us too.

Don't be a stranger, Bob.

Bob Seger, Face the Promise Capitol Records:

Ft. Worth Star & Telegram

by Dave Ferman

To be sure, the first CD in 11 years by America's great heartland rocker has a few miscues: There's no Silver Bullet Band (????), and Kid Rock's "vocals" ruin an otherwise sparkling cover of Vince Gill's Real Mean Bottle. But on the whole this is an excellent comeback: Seger's vocals and man-of-the-people perspective retain their grit and soul, the guitars are once again to the fore, and the songs are usually quick and punchy. Individual songs address the war in Iraq, sundering relationships, alcoholism and Alzheimer's disease, but the overriding sense is of a man trying valiantly to make sense of these unsettled, consumption-mad times.

The Ocala Star-Banner (Florida)

Seger fulfills his 'Promise'
by Anthony Violanti

Time for truth from a columnist.

I had mixed feelings about Bob Seger making a new album. I worried he would be another graying, classic rocker trying to reclaim lost youth.

I care about Seger. He has been a seminal music influence for me. First time I saw him was during the '60s up in Buffalo. I was in high school. Seger was performing in a small club and two songs he played that night ripped me up: the raucous "Ramblin', Gamblin' Man" and an anti-war rocker "2 + 2 =?"

That song included these lyrics: "Yes it's true I am a young man, but I'm old enough to kill/I don't wanna kill nobody but I must if you so will."

Time passed. Seger sold millions of albums, putting blue collar in rock'n'roll and making car commercials.

Seger aged just like the rest of us, but a decade has passed since he released an original album or played on stage. This week Seger returned with a new CD, "Face the Promise," and it's filled with hard-driving rock and a tough-edged look at everything from love to the war in Iraq.

My worries were unfounded.

This is one of the best albums of this year.

Bob Seger not only still rocks, he still matters.

Consider "No More," another anti-war song. This time, instead of Vietnam, the topic is Iraq: "It was 40 years ago and I was young/And the jungle not the desert heard the guns/Someone said they had a secret plan/And the rest of us were told to understand/ Well I don't want this/no I don't want this/I have enough, no more."

But in case you think the guy is too serious, kick off your rocking shoes and listen to Seger romp with Kid Rock on "Real Mean Bottle," a song destined for the Top 10. Seger opens the CD with "Wreck This Heart," which sounds like John Mellencamp meets the Rolling Stones. "Face the Promise," the title track, is vintage Seger - blue-eyed Detroit soul with a pounding beat.

The pace slows with "Wait For Me," a gorgeous pop ballad reminiscent of "Against the Wind." But Seger doesn't have to compete with his old hits on this CD. It's filled with insight, perspective and energy.

Seger teams with Patty Loveless on another brooding, soft number, "The Answer's In the Question." It's one of those aching songs about searching for answers and finding more questions.

"Seger has made so many contributions to rock'n'roll, but people wondered if he could still do it," said Bill Barr of Big Oldies 92.9. "This is a big album for him. It's a way for him to satisfy his old fans and reach newer, younger ones."

Barr is a long-time Seger fan.

"I've always liked him, there's just something in his voice," Barr said. "He's one of those artists, the minute you hear that voice you know it's him. That's what makes him a star. So many singers and so much music today sounds the same."

The question for Seger, Barr believes, is "if he still has the voice."

"Face the Promise" proves Seger still can pull it off behind the mic. But rock demands more than vocal skill. It's about attitude, feelings and emotion. On his new album, Seger takes stock of his music and his life. It's about looking back and moving forward as an artist and singer.

Seger sums it up with the last line from the last song, "The Long Goodbye," with these words: "I'm still here."

Long may he rock.

Billboard

Bob Seger back with harder rock.
Sunday, Septemeber 10, 2006.

Recorded mostly in Nashville with walloping drums and lively, if gratuitous, soul-singer backup, Seger's first studio set in 11 years contains his hardest rock since the '70s.

But it often feels sluggish despite itself, and his lyrics show him riding against the same old Michigan wind with a voice that's grown haggard with time. Yet the rockabilly-tinged Kid Rock collaboration and the Vince Gill cover "Real Mean Bottle" sounds like the most fun Seger's had in ages; wanderlusting opener "Wreck This Heart" and vague environmental protest "Between" borrow respective chunky hooks from '80s ZZ Top and '80s Joan Jett. "The Answer's in the Question" is dark funeral folk, and thoughts about aging ride the Drifters-like Latin lilt of "No More" with real ease. Rock radio may not care about Seger anymore, but maybe country radio should.

The LA Times

Richard Cromelin
September 10, 2006

The definitive heartland rocker's first album since 1995 opens with an encouraging blast of the bedrock basics -- kick drum and cowbell pushing the beat, chunky guitar chords, background chick wailing, and Seger himself, raspy and vehement, railing against the pressures of life.

It's a short-lived rush, though. Seger's world of fundamental, R&B-based rock 'n' roll and lighters-in-the-air ballads was a vital center of pop music when Seger had hit after hit in the 1970s and '80s, but now it's a shrinking niche, and an artist who can't adapt risks relegation to a classic-rock comfort zone.

That doesn't mean Seger should gimmick things up with samples or trendy trappings. But a sense that his musical vision hasn't stalled in 1978 might add some urgency. Some kind of retooling might also help with his larger problem: trying to do the same job with old equipment.

When he reaches the bridge of that first song, "Wreck This Heart," Seger suddenly sounds labored, as if he can't get enough air to sustain him through this more demanding stretch. That sense of strain recurs throughout the album, robbing Seger of the forcefulness that let him face down all those demons and adversaries in the past.

Having Kid Rock guest on one song makes him sound better, though it doesn't raise the quality. The best selections echo his earlier successes, with the Patti Loveless duet "The Answer's in the Question" striking a refreshingly natural note. The title track is the best, a lean, road-hugging flight for freedom. It's one of the few times he sounds more determined than disillusioned.

Rolling Stone

Bob Seger's first album in more than a decade excels at stout, lucidly sung rock-soul-blues-gospel that can, in uninspired hands, sound like reheated takeout food. The killer moment comes during the title track, a barreling piece of songwriting with spidery Duane Eddy-style guitar. Seger casts himself as a "small towned-out" Delta worker. "I'm tired of this river," he carps, complaining of "nothing nights," anticipating the magnificent demand "I need an El Dorado/There's got to be someplace." Elsewhere Seger offers more dead-on renderings of his Michigan-sired rock as though it's the hottest new style in town, burning significant rubber on "Wreck This Heart" and ascending to heights of dashboard eloquence on "Wait for Me." Seger Nashvilles it up on duets with Kid Rock and Patty Loveless. The strength of the album, though, involves how, with tons of melody and tone and a little cheese, Seger fearlessly remains Seger.

San Francisco Chronicle

Joel Selvin

Bob Seger began writing these songs shortly after the end of his 1996 tour. It just took him a while to finish the album. With the set's initial offering, "Wait for Me," finding a home on radio, Seger may actually get some attention with this fine new album, a record that easily stands shoulder to shoulder with his albums "The Distance" and "Against the Wind." Classic rock artists like Seger (left, being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004) must compete with their own best work, and Bruce Springsteen's recent albums should be this good. Gray-haired and bearded, Seger, 61, sounds a bit more philosophical and a little more outraged than the last time he showed up. But the songs are so rich -- rising choruses crashing against majestic chords, bumper-sticker lyrics leaping out of the pounding rock -- that "Face the Promise" sounds like another Seger classic from the first moment. Where past Seger albums have tended to carry the big freight on his midtempo ballads, "Face the Promise" leads with the steely rock of "Wreck This Heart" and the challenging "No Matter Who You Are." He offers the voice of everyman on "No More" and brings Seger superfan Kid Rock into the fray for a duet on Vince Gill's "Real Mean Bottle." Patty Loveless joins Seger on "The Answer's in the Question." When it comes to real-life American rock heroes, the voice of the heartland and all that, Bob Seger is the real deal.

New York Daily News

Still makin' old-time rock 'n' roll
Seeger [sic] brings authority to the subjects he tackles on his latest album.
Jim Farber

Bob Seger was never young.

When he broke through with his 1976 masterpiece, "Night Moves," the singer was already 31 - hardly Methuselah by normal standards. But Seger acted on the album like all the good stuff in life had happened already. The silver lining came in Seger's particular mix of nostalgia and experience, from his early awareness that knowing life has everything to do with accepting what has been lost from it.

It's a sensibility built to age well. So maybe it should come as no surprise that the now 61-year-old Seger sounds so at home on "Face the Promise," his first album in 11 years.

Its themes couldn't be more familiar to Seger fans - the burden of dreams, the weight of daily responsibility, the need to believe and the difficulty in figuring out in what.

Mindful of what decade he's in, Seger also addresses a few topical subjects: Iraq, global warming, and the increasing distractions of modern consumerism.

To all these subjects Seger brings an authority that's unquestioned. But he hasn't always brought an equal measure of inspiration. Musically, "Promise" ranks as a nicely done record, honed by a veteran's hand. And while that's a far happier outcome than on Seger's last two CDs, which found him increasingly bitter and removed, nothing on "Promise" rivals the artist's work on his peak trilogy, from "Night Moves" through 1978's "Stranger in Town" and 1980's "Against the Wind."

Instead, we get solid rockers like "Wreck This Heart," a chugging pleasantry complete with cow bell, and the title track, which ranks as the disk's most urgent number. Only one rocker offers pure fun: "Real Mean Bottle." Tellingly, it was written by someone else (Vince Gill).

There are some pretty ballads included here, like the single "Wait for Me," where Seger begs for time to catch up with the life changes he knows he needs to make.

But his attempts at funk-rock, like "Simplicity" or "Between," seem flat-footed, making their bold-faced lyrical messages clunk.

Seger had to tread a fine line on "Promise." He's playing the role of sage here, a part that could easily descend into a scold. But through the poetry of his lyrics and the gravity of his delivery, Seger holds that at bay. On some songs he even takes on a paternal tone, offering crushing truths only to assure the listener that it's perfectly normal to suffer and rage this way.

It's clear from "Promise" that Seger isn't about to eclipse his own storied past. But there's still a depth of feeling to his work that time can't erase.


The Long Wait
Department of Redundancy Dept.:
Everything below here was originally posted on one of the News & Update pages.

"Wait" at 28

According to the latest blast from Billboard Radio Monitor, Seger first entered the Adult Contemporary chart in June 1978, with "Still The Same."

Now it's 28 years later and "Wait For Me" is at No. 28 on the AC chart. It's his 14th track to make the list. (I'm guessing the list didn't exist for "Night Moves," two years earlier. Or maybe "Night Moves" was on some other chart. How many charts are there, anyway?)

Meanwhile, "Wait" moved from No. 54 to No. 57 on the country chart.

Back on the Adult Contemporary charts, "Wait" also ranked third for Most Airplay Adds, with new airplay at two Detroit stations: WMGC (19 plays) and WNIC (8). And it continues to rank very high on my iPod.

Revised, July 22, 2006


Greatest Gainer, Most Airplay Adds, Airpower Honors

That's what "Wait For Me" has done -- so far. Here's the scoop, from Billboard Radio Monitor.

"Bob Seger makes his first chart appearance as a lead artist since 1996 as "Wait For Me" lands a No. 19 debut on the Heritage Rock chart and earns Greatest Gainer, Most Airplay Adds and Airpower honors. Most of Seger's chart history came prior to the June 1997 inception of the Heritage chart but he logged one visit to the list, peaking at No. 13, this February on 3 Doors Down's "Landing In London (All I Think About Is You)."

Capitol's Nashville shop is working a track from Bob Seger's forthcoming "Face the Promise" album, and "Wait For Me" takes Hot Shot Debut applause at No. 54. (Billboard Radio Monitor, July 10, 2006)

Translation: Billboard Radio Monitor tracks charts in various formats. In Heritage Rock (their term for Classic Rock) Seger debuted at #19. On their Country chart, he debuted at #54. I don't know exactly what "working a track from "Face the Promise" means. Either they're working (promoting) "Wait For Me,"...or are they getting ready to promote "Real Mean Bottle"?

Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

July 15, 2006


Seger and the New York Times

The Newspaper of Record is taking notice of Seger's upcoming record. Today's New York Times features a long piece on Seger. The story, which includes two photos, uses his new release to illustrate what it claims is an emerging trend: rock artists being played on country stations.

To my thinking, the so-called trend isn't all that new. Indeed, Punch puts the whole 'emerging trend' premise into perspective with the following quote:

"We've relied on country audiences from the first record we put out," said Punch Andrews, Mr. Seger's longtime manager. These fans, he added, "don't see all the fuzzy lines that everybody wants to draw. Rock 'n' roll and country have always been basically the same. It's just a few instruments that change." Jeff Leeds, July 15, The New York Times. "Bob Seger's Latest Road Heads Straight on Through to Country"

(Of course, since that quote doesn't support the "new trend" premise, the author saves it for the 20th and final paragraph of the article.)

Even the headline seems misleading, when you consider that Seger has repeatedly said that this new album is a rocker. ("It's a pretty high-energy rock record," Seger says. "I would say it's more rock 'n' roll than usual." USA Today, June 8, 2006) And that his version of "Real Mean Bottle" with Kid Rock is far from country. (As Kid Rock says, "We rocked it like a freight train.")

So is this really rock music drifting over to the country side of the dial? Or, more likely, is the country side of the dial deciding to play some rock music? Sounds like the latter to me.

But never mind all that. The article does contain some exciting news. It warms up with the fact, reported in the Segerfile a couple days ago, that "there are also plans to pair Mr. Seger with an established country artist on "Crossroads," the odd-couple performance series on Country Music Television, and in other nationally televised performances."

(If you read the posts below, you know that the "established country artist" is Vince Gill.)

Then we get this: "And an album of Seger covers performed by country artists may be in the offing, too."

Kerrang! That's the headline right there -- finally, a Seger tribute album. And about time. Country artists doing Seger songs would be great.

All the Seger news that's fit to print.

The article also doesn't mention Seger's duet with Martina McBride in 1998. Or the fact that his video of "The Real Love" was played on CMT but not MTV. Or the fact that Garth Brooks covered "Night Moves" in concert for years, and said, in 2001, "Where Bob Seger was in the '70s is where I want to be..." adding, "I ripped him off a million times."

But hey -- it's great to see Seger headlined in the New York Times. Some other interesting bits from the article:

"As part of the promotion for "Face the Promise," Mr. Seger's first album of new material in 11 years, his longtime label, Capitol Records, is shipping his first new single, "Wait for Me," to country radio, in addition to stations that play classic rock and adult-contemporary formats.

"The Seger efforts are part of a broader push to bring his new album to the widest possible audience, including making it available on iTunes -- a departure for Mr. Seger, who along with Radiohead and the Beatles is among the few remaining holdouts vetoing digital sales of their music catalogs...

"In Mr. Seger's heyday and for years afterward, his songs could occasionally be heard on an array of radio formats, including country. But longtime country programmers in the genre do not recall Mr. Seger's music being presented to them specifically as carrying country appeal.

"The official date when Capitol hopes country stations start playing his single is not for two weeks, but it has already received airplay on about a dozen such stations."Jeff Leeds, July 15, The New York Times. "Bob Seger's Latest Road Heads Straight on Through to Country"

Time out for a second. "In Mr. Seger's heyday?" Did I read that right? What day are they talking about? Maybe they mean last Tuesday when his single was the 22nd most popular download on iTunes. Hey, back in the New York Time's heyday -- before their stock price dropped 25%, before Jayson Blair and Judith Miller destroyed the paper's credibility...okay, I have no way to end this sentence, so let's just leave it here.

In truth, the article does make some good points about the changes in audience listening habits. For example, it points out that classic rock and album-oriented rock stations have lost approximately 15 percent of their audience in the past five years. "Now, even a hit on older-skewing rock stations is not nearly as meaningful as a performance on country airwaves."

One of the best pieces of info in the Time's article is hidden under the photo of Seger on his Harley. It's the photo credit: Cybelle Codish -- a Detroit photographer who has shot artists such as Ricki Lee Jones, Nickleback and others. Check out her site for a closer look at the Seger shot, (or hey, Google her and see some more of her non-Seger work on MySpace).

July 14, 2006


More On Drive Time Radio

Or do I mean, Moron Drive Time Radio? Oh, to be a morning disc jockey. All you have to do is talk fast and laugh at anything.

Anyway, the radio blitz continued with Seger hitting the Bo and Jim show on KPZS in Dallas last Wednesday. Here's an example of the witty banter:

Seger: The last time I was on tour [my kids were] one and four and they actually went, but they don't remember much.

Bo/Jim: One and four! Kind of sounds like the Cowboy's opening season record!

All: Laughter

Bo/Jim: Well, that's okay, you've got the Detroit Lions, so I wouldn't laugh too hard.

Seger: Oh, boy. Let me tell ya...

If you interviewed Seger once a month, or even once a year, that mindless chit-chat would be fine. But, guys, this is your one shot in twelve years. Ask him something important.

Actually, two nuggets of interest did come out. Talking about his kids, Seger says, "Actually, they're the ones that really want me to tour. They've heard so much about it..."

Then they ask: "What's the one secret about you that nobody knows?" I cringed at the stupidity of the question, but they actually got a pretty intriguing answer: "One secret is that I'm probably the least likely rock star that you'd ever meet."

Do they follow up and say, why is that? Of course not! This is morning radio. Fortunately, Seger continues on his own. "I was always kind of a worker bee. It was the work that I really enjoyed. I always felt like I had a great respect for my audience, and so I stayed pretty darn straight."

Beyond that, Seger tells an interesting story about playing with Lynyrd Skynyrd before they were signed. And they talk about the reissue of Smokin' O.P.s a little (Seger mentions that he particularly loves "If I Were A Carpenter" off that CD.) Seger says if they tour, they'll do "about 30" shoes.

And everyone has fun, so I guess that's what counts. You can listen for yourself here.

July 15, 2006


Stranger in Town?

If Seger does tour (and that's still an if, but seeming more and more likely) audiences might get a chance to hear "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man" again -- but not by Seger. Check out the stranger in town, who covers RGM and is said to have dibs on the opening act slot.

Ramblin' Gamblin' Man: "Maybe the kids of today will dig it and rediscover the greatness of Bob Seger."

 
Looks like a new shirt to me. Probably got it from his manager, Arthur Penhallow, Jr. The shirt-wearer is Huck Johns, and the link will take you to his Hideout/Capitol Records web page. You can get his version of RGM on iTunes -- I just did; it rocks.
 
And, for the first time in history, you can also buy a new Seger single on iTunes. "Wait For Me" was added today. Let's everybody buy it and run it up the charts.

Note: Or, if you like dealing with the world's biggest retailer, you could save 11 cents and download it from Wal-Mart -- which is also offering "East Side Story" and "Heavy Music." But it doesn't work with Mac, and there's no refund. Wal-Mart now owes me 88 cents.

July 11, 2006


Great "Wait"

Seger debuted his new single, "Wait for Me" on Detroit radio station WCSX this morning -- too early for me, given the three-hour time difference. So until I can catch up, my previous take on it is reposted below.

"Wait For Me" is in a familiar genre: it's a mid-tempo Seger medium ala "Still The Same," "Understanding," "The Real Love," "By The River," etc., etc.

I can imagine someone thinking that we've got enough Seger mediums as it is. But "Wait For Me" is so dead-center perfect that Ears 2 and I instantly fell under its sway. This has got to be the next single. FM radio has ignored Seger's last two albums. I don't see how they can ignore "Wait For Me." It's infectious, earnest, upbeat, real, full of yearning…all those things that make a great Seger song.

Musically, it's most closely related to "Against the Wind." There are chord changes, particularly as the song enters the bridge, that bring to mind ATW. But you have to listen for the similarity -- these are clearly two distinct songs.

The lyrics give us a travelin' man who has to answer the call of the wild, but who also believes in love.

I will answer the wind
I will leave with the tide
I'll be out on the road
Every chance I can ride.
 
No matter how far,
No matter how free
I'll be along, if you'll wait for me.

The bridge describes a free-spirited rebellion against routine. In "Travelin' Man," women came and women went, "every one trying to cage me." Here, Seger's heart is pledged to one woman…but he's not staying home, even if she doesn't understand why, no matter who tries to talk him out of it.

And I'll fight for the right to go over that hill
If it only means something to me.
I will not be persuaded, I won't be still
I'll find a way to be free-eee.

The line "I'll fight for the right" might remind you of "moving eight miles a minute." And you can hear the Eagles sound that informed much of ATW. But neither influence detracts or distracts.

The last verse cements the pledge: "Straight to your side, I guarantee…if you'll wait for me," followed by repeated choruses of "Wait for me."

This isn't new ground, but it's rock solid with a great melody and great vocals. What more could you want? "Wait For Me" is pure Seger. I can't wait to hear it again. -- Reposted from June 27, 2005.

In recent interviews, Seger has said the song was written about his kids -- although we'll all bring to it what we will. Any way you think of it, it's a great song. And it's even greater to have Seger back.

July 5, 2006


Single Debuts July 5, On Air Everywhere July 6

The wait is over -- practically. Seger's new single "Wait for Me" will get its debut on WCSX in Detroit on Wednesday morning. Seger will be in the studio for the premier. Listen live here. Or wait a day, when the single is released nationally. Or listen to a one-minute snippet, here.

Art for the single features Seger on a motorcyle. I think that's him, above. Okay, I know it is. It's also him in the photo, below, from the Rolling Stone piece. (I knew it all along, of course. Especially after I talked to some Rolling Stone folks to confirm. They must have very high self-esteem, because they didn't seem mad at all about the way I dissed their publication. Either that or they just don't read the Seger File.)

In any case, they confirm that it's Seger on the motorcycle, it's a new photo and probably part of the album art.

On The Cover?

Picture this: the open road, somewhere out west. The hot flat land stretches back to mountains, the sky all sunset-y and beautiful. There on the side of the road, Seger on his motorcyle, looking straight into the lens. Wrap it in cellophane and you're looking at Face the Promise.

Speaking of photos where Seger looks great...

These were taken at the Cheetah Club at Broadway and 53rd in NYC on January 8, 1969 by William "PoPsie" Randolph. A new book about PoPsie is reviewed here, which is where I found the photos. Click on the link to see the photos full size and the story behind them.

June 29, 2006


Track List Clues: Wreck This Heart

Maybe I gave up on Rolling Stone magazine too soon. For years, they seemed to have a Seger blind spot. Now I guess I've developed a Rolling Stone blind spot. The magazine did a piece on Seger two weeks that I'm just now noticing.

In it, we find that "Wreck This Heart" is definitely on the new CD. (I'd assumed it would be, but you never know.) The article also confirms what we already knew -- that the duet with Kid Rock, "Real Mean Bottle," is on the track list.

So that's four tracks we know for sure:

Wait for Me
Wreck This Heart
Face the Promise
Real Mean Bottle

The first three titles have all turned up in the Vault, and they're all terrific, killer cuts. I haven't heard Seger's version of "Real Mean Bottle," but you can buy the Vince Gill version on iTunes for 99 cents and judge for yourself -- I think it's gonna make a great cover song for Seger and Kid Rock. The Rolling Stone piece says, "It's easy to imagine it in heavy rotation on country radio."

(I'm not so sure about that. Radio playlists are so narrowly structured these days -- will country stations really play a song by artists they perceive -- rightly or wrongly -- as being in the classic rock & rap-turned-rock category? I guess we'll find out.)

(Besides which, Susan Whitall in the Detroit News wrote recently: "On that high energy tune, Seger and KR rock it up more than Gill's original, more countryish version.")

So you don't have to click, here's the rest of the short Rolling Stone piece:

"None other than Bob Seger's reps came up to the RS offices yesterday to preview three tracks from the giant of heartland rock's upcoming disc Face the Promise -- the first new studio album from Seger in eleven years. The Detroit rocker produced the album himself and cut portions of it at Ocean Way Studios in Nashville. The first track, "Wait for Me," is a ballad much in the same vein as his 1980 classic "Against the Wind." It's currently slated to be the album's first single, due to radio July 11. The second track, "Wreck This Heart," is a country rocker in which Seger seems to explain his decision to put his career on hold for the sake of his family. "There's time to work/Time to live," Seger sings. "There's only so much time around/If you lean to far over the wishing well you might fall in and drown." The final track previewed was a cover of Vince Gill's ode to Merle Haggard "Real Mean Bottle," -- featuring label mate and fellow Detroit native Kid Rock. It's easy to imagine it in heavy rotation on country radio. The full album is due in stores September 12. The sixty-four dollar question: Seger has yet to decide if he's going to fire up the Silver Bullet Band for a supporting tour." Andy Greene, Rolling Stone, June 13, 2006. "Turn the Page! Kid Rock Guests on New Bob Seger Album"

And now my thirteen snarky comments.

1. Produced the album himself? Susan Whitall (The Detroit News) wrote recently that "Seger has been working on the album for years with longtime co-producer David Cole, splitting his time between Nashville, Tenn., and Detroit for the recording."

Yet the recent Gary Graff article in Billboard said Seger produced the album -- while the official news release from the Kremlin, er Capitol Records, is silent on the matter.

2. Apparently Rolling Stone writers have not heard of, or no longer use, that basic building block of narrative and exposition known (in technical circles) as the "paragraph."

3. Unless "Wreck the Heart" has changed dramatically since I heard it in the Vault, it is anything but a "country rocker" (which sounds like something you'd find on a dilapidated porch.) In fact, Ears Two and I both thought it would be right at home on Sticky Fingers, or any great Stones album.

(Admittedly, I did write that "The second verse veers toward country music territory. Seger sings of problems with his boss, his wife, of having bills to pay, of missing his dog. Hey, just throw in a truck that doesn't start and you've got a song that Tim McGraw would kill for." But I also wrote that the song has "big, chopping git-box chords and a bass-drum/snare-drum beat that orders everyone to their feet...When I look at the credits, I'll be checking to see if Joe Walsh is listed -- or someone carrying on the Walsh sound...'Wreck this Heart' will rock your world.")

4. Hey, Rolling Stone is quoting lyrics from the song! Didn't the Seger File used to quote lyrics from the song? Why, yes, we did. Until someone called and asked us not to give away the surprise. In fact, we quoted the very lyrics Rolling Stone now quotes, minus their grade-school error -- "lean to (sic) far." (True, we quoted a bunch of other lyrics too and maybe went a tad overboard.)

Suffice it to say, the lyrics are fabulous. If you read the Vault back then, you saw them. And whether you did or you didn't, you'll hear them soon.

5. Although the article is about Seger, the headline acts like it's about Kid Rock. As if being about Seger wouldn't be interesting enough.

6. "Label mate"? Kid Rock is on Atlantic.

7. The "sixty-four dollar question"? (Followed by a declarative statement, no less!)

8. In other words, Rolling Stone is a poorly written, poorly edited, error-prone magazine that has ignored Seger for eleven years, and is afraid to write about him now without a headline that hides behind Kid Rock. The Seger File, on the other hand, is a brilliantly written, witty and comprehensive website that has covered Seger obsessively for 8 years. Yet "none other than Bob Seger's reps" visit Rolling Stone to play advance tracks, while Seger's management calls me and asks me not to write so much about his new songs.

And it's all about money. A slapdash blurb in RS might sell some disks to people who have kind of forgotten about Bob Seger. Whereas anybody who reads this site is already gonna buy the album. But what about loyalty? (And while we're at it, what about laughter? Does anybody remember laughter?? Okay, I'll stop now.)

9. The part about Rolling Stone ignoring Seger will change after the new album explodes onto the charts. Seger will be on the cover with at least a headline and maybe a photo. I hereby predict.

10. His return will be wrongly characterized as a "comeback." This will annoy the heck out of me, because his greatest hits CD has ridden the Billboard Pop Catalog chart for 600 straight weeks. I've never stopped playing him and neither have millions of others.

11. Then Rolling Stone will ignore him for another ten years.

12. The article is accompanied by the following photo of...[Note: please hold while the remainder of this sentence is being edited]...Seger on his motorcycle. I found the picture of Susan Whitall on the DetNews blog. I bet you always wondered what she looked like. And that's Emmylou Harris and Elvis Costello at Ocean Way studio in Nashville. Just imagine that it's Seger and Laura Creamer.

Seger, of course
Whitall
Use your imagination

13. All the articles referred to in this post are available at Planet Garth. (Their motto: "Reprinting Seger articles, so the Seger File doesn't have to.")

June 28, 2006


Snippet Ships

Buzz-building for Seger's new single has begun, with a promo disk called Essential Seger. Track 13 is the one we're all most interested in. It's sixty seconds or so of "Wait For Me," the single due to be released on July 10. (To be more precise, it's the first thirty seconds and the last thirty seconds, or thereabouts, sweetly edited together. ) The other tracks are previously released cuts.

(Of course, one way to build buzz would be to have a little snippet posted on a fan site...but I'm just not that crazy.)

Meanwhile, musictap.net reports that Face the Promise will be released as a standard CD and a CD/DVD Special Edition. And, yes, I filched this last bit directly from the Segernet forums. Check it out for everybody's guess as to what the DVD portion might be.

As for album art and the track list -- there are times when it's best to say nothing at all.

June 27, 2006


Seger on WCSX: Tour Is A Definite Maybe.

Seger participated in the Ken Calvert Casual Golf Classic yesterday (Calvert is a disc jockey on Detroit's WCSX) and joined Calvert and Karen Savelly in the studio afterward. Calvert cut right to the chase and asked Seger if he would tour.

Seger: Well, I don't know about the tour...because I am 61 years old. We're going to rehearse in a couple of weeks and I'm gonna see if I can do, like, two straight hours. I did the one song with Bob...Bob...Kid Rock, on his thing two nights, but --

Calvert: (laughs) You can call him Bob.

Seger: (laughs) Yeah, usually, that's...I'm sorry -- but, yeah, it's different when you're out there two hours.

Seger also said he's worked really hard on Face the Promise for the last four years, and that it's closer to Night Moves (the album) than Against the Wind, because "it's more uptempo."

That's about where the web stream died on me. Maybe the entire 8-minute interview will play for you. Try it at WCSX.

Seger also talked about the single, "Wait for Me," according to a story about the interview in the Detroit Free Press. (I guess that makes this a post about a story about an interview. I'd say more, but I have to go answer the wind.)

Anyway, writer John Smyntek said that Seger said the song "Wait for Me" was written about his relationship with his children and quoted the line, "No matter how far. No matter how free, I'll be along if you wait for me."

June 20, 2006. Thanks to Charlie Keegan for the tip.


Seger's Next Huge Single: "Wait For Me."

The next full-fledged triumph in Seger's career is coming soon -- maybe as soon as July, when his new single, "Wait For Me," is shipped. And not long after that -- on September 12 -- comes the new album, Face the Promise.

I guarantee you, this will be big. "Wait For Me" is the Seger song stations have been waiting for. I predict it will get major airplay. More than "The Real Love," more than "The Fire Inside," more than "Chances Are," more than "Satisfied" -- all songs that deserved airplay but didn't get much.

But this is different. A year ago, Ears Two and I had a chance to listen to "Wait For Me" in the Vault. I was blown away. "Dead-center perfect," is how I described it in the write up. "This has got to be the next single....It's infectious, earnest, upbeat, real, full of yearning…all those things that make a great Seger song."

In short, it's going to be a major hit. And the album promises to be just as good. Although we don't know the track list yet, I think it will easily outpace his last two studio albums in sales.

For one thing, we know it will include "Wait For Me," plus the title track and "Real Mean Bottle" (the duet with Kid Rock). "Face the Promise" is another song we previewed in the Vault. It's raw, loud and made for radio. Everyone says "Real Mean Bottle" is killer. So that's three out of three.

And Seger hints to rock writer Gary Graff that a track called "Red Eye to Memphis" may make the cut. In the 2002 installment of the Vault, I wrote that "'Memphis' percolates with a kind of 'Fire Down Below' sensuality," and described the track as "a great, upbeat, sexy song, with all-out Seger vocals. A must for the next CD."

Here's the Graff quote, from his recent piece in Billboard:

"Seger is still making final decisions on songs and sequence, but the album is likely to include the title track, which he calls a 'big, storming rocker,' and a duet with fellow Detroiter Kid Rock on Vince Gill's Merle Haggard tribute, 'Real Mean Bottle.'

"Last year, Seger said he was spending a lot of time to find the right songs for the new album. 'You've got to get a standard bearer, something you want the album to stand up to,' he explained. He found those in the title track and in another song called 'Red Eye to Memphis,' which he describes as 'an almost Tony Joe White thing, a very Memphis-y, fuzzy, R&B country-rock thing.' It's not known yet whether that track will make the final cut." Gary Graff, June 9, 2006, Billboard. "Seger Prepping First New Album In 11 Years."

The official Capitol release, meanwhile, says "Face The Promise opens a masterful new chapter" in Seger's career and "marks Seger's return in classic form: urgent, honest, rousing, timeless." Normally you might dismiss that as press release exaggeration. Not this time.

(For the record, the release also notes that Seger has sold nearly 50 million albums, including eleven platinum and seven multi-platinum awards. "The 1994 Greatest Hits collection has sold over 7 million copies, in an unbroken 600-week run" on the Billboard Pop Catalog chart.)

The official Bob Seger website, on the other hand, is still promoting the 2005 release of Smokin' O.P.s. Jeez. And I felt bad about being a day late posting this update

As always, the news brings plenty of new questions. Chiefly, will he tour? Susan Whitall in the Detroit News quotes manager Punch Andrews as saying, "Practices are scheduled."

Shoot, I'd be willing to bet that arenas have been booked, or at least reserved. But no info on that yet.

And will there be a video for the single? And will it be sold on iTunes? (My guess is no and yes, respectively.)

And while I'm in a guessing mood, I'll even guess the rest of the track list for you, based on nothing but hunches. Here goes.

Wait For Me
Face the Promise
Real Mean Bottle
The Hard One
Red Eye to Memphis
Are You
It All Goes On
Wreck This Heart
Time
All Brand New
Answer's In The Question
Let The Rivers Run

If I'm even half right, it's going to be a great album. Stay tuned.

June 11, 2006 -- updated June 13, 2006
         
21 and Over?

Rumors of a tour -- which have circulated ever since Seger took the stage with Kid Rock last February -- apparently are true.

Nothing's locked in. But according to an article in today's Flint Journal, Punch Andrews (Seger's manager) is working on a plan for a 21-city tour -- and no more than 21 cities. "That would be it, period. No ifs, ands or buts," Andrews said.

(So which 21 cities would that be, I wonder? Let the speculation begin. But surely Portland, Oregon, home of the Segerfile, would be on the list. Wouldn't it???)

The article, by Doug Pullen, says Seger wants to begin touring soon after September 12, when his new CD, Face the Promise, is released.

Pullen also quotes Kid Rock about last February's shows at the Joe Lewis Arena.

" 'Being on that stage at Joe Louis lit a little fire under his a--,' Rock said...It was so nice for his kids to see him play and for the kids to see the crowds scream for him for five minutes.' " Doug Pullen, May 12, 2006, The Flint Journal. "Nothing's official, but expect a Bob Seger tour."

Real Mean Bottle

The article confirms earlier reports that Seger and Kid Rock have recorded a version of Vince Gill's "Real Mean Bottle" for Seger's upcoming CD. Seger mentioned wanting to record the song with Kid Rock in his February 2004 live Internet chat. Someone in the chat room asked if he'd ever do a song with Kid Rock. Seger said, "Absolutely…probably a country drinking song. 'Real Mean Bottle' is one I've pointed out...."

In today's article, Pullen quotes Kid Rock as saying, "We rocked it like a freight train."

In a recent interview in the Rocky Mountain News, Rock says working with Seger "has been one of my dreams."

" 'We have the same management. Our kids are the same age. We're around each other all the time. We have houses next to each other,' Rock says. 'But I never tried to cross that line' to work with Seger.

" 'One day, however, Seger called and said: 'I was wondering if you'd come to Nashville and cut this song with me, blah, blah, blah,' Rock says. 'He started explaining the song. I'm like, 'Seger, dude, I'd fly to Nashville and sing Happy Birthday if you wanted me to.' " Mark Brown, April 18, 2006, Rocky Mountain News. "Work with '70s heroes, new CD make 'the Kid' feel like a rock."

Speaking of birthdays, Seger turned 61 last Saturday. No word on whether Kid Rock came over and sang.

May 12, 2006
         
11-8-05...5-2-06...6-6-06...9-12-06!

Remember that new new-release date posted here (and by EMI) six days ago? That 6-6-06 date? That was sooo last week. This week EMI has moved the release date to September 12, 2006 -- a scant seven months from now.

What's surprising to me is not that the date changes -- it always changes. What's surprising to me is how readily I fall for it each time. I just wanna believe. Optimism or naivete? You make the call. Anyway, mark it down: the date to wait for is now September 12, until it changes again.

Look at it this way: if you hadn't known a new CD was coming, you'd be thrilled to learn it was only seven months off, right?

Can't get there? Still think the glass is half empty?? Need to wallow in your own bitter frustration?? Check out this blast from the past (i.e., 1997). And have a look at the Cynical Segerfile Tower of Frustration while you're there.

Seriously, all this business about the CD not being ready has got me thinking. I mean, the CD is not ready, but many of the tracks are. So why does the shiny little disk still matter so? Why does it have so much power to delay our Seger fix? I only buy a couple of real CDs a year, usually as gifts. The rest of the music I want I buy as individual tracks from iTunes. And a lot of other people do the same.

My son's 13. By the time he graduates from high school, five years from now, I'll bet the CD will be on its way out. The hot new artists will release tracks in small bites, two or three at a time, whatever pleases them, whenever the market is ready for more. Others will follow suit.

Artists might still think in terms of albums -- a collection of songs that belong together, or that mark a certain period -- but there will be no magic number of tracks that an album has to include. The all-digital album could have two songs or 102. (Hopefully, Face the Promise will be out by then.)

February 7, 2006 
         
06/06/06

That's the date Capitol/EMI is now projecting for Seger's 16th studio album (not counting the two live albums and two greatest hits collections). The release, still listed as "Face the Promise," even has a UPC code now. So just head on down to the disk shop on June 6 and ask for a copy of good old 0946 3 54506 2 0.

Meanwhile, EMI is mobilizing "The Official Bob Seger Street Team!" -- a group of fans who will be raising awareness of Seger by distributing posters and postcards at "lifestyle outlets." You know, like record stores, sports bars, Christian Science Reading Rooms...wherever the cool kids hang. We'll be out there generating corporate-orchestrated buzz for a label that can't even update its own website. I'm already doing my part by adding the exclamation point to "Street Team!"

Buzz or no buzz, there definitely seems to be a CD on the way. Dates can change (and, based on past experience, probably will) so you might not want to camp out at the record store just yet. But the "06" part of 06/06/06 is starting to look real solid.

February 1, 2006
         
May or May Not?

It wouldn't be a new year without new rumors of a forthcoming Seger album. The current speculation actually began last November, when both musictap.net and EMIdigital.com projected May '06 as the anticipated release date of "Face the Promise." The EMI list, geared mainly toward retailers, went so far as to give an exact date: May 2. (Also projected for 5/2 -- The Very Best of Helen Reddy. Oh yeah. In case you're tired of her best, and want to move up a notch.)

The Detroit News, being a little more cautious, says the release is "tentatively scheduled for late spring." To add some oomph to their New Year's coverage, they also published a fake picture of Seger in a party hat. Now that's news. Detroit News, December 29, 2005 and January 1, 2006.

Musictap has been right before, and so has the EMI site. On the other hand, May is still five months out. Who knows...maybe they've just dropped Seger into the end of their chart as a placeholder. PauseandPlay.com, the other site that often has good info, so far is staying out of it.

My string of correctly predicting Seger release dates is unbroken (I'm 0-23). Nevertheless, I'm risking it all by going with May. It feels right.

January 3, 2006
         
The Freep Says CD This Year

A Brian McCollum article in the Detroit Free Press says Seger's new CD (formerly titled "Face the Promise" and now titled "Break the Promise"...er, I mean, now untitled) will hit stores by Christmas. The exact date depends "on delivery of final cover art and liner notes, sources said." Brian McCollum, September 20, 2005, Detroit Free Press. "New Seger album due by end of year."

To me, the most interesting part of that quote is "sources said." What -- has Punch Enterprises finally become so secretive that they won't even talk on the record to the Free Press?

The more obvious question, of course, is whether to believe it. Stay tuned.

September 20, 2005. Thanks to Charlie Keegan for tip. Revised 11/24/05.
         
New CD in November ?? Or not??

According to pauseandplace.com, Seger's new CD -- Face the Promise -- is scheduled to be released by Capitol on November 8, 2005. That's a bold prediction, and usually bold predictions are wrong. Especially this far in advance.

June 7, 2005
         
Waiting On A Promise

Seger's new CD, "Face the Promise," didn't appear in '04, in case you didn't notice. Here's what Seger said in early February.

"We've been working right along. We just cut two new ones (songs) last week. What we're gonna do is start actually finishing in March. I'm gonna pound down lyrics for a week, just finalize every little nook and cranny that bothers me -- and I'm doing it now, too -- and then say 'OK, the lyrics are done.' Then we start mixing. But, literally, all our tracks are cut." February 8, 2005. Arrow93fm. "Seger's New Rock & Roll."

The "we" is Seger and producer David Cole, who are working at Ocean Way Studios in Nashville. There's no target date for the upcoming album. And, uh, if there were a target date, would you believe it?

February 22, 2005    
"Promise" Promised
  • Of his new CD, Seger said "We'll try to get that one done by fall or something." As reported earlier, it will be called "Face the Promise."
  • He said he's recorded "about 30 songs" for his next CD since the last tour ended in 1996. (In November, Uncle Joe got a more precise answer -- "29 songs" -- to the same question. In that earlier interview with Uncle Joe, Seger said he thought 22 of those songs were really good and that 11 would definitely be on the next album -- minus the two he stole for GH2.)
  • Seger said he's written seven songs since December ("that's how manic I am") and that he's "on a writing roll right now."
  • He's picked eight songs out of the 30 that he's really high on.
  • He'll record for a week at the end of March in Nashville, and then the album will be done.

Will He Tour?

Same question, same answer:

"I would love to...it's just a huge commitment...and I just want to make sure that I don't show up and not do my best...Like I said, we're going to start rehearsing for the Hall of Fame, maybe that will spike us to do it, but we'll leave that open."

February 9, 2004


(Re-posted from the main Update page, in case you missed it there.)

Carved "In Stone" -- Seger Says New CD in O4

Seger talks.

He's talking -- in the longest and most interesting Seger article/interview in over a decade -- to Brian McCollum, music writer for the Detroit Free Press. You'll want to read the whole article and the even more fascinating interview yourself, but some excerpts are included below.

In addition, one of the most definitive statements yet appears on the website of Louisville's Classic Rock station, 107.7SFR. They quote Seger as saying this about the due date for his CD of new material:

"I'm hoping spring, but it'll probably be more like summer or fall. But definitely, I'd say in stone by next fall it'll be out, 'cause, I mean, it's virtually done. I got a lot of really good stuff on it already, and I'd just like to add some more."

That tidbit alone is great to hear. But McCollum really puts the meat on the bones. Check out the full post here.

October 31, 2003


I Never Meta Rumor I Didn't Like, or Why Bottled Seltzer Will Never Top Gin

I'll explain the headline in a minute. But first, another blast of Seger File e-mail. Incoming!

Hello from Fort Worth, Texas!

Before I leave this world (whenever that might be), I MUST take my kids (age19 & 23) to a Bob Seger concert. Because of my lifelong love for his music...I guess since I first attended his concert with Blue Oyster Cult in Wichita, Kansas in 1976-77 (can you believe he was the opening act?). They both have been raised on his music and have grown to, not only love it, but rely on it. My "Live Bullet" CD is currently "out on loan" to my daughter...it was enroute to my son, via her, and she confiscated it!!!!

I have been searching for his current status for quite some time, and would love to hear anything about what he is doing. Any concerts in the works? Any public/private gigs? How can I hear about any future or upcoming public appearances?

Any help in this search would be soooooooo greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

Jamie M.

Fort Worth, Texas

Thanks, Jamie, for providing the intro to my update. That was certainly a long concert if it lasted from 1976-77.

Regardless, the question you pose is similar to ones I get every single freakin' day from Seger fans, all wanting to know: When is Seger going to tour again?

And the answer is: no one knows. But there are rumors. I've heard four rumors, in fact, which is why I call this a Meta Rumor -- "meta" meaning something about, oh, I don't know, some kind of post-modern something or other. But the important point is that I've heard four rumors. (Yes, that's my imitation of Hank the Cowdog. The parents among you will understand. )

Each of these rumors comes third-hand from someone who knows someone who claims to know something. For example, one comes from someone who knows a studio musician (not a Silver Bullet member). Another comes from someone who knows someone in the Detroit music biz.

In other words, if this were the party game of Operator, the person in the Detroit music biz would say "If I stab fish last, bottled seltzer will never top gin." And by the time I hear it and repeat it to you, it's become: "It's an established fact that Bob Seger will never tour again!"

With that humongo caveat, here are the four answers these "insiders" give regarding when Bob Seger will tour again:

Never. Never. Never. And, Soon.

Choose your pick. I'm in a dark and gloomy mood here, and I think it's never. Boy, would I love to be wrong.

December 6, 2002


Nashville Song

Is it news or not? You be the judge. I just got back from Laura Creamer's web site -- www.lauracreamer.com -- where she says, "I just got back from singing on Bob Seger's new CD in Nashville." Shaun Murphy was there and Bekka Bramlett was there, working on the new CD, while the rest of us were, well, elsewhere. What were we thinking??

Anyway, the web page says "Updated February 9, 2002," so if she just got back last week, that means Bob is still recording. On the other hand, if it's an old quote that's been there a year, it means nothing. Is there any way to know for sure? Um, no. But you should check out Laura's page. She's been the voice behind the voice for years, and she has a CD of her own out called "West of Detroit." Sounds cool.

February 15, 2002

Update: Nashville News from the Seger DEW Line

Faithful readers of this site will remember Jesse B., cofounder of the Seger DEW line and original train man, who now makes his joyful rounds in White Salmon, Washington. We make a dynamic pair, he and I. My role is always to pose the thoughtful questions, the insightful queries that perfectly frame the issue at hand, as I do in the dispatch above: i.e., Is this Nashville news new or not? Jesse, a man of action, has no patience with paltry questions. He barrels ahead and comes back with the answers, as he does in the following e-mail.

"Hey, Mo Fo," he writes. (For those who don't know, Mo Fo is Michigan slang for the Ford Motor Company. Jesse often addresses me this way, which is a bit odd -- he knows I'm a Chrysler man.) Anyway, he continues, "Here's some more 'inside dish' for you!"

Indeed, the inside dish turns out to be an e-mail from Laura Creamer, (who's quite a dish herself, I could add, but won't, because it's politically incorrect).

"I appear on at least five of the tracks," she writes Jesse, "but I'm not sure which songs are going to be his [Seger's] final picks -- we recorded more songs than will actually go on the CD. The release date I'm not positive of, but he sounded like he was ready to mix and release ASAP. I'm looking forward to Seger's CD, too. It's gonna be a good one."

So there you have it. For those of you not up on the technical terms, ASAP is record industry jargon for 'Ala Seger And Punch.' It refers to an indeterminate period of time, usually between two and five years, as in the following example. My Wife: "When are you planning to pick up your tools?" Me: "I'll get to it ASAP."

Of course, for a guy like me, this kind of info just engenders more questions. I wonder what the names of those five tracks might be? I wonder how long it took to record five tracks? Was the whole band there? Did Seger tell her to block out any time for a tour? How do you "appear" on an audio track? She didn't exactly spill her guts. But then, spilling your guts is probably a great way to not get invited to the next recording session.

Based on the above, Jesse -- who is marvelous at predicting when trains will arrive -- foresees an April release. To make it interesting, I predict June, figuring that Seger will finetune into spring, when it's time to take Lightning out and start training for the next Port Huron-Mackinac race.

February 21, 2002


Is It Tomorrow Yet?

In 1998 it was called Forward Into the Past. This summer, after Seger won the Port Huron to Mackinac sailboat race, it was referred to as Face the Promise. And for now, Seger's forthcoming CD might be called Tomorrow. But things change.

Speaking to Detroit News reporter Susan Whitall, Punch "wouldn't confirm the title." Susan Whitall, October 12, 2001, The Detroit News. "Classic Bob Seger tunes remastered into CD form." In a previous radio interview, Seger called "Tomorrow," one of the cuts on the CD, "a real rocker."

What Punch did tell the News is, "He's got a good thing starting, he's got some good songs." No word on whether a Christmas release is still in the works or not.

One of those good songs, presumably, is "It's All Good." According to this month's Sail Magazine, Seger sang a bit of "It's All Good" to his crew mates aboard his boat, Lightning.

The three-paragraph piece also includes a postage stamp photo of Seger on his boat, which I was planning to steal and post here (the photo, not the boat). But it didn't quite seem worth the $3.99 cover price. (I'm saving my money for the box set.) If you really need to see it, do what I did and thumb through the October issue of Sail at Borders.

October 14, 2001  


CD for Xmas, Tour Maybe?

Seger's victory in the Port Huron to Mackinac yacht race gave Detroit reporters a second chance to ask about upcoming album and tour plans. Susan Whitall, who has written often about Seger for The Detroit News, did a piece confirming the news which first surfaced on the WCSX pre-race interview: that is, one more late August recording date, and an album released by Christmas -- hopefully.

"I had a session in March, and I'll have a final session in August, then I go right back to work. I'm writing the last song on the album, we'll record Aug. 23-26, and then it's mixing time. So we're hoping it'll be out by Christmas." Susan Whitall, Detroit News, July 26, 2001. "Seger savors sail race win, plans to finish album soon."

But on the subject of tours, Seger was more equivocal.    

"'We'll see,' Seger says. 'You know how radio is,' referring to the tightly-formatted playlists that give short shrift to the music of veteran performers...But come next May, he'll have to start training for next year's "Mac" race anyway." Susan Whitall, Detroit News, July 26, 2001. "Seger savors sail race win, plans to finish album soon."


 Forward Into...Tomorrow?

The Seger File "Like A Rock" award goes to Diane Burkey for once again filling me in on a live WCSX-FM interview with Seger. According to her report, Seger told listeners that the writing is done and his last studio session is scheduled for August 22 - 26. After that, David Cole comes in and works his magic at Kid Rock's studio in Ortonville. (Founded by who?...c'mon. Amos Orton. Jeez, keep up, will you?). Hopefully, it will be done by Christmas. "Where have we heard that before," Diane adds.

There are many potential working titles, Seger said. (One previously reported working title was "Forward Into the Past." See entries below.) This morning, Seger mentioned a working title taken from a song ("a real rocker," he said) called "Tomorrow."

(Hmm. Anybody remember that old riddle: "What's always coming but never arrives?" Okay, moving on.)

Anyway, if the schedule holds, Seger spoke of a potential tour beginning in January or February.

Part of the conversation concerned the vast number of songs Seger has written and recorded but never released. He estimates the number at 200 -- an amazing 20 albums worth. Plus another 400 songs in the written but not recorded category.

For a quick trip back to the News and Update page, click here.

July 19, 2001


Seger in the Studio...Again

Midday radio personality Patti Genko from WKLH in Milwaukee passes on this blurb from ClassicRockDaily, a radio news service:

"Bob Seger is in the studio working on his followup to 1995's Mystery to Me [sic]. He started recording in Nashville yesterday (Thursday, 3/22). When it came time to find musicians, he followed the lead of country recording artist Montgomery Gentry. Seger liked the sound of their debut album so much that he called in local session musicians who had worked on their album to help him out. No word yet when the album will be released."

Obviously, the normal high standards of radio news service journalism are at work here, as evidenced by the misnamed album. Assuming the rest of the piece is accurate, it's encouraging. In fact, it's a clear sign that the new CD will be released at an undefined point in the indeterminate future. I'm guessing October, because that's when my birthday is. I'm just not sure which year.

March 29, 2001


The Seger File School of Deductive Reasoning and Reckless Speculation

Is there any real news about Seger's new CD? No. But that doesn't stop me from making some up.

It all relates to an email from regular Seger File correspondent Paul Dunn -- which in turn relates to Punch's recent interview on Jim Johnson's morning show on WCSX.

Much of the interview had to do with the remastered Live Bullet and Night Moves CDs. The interview itself is described on the main update page, under What's Old is New.

Since I don't live in or anywhere near Detroit, I don't hear these things firsthand -- so I appreciate the info that comes from readers like Paul Dunn and Diane Burkey, who sent me the summary that appears further below. Today's email confirmed that J.J. pressed Punch to remaster Back In '72 and Smokin' O.P.'s. And in Paul's summary, Punch halfheartedly agreed to this. (Although that's probably as changeable as the weather in Michigan.)

But this is the part of Paul's email that really caught the eye of my coworkers down in the Deductive Reasoning/Reckless Speculation Department. (It's a small department; they share a desk.)

"J.J. never asked Punch how the new CD was coming...I waited faithfully in my van for him to ask (this made me late for an appointment), but he never mentioned it."

Okay, Deductive Reasoning Part 1:

If an interviewer doesn't ask a blatantly obvious question, it's usually because the interviewee has said something like, 'don't ask me about such-and-such' before the show starts.

Deductive Reasoning, Part 2:

If Punch said, "Don't ask me about the new album," that must mean the new album is not moving along as well as hoped. (Duh.)

Reckless Speculation:

In the past, what have Bob and Punch done when the new album wasn't moving along as well as hoped? (Hint: Think back to 1976, when Seger couldn't quite get "Night Moves" to come together.) Answer, they turned their attention to a live album. (I.e., Live Bullet.)

Possible Corroborating Evidence, Or Else Total Red Herring

In early 1997, Punch said he and Seger were working on a live album from Seger's Palace of Auburn Hills shows. But in October 1997, Seger said plans for a live album were on hold, as he was concentrating on a new studio album.

Conclusion:

Tearing down the dams will not save the salmon, and Oregon should reject overtures to privatize highway rest stops, no matter how much Starbucks offers. (And forget about McDonalds.)

Hey, what do you want from me?? Those are perfectly valid conclusions. They just don't happen to flow from the line of logic I was exploring. True, they leave many questions unanswered. Such as, why was Paul listening to the interview in his van? Was it really a van, and not an SUV? Was the person he had the appointment with teed off over his being late? If not, why not?

Okay, seriously...all I'm saying is that at this point it wouldn't surprise me if we got the live album first to hold us over. (No rush, though, guys. The Henley album will hold me for at least two or three months.) Call it a hunch. And remember, past performance is no indication of future accuracy, which is good news, since most of my past hunches have been dead wrong. But enough about me.

As for future remasters, I can only pose the following brain twister:

If the purpose of remastering an album is to improve the sound (and thus increase the listener's pleasure), would it be cricket to completely remove certain sounds (like, for instance, "Sunburst," the obvious chink in the otherwise aural perfection of Night Moves) and replace it with something else, (like, for instance, "Hard to Make It Home," or "Hustled in Nashville," or "Long, Long, Gone.")?

Hearing one of those unreleased tracks from the Night Moves era would certainly increase my listening pleasure. I can see the sticker on the front now. "Includes Unreleased Bonus Track." Who wants to bet it wouldn't be the most successful "remaster/reissue" of all. Why, for something like that, I'd almost be willing to accept government subsidized latte-stands lining I-5, enriching the already flush corporate coffee lords. But I draw the line at making Ronald McDonald our state bird.

May 12, 2000


Tour and Album News

In a phrase, there ain't none. Zero, zip. Why do you ask, anyway? When it's convenient for Marketing to let you know, you'll be notified by a Major Corporation.

Oh, alright, so I'm getting a little testy here. It's just that...well, jeez, rock and roll used to be so spontaneous and loose...now it's all so...I don't know...organized. Maybe it has to be. It might even be our fault (our fault as in us fans, because there's so many of us). After all, nine hundred thousand of us bought tickets to Seger's last tour, and roughly that many bought his last album (I'm guessing here)...and when you've got a market that big, you know, you want to control the information and release it at just the right time. That just makes good sense. Either that, or it's a condescending rationale for command control. Whatever...perhaps the answer lies in the immortal words of Jimmy Buffett, (or was that Warren Buffett?): some people claim that there are lawyers to blame...ahhh, I've probably just had too many mints, those really strong ones: Let's move on.

July 16, 1999


Album/Tour Update from August '98

On Saturday, August 2, Seger appeared for a rare TV interview on Channel 4 in Detroit (WDIV). The interview was part of a special show on the 10th anniversary of the Palace of Auburn Hills. During the interview, Jim Johnson, who does an excellent morning radio show on WCSX in Detroit, talked to Bob about his new album.

Johnson also did a second, 75-minute radio interview with Seger the next morning on WCSX. Johnson later e-mailed me that he used the Seger File to help prepare for the interview and that he "printed out some 40 or 50 pages of the most complete biographical info I have ever seen..." (It's always great when people find the Seger File useful.)

I didn't hear either of the interviews, but various people who did have given me summaries, including one person named Diane (sorry, I don't know your last name, Diane), who e-mailed me the following:

The working title of the new album is Forward Into the Past.

Reportedly, Bob now has 8 songs ready to go, and he's planning to record the album with Don Was producing this fall. Capitol will get the tapes by the first of the year, he said, with release slated for March. Bob also reportedly said that the band will rehearse between January and March, so they'll be ready to tour when the album is released

According to Diane's e-mail, the special also contained a new 'Roll Me Away' video recorded at the Palace during the 6 shows Seger did there in '96.

(Thanks for this update to Diane, Jim Johnson, WCSX and WDIV.)

August 1998


Album Update from May '98

Last May, Seger talked to the Detroit Free Press about the album and the new songs, telling reporter Brian McCollum that "if the writing gods aren't with me," the album could be delayed until next summer. "I can try to force it, but they're going to come when they come, and there's nothing you can do." Brian McCollum , May 19, 1998, Detroit Free Press. "Bob Seger duet for 'Hope Floats' gathered dust for years."

(For those of you keeping track, Seger was earlier shooting for a potential March '98 release date, and then a late 1998 date.)

He has described his new songs as "acoustic with a big beat. I'm using a lot of acoustic guitar and then saving the electric stuff for these real razor solos, kind of like sneak attack songs. And I'm really going for melody this time...trying to get back to good melody." May 14, 1998, The Oakland Press

"I'm always trying to be as heavy as I can be, but I'm really hoping it's going to be more melodic, too. We've got some stuff that's kind of acoustic with a big backbeat.

"You know the Tom Petty song 'Walls'? It's got huge drums, but it's acoustic. Some of this stuff is like that. I love the sound of acoustic instruments -- some piano, some guitar -- then you go into a break with really ferocious electric guitar." Brian McCollum , May 19, 1998, Detroit Free Press. "Bob Seger duet for 'Hope Floats' gathered dust for years."

May 1998

 


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