Reggae legends UB40 will release a brand new country-influenced record this summer.
The band, one of the most successful acts ever to come out of Birmingham, are putting the finishing touches to the brand new record which will include a combination of new material and classic country music covers.
It will include seven new songs, the first new UB40 material in four years since the 2008 release of TwentyFourSeven, the last studio album to feature original lead vocalist Ali Campbell who quit the band that year.
Saxophonist Brian Travers told Brum Notes Magazine the new album would combine country music while still retaining UB40’s trademark reggae sound.
“It’s a country-influenced album,” he said. “It’s reggae, it’s our kind of reggae and I know it sounds like a musical crime but the reality of it is, it’s beautiful.
“Country music is just poor white people’s reggae in America really, that and Cajun music. It does the same service that reggae does in the West Indies and in Britain, you know, and in America, it’s the people’s music and the two go together beautifully.
“We couldn’t be happier. Whether we have a hit record or not is another thing, but who has hits now?
“I’ve written seven songs for it, seven originals, and there’ll be five or six beautiful classics, not the most obvious classics but they’re coming out wonderfully.”
He added the band were hoping to “move on” from their much-publicised recent financial problems but said the new album was now nearly ready to be released.
“I think it will be out for the summer, this summer,” he said. “We took a long time over it, we’ve had a few problems over the past few years you know with unscrupulous business partners and stuff but, hey, that’s life. Everybody has problems, you just move on if you can.
“It won’t be through lack of energy or desire to do it well. If you make music you have a responsibility to do it the best you possibly can out of respect for the people that have paid in to see you or are buying your record and if that’s the number one rule, don’t take yourself too seriously but take the work seriously, that’s a good starting place, and if you like it, then surely other people are going to like it. Not everybody, but there are going to be people that agree with you for the sounds you’re making.”
He refused to reveal which covers would be on the album but fans have already tipped Willie Nelson’s Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain to be included, after the band performed the track during live dates in Europe earlier this year.
UB40 are one of the word’s biggest-selling musical acts having sold more than 70 million records since forming in Birmingham in 1978.