Per a press release, the stripped-back album counts JJ Cale, Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen among its influences, and came about after Wyman found approximately 60 unreleased songs while archiving old demos last year. He reworked five of those tracks, placing them alongside eight new songs.
Wyman was joined in the studio by guitarist, and longtime collaborator, Terry Taylor, as well as Guy Fletcher, Graham Broad and Robbie McIntosh. The album was co-produced by Andy Wright (Jeff Beck, Eurythmics).
Back to Basics marks Wyman’s first solo album since his 1982 self-titled effort and is only his fourth solo release overall. “Initially I thought I’m a bit old for this,” Wyman noted in the statement. “But then I thought all the old blues musicians played till they dropped so why don’t I give it a go.”
Despite the significant gap in solo material, Wyman has regularly toured and recorded with his band, the Rhythm Kings. He’s also composed for TV and film, penned several books, held photo exhibitions, patented his own metal detector, and, in 2013, released, Bill Wyman’s Scrapbook. The latter was a limited edition coffee-table book filled with images from his London childhood up through his final full show with the Rolling Stones in 1990.
“I’ve always been interested in multiple things since I was a teenager,” Wyman told Rolling Stone in 2013 of his Renaissance man ways. “I’ve always been interested in ancient cultures, archaeology, astronomy, photography, art – and as I grew up, I tried to learn more and embellish those things by reading books and documentaries and films.
“When I was in the band for 30 years, that was very difficult, because I didn’t have the opportunity to spend much time doing that. But I did meet great artists in France, like Marc Chagall. I learned about art and I met historians. I met scientists. And I went to look at the stars in observatories, and it just opened my life to many, many different other aspects.”