Peter Gabriel’s Up, his first collection of new songs in
ten years, is scheduled for release on September 24th. Basic tracks were recorded as early as 1996, with sessions at Real World in England, Youssou N’Dour’s facility in Senegal and a studio in France. Gabriel’s regular band — bassist Tony Levin, drummer Manu Katche and guitarist David Rhodes — returned for the album, along with guests including acoustic bassist Danny Thompson (Richard Thompson, Nick Drake), the Blind Boys of Alabama, the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, former Fleetwood Mac guitarist Peter Green
and Daniel Lanois.
Gabriel has placed some song samples on
www.petergabriel.com for fans to preview and has been
offering occasional updates on the album’s progress. Despite its
title, Up is a collection of mostly somber songs, focusing
“more at the beginning and the end of life than the middle,”
Gabriel said. He attributes the tone to his brother-in-law’s death
from cancer, the deaths of other friends and the aging of his
parents. “Death has definitely been more present in the last ten
years,” he explained.
Among the songs previewed is “More Than This,” a meditation on
the possibility of life after death, which features collaborations
with the Blind Boys and multi-instrumentalist/producer Jon Brion
(Fiona Apple, Aimee Mann). Other highlights include the first
single, “The Barry Williams Show,” which has nothing to do with the
Brady Bunch star of the same name. Instead the song is a
lively satire that takes on Jerry Springer and company with a
relentlessly funky rhythm.
Up also contains two previously heard songs. There’s a
slightly updated version of “I Grieve,” which debuted on the
City of Angels soundtrack, and “Signal to Noise,”
featuring impassioned vocals by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, which sounds
vastly different from when Gabriel performed it live several years
While engineer Tchad Blake (Los Lobos, Sheryl Crow) finishes
post-production on Up, Gabriel and the band are rehearsing
for a winter tour.