William Shatner has tackled everything from prog rock to country to Christmas music during his long career as a recording artist, and on his upcoming LP he’s broadening out yet again into the blues.
Titled simply The Blues, the album (due October 2nd) features guest spots from Brad Paisley (“Sweet Home Chicago”), Jeff “Skunk” Baxter (“Smokestack Lightnin'”), Steve Cropper (“Route 66”) and Pat Travers (“I Put a Spell on You”). Wednesday, Shatner is out with “The Thrill Is Gone,” featuring Deep Purple’s Ritchie Blackmore on guitar and his wife, musician Candice Night, on background vocals.
Shatner’s musical career dates back to 1968’s The Transformed Man, which was released when the original Star Trek series was still on the air. It features surreal takes on Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man” and the Beatles’ “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” that helped earn it a cult following and placement on several lists of the worst albums of all time.
He followed it up with 1977’s William Shatner Live, which was recorded at his one-man show. He didn’t seriously return to music until 2004’s Has Been, which was produced by Ben Folds and contains a rendition of Pulp’s “Common People” that many fans enjoyed unironically, even Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker.
Shatner’s recent albums have been genre exercises stacked with guest stars like Rick Wakeman, Sheryl Crow, Peter Frampton and Dave Davies.
Shatner is less than a year away from his 90th birthday, but remains quite active. “I am lucky to be in good health,” he told Rolling Stone in 2013. “I ride a lot of horses. I went riding in the 100-degree heat this morning. I pity the people who retire. What does it mean to retire? Did they not like their work and at the age of 65 decided to get out of there? What a waste of a life. I am thoroughly enjoying my life and my work right now. I am blissful.”
The Blues Tracklist
1. “Sweet Home Chicago” feat. Brad Paisley
2. “I Can’t Quit You Baby” feat. Kirk Fletcher
3. “Sunshine of Your Love” feat. Sonny Landreth
4. “The Thrill Is Gone” feat. Ritchie Blackmore
5. “Mannish Boy” feat. Ronnie Earl
6. “Born Under a Bad Sign” feat. Tyler Bryant
7. “I Put A Spell on You” feat. Pat Travers
8. “Crossroads” feat. James Burton
9. “Smokestack Lightnin’” feat. Jeff “Skunk” Baxter
10. “As the Years Go Passing By” feat. Arthur Adams
11. “Let’s Work Together” feat. Harvey Mandel & Canned Heat
12. “Route 66” feat. Steve Cropper
13. “In Hell I’ll Be in Good Company” feat. Albert Lee
14. “Secrets Or Sins”