The music career that launched Kinks co-founder Ray Davies to the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame has its roots in the boyhood fascination he had with America while growing up in Great Britain.
And to help him make the new album that chronicles his love-hate relationship with the USA, Davies called on Minnesota country-rock stalwarts the Jayhawks.
The Jayhawks say their role as Davies' backing band on the forthcoming Americana has been a secret for a year. But they let that secret out on Monday when National Public Radio released one of the tunes from Americana, titled "Poetry."
"Poetry" is an ode to American materialism. It reflects the same kind of ambivalence toward the U.S. Davies wrote about in his 2013 memoirAmericana: The Kinks, the Riff, the Road: The Story.
The announcement about the new album – Davies' first in nine years – says it will be released on April 21 and will include some spoken word passages from his book.
We actually should be calling him Sir Ray Davies, since he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth at the end of 2016.
Jayhawks getting ready to tour
Last week the Jayhawks were named as one of the bands that will help re-open St. Paul's Palace Theater, a former vaudeville house the city is renovating. That March 11 show comes before the band launches a full-scale tour in April in support of their latest album Paging Mr. Proust.
As for last year's secret recording sessions with Davies at the London studios founded by the Kinks, Jayhawks frontman Gary Louris told Mojo in an upcoming interview, “To stand with [Davies] and sing a harmony was incredible because he’s one of my heroes.”
Americana can be pre-ordered here.