Peter Wolf's Rootsy New Album Midnight Souvenirs Captures Late Night Magical Moments
Midnight Souvenirs...the heartbeat of secret love behind closeddoors...whispers in the dark long after the lights go downlow...melodies drifting in from a downtown honky-tonk. It's the beginning...or the end...and anything goes. Midnight Souvenirs, Peter Wolf's seventh solo album is a continuation of the singer-songwriter's distinctive and eclectic tales that brighten and interpret a world gone noir.
Following in the tracks of Wolf's Sleepless, which was honored by Rolling Stone Magazine as one of the '500 greatest albums of all-time,' the new collection gives hope to the love-wounded and promises “there's
still time for the midnight wine,” even if “sometimes you heal, sometimes you're scarred.”
Featuring duets with country legend and national treasure Merle Haggard, the soulfully transcending dynamic award winner Shelby Lynne, and the haunting and majestic voice of Neko Case, Midnight Souvenirs integrates and embraces rock, R & B, blues, folk and country in a way that has distinguished Wolf's storied career. Measurable are his decades as the leader and frenzied focal figure of the J. Geils Band, with whom he showcased his talents on such hits as “Centerfold,” “Freeze Frame,” “Love Stinks” and “Musta Got Lost.”
Wolf's musical roots precede rock and roll, and are personally entwined with friendships and performers such as the late Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker, Aretha Franklin and Van Morrison. His talents have continued into the music of tomorrow with tours and on-stage antics with the Rolling Stones, U2, Kid Rock,
and Bruce Springsteen.
Midnight Souvenirs was packed fair and square in the studio by Wolf and Kenny White, who also co-produced Sleepless and 1998's Fools Parade, celebrated as one of the "50 most influential albums of the '90s" by Rolling Stone Magazine. Much like the material on those two discs, the majority of the new songs were co-written with Oscar winner Will Jennings, whose pen yielded Eric Clapton's “Tears From Heaven,” Steve Winwood's “Higher Love,” and Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warens duet “Up Where We Belong.”
Also contributing to the album were songwritersAngelo Petraglia and Taylor Rhodes, whose songs have been recorded by Kings of Leon and Aerosmith. The 14 songs on the album range from the country blues of “Tragedy”—with Shelby Lynne—and the hard-rockin' “The Night Comes Down” (dedicated to the late Willy DeVille) to the bittersweet texture of “It's Too Late For Me” with Merle Haggard, and the punchline impact of vintage Philly roots R & B on “Overnight Lows.” Wolf and Neko Case deliver an eternal bouquet on “The Green Fields of
The timelessness of Midnight Souvenirs spans decades and musical genres and travels into the after hours of silhouetted smoky clubs, as well as to the deep Delta of America’s South with its sounds of shake, rattle and roll. "I never obsess about the commercial aspectof my music, just like with my artwork," says Wolf, also an accomplishedpainter whose art world connections have included Norman Rockwell, Mark Rothko, Andy Warhol and Director David Lynch.
"What matters is if the painting is interesting to keep or show to somebody. It's the same with the songs; you hope people will make an emotional connection. I absorb the influences and reshape them," he says. "The act of creation is what gives meaning to my life and keeps me going—in music and in art." That passion was evident, as Wolf pursued the project in studios from Boston to New York to Los Angeles.
Night after night of midnight wine and of setting the scenes for the melodies of lost love, backroom laments and new expectations. Midnight Souvenirs...the black leather pants and high-topped boots that minutes ago walked the rain-splattered streets are now piled on an overstuffed chair. In the deep background is the love of love and the love of music. Hear these nocturnal souvenirs...in fourteen soul-stirring segments of sound.