Collective Soul’s silver anniversary year will be a celebration of their ongoing legacy in all-out style with a little bit of the classic and a lot of the new.
Not only have they already announced their Summer “Now’s The Time Tour” with Gin Blossoms, but in keeping with the Atlanta band’s theme of 2019, “now’s the time” to also let fans know that their tenth highly anticipated studio album, Blood, will be released June 21 on Fuzze-Flex Records/ADA.
“’Right As Rain’ is a phrase I had for a while,” says singer/guitarist/keyboardist E Roland. “It was one my grandmother used to tell me about–one of those old Southern things, you know? ‘C’mon, I’m gonna spank you right as rain!’ I never really knew what it meant (laughs). While I was writing it, Peter Stroud (Sheryl Crow’s lead guitarist and musical director) was home one day in Atlanta, and we invited him over to play the slide-guitar solo on the song for us. We all just sat around together and jammed it out.”
From stem to stern, Blood delivers in full. Witness the hard-charging skitter of “Over Me,” the optimistic declaration of “Right as Rain,” the hopeful uplift of a man “Changed,” and the tender promise of “Big Sky.” The album’s final track — the reflective, poignant acoustified coda “Porch Swing” — features background vocals and tasteful dobro licks from none other than Styx guitarist/vocalist Tommy Shaw, who was beyond thrilled to contribute to the cause. “I’ve always been a fan of E Roland and Collective Soul’s recordings,” Shaw says. “I thought about adding more parts than what Ed asked me to do, but as someone wiser than me once said, ‘Don’t paint over the masterpiece!’”
Blood is the culmination of a quarter-century of Collective Soul–E Roland (vocals/guitar), Dean Roland (rhythm guitar), Will Turpin (bass/background vocals), Jesse Triplett (lead guitar/background vocals), Johnny Rabb (drums/background vocals)– assessing not only where they’ve come from, but also where they’re going. “I think Blood expresses where we’ve been on this life journey,” observes E Roland. “And we’ve done so with songs featuring piano and strings to those with a lot of guitar riffs. Blood is an accumulation of all the different styles we’ve used over the years, but it’s still Collective Soul. I think it’s the best we’ve ever done. I know you should think that, but I really do think it’s the best. It’s a good, consistent record. We’re just so proud of it.”
While the album title, Blood, maybe evoke many different thoughts and ideas, for the band, it all comes down to one word: family.
“So much of it is based on the camaraderie-ship of the band,” Roland explains. “All of us basically have children, and my brother Dean just had a baby girl. Jesse’s the only one who doesn’t have kids, but he’s basically a baby, in age anyway. My brother’s in the band so there’s blood there, but the five us — it’s a family.”
Indelibly memorable tracks like “December,” “The World I Know,” “Gel,” “Heavy,” and “Precious Declaration” (to name but a few) all evoke a collective sense of heartfelt observational universality and earnest positivity — in short, they’re the jukebox heroes of a new generation. Indeed, the secret sauce to Collective Soul’s continued success story is a simple one: a palpable mixture of insightful songwriting and impeccable band chemistry.
From the very beginning of the band’s career, Roland always had his eye on the prize. “When ‘Shine’ came out, we got asked, ‘What’s your goal with this band?’ I said, ‘I want to have a whole row of Collective Soul recordings on the shelf.’ That was my goal,” he recounts. “Me, I always wanted to see the full body of work. That’s all I ever wanted. I knew I could write, and as the band progressed and got better, that’s why we wanted to keep going. I don’t think we ever doubted it. We, as the artists — we had no fear. The guys in the band have enough faith in my songwriting, and I have faith in them.”
Track listing for Blood:
1. Now’s The Time
2. Over Me
4. Right As Rain
5. Them Blues
6. Good Place To Start
7. Observation Of Thoughts
9. Big Sky
10. Porch Swing