Ray Davies Says Upcoming Americana Album Is "the Biggest Record Project I’ve Ever Attempted"

Lorne Thomson/Redferns
Lorne Thomson/Redferns

Ray Davies says he’s “started being embroiled” by the latest solo album he’s working on, Americana, which is inspired by his 2013 memoir of the same name. The founding Kinks frontman tells U.K. magazine Mojo that he considers it “the biggest record project I’ve ever attempted.”

“It’s a real challenge,” he declares. “You adapt books into films and stage plays, but it’s very unusual to adapt a book into a record. I’m very excited and daunted. I don’t think it’s going to be like anything else I’ve ever done.”

Davies began recording Americana late last year with members of his touring band, and is planning to release it sometime in 2016. The album includes songs that date back as many as 10 years, and includes songs titled “Rock ‘n’ Roll Cowboys,” “A Long Drive Home to Tarzana” and “The Deal.” A number of the tunes feature lyrics that appeared in the Americana book.

Ray tells Mojo that some of the songs feature music inspired by such American genres as New Orleans jazz, while maintaining that he’s “not attempting to copy the American style. It’s an homage, and to do with my journey as a person so I want to keep as much of me still in it.”

Davies also reveals that rather than play traditional concerts to support the Americana album, he wants to present it as a “well staged and minimalist” theatrical production.

He reports that he already did a basic presentation of the show in early 2015, “using rear projections [and] spoken word.” Ray adds, “It’s not going have a pit band…It’ll be something I can do with five, six people.”

As for the possibility of a Kinks reunion, Davies says he isn’t sure if one is in the cards, but maintains that “if it happens, it will happen very suddenly, without great hoopla…We’ll do it on a whim, if at all.”

Meanwhile, Ray says he would love to get his surviving band mates “to play a few guest spots on Americana.”

In addition, Davies reports that he’s working on a short book that’s a sequel to the 1969 Kinks concept album Arthur (or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire), while noting that he also would like to bring that project to the stage.

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