After a brief hiatus, the wallflowers return with a triumphant new album.It’s been 20 years since The Wallflowers released their debut album, and in that time the music industry has seen cataclysmic changes and massive upheavals.
“The record business may have changed, but the band business hasn’t,” says frontman Jakob Dylan. “We still tour and go out and play for people and connect with them — and that’s where the good stuff always was anyhow. No one can mess with that.”
Dylan and the rest of The Wallflowers, who include longtime members Rami Jaffee and Greg Richling, are back in the band business again, having just released Glad All Over (Columbia, $15), the group’s first album in seven years.
In 2005 — after five studio LPs, Grammy honors and much commercial success — the band was quietly put on hold. The band members each pursued different projects; Dylan made two excellent solo albums, Jaffee toured with The Foo Fighters and Richling worked as a producer and session player. The Wallflowers eventually resumed touring in 2009, but it wasn’t until this January that the guys finally managed to clear their schedules and get into the studio.
Decamping to Nashville, Tenn.’s Easy Eye Sound, the studio owned by The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, they set to work on crafting a new kind of record. “In the past, I’d bring in the bulk of the material,” Dylan says. “But on this record, we agreed to try a different way: Let’s make a lot of noise in the studio and let the songs develop on the spot.”
Produced by Music City veteran Jay Joyce and aided by guitarist Stuart Mathis and drummer Jack Irons (as well as the odd guest, like The Clash’s Mick Jones), the album features a batch of burnished roots-pop songs that equal The Wallflowers’ past high watermarks like 1996’s Bringing Down the Horse and 2000’s (Breach). The interplay between Dylan’s soulful baritone, Jaffee’s keening organ and Richling’s supple bass lines remains as potent as ever. Dylan credits the group’s innate chemistry.
“The power of that can’t be overestimated,”? he says. “When you put the three of us in a room together, something happens that can’t be reproduced with anyone else. It’s singular.”
With the release of Glad All Over and a long support tour planned, The Wallflowers’ future looks promising.
“We’ve proved to one another the commitment to the group is there for as long as we want,” Dylan says. “What will happen after this record? I hope there’s more. I don’t see why it would stop.”