Videos by American Songwriter
John Fogerty’s new album Wrote A Song For Everyone finds the celebrated rock veteran collaborating with a who’s who list of friends and admirers — including Miranda Lambert, Alan Jackson, Foo Fighters, Bob Seger, Jennifer Hudson, Brad Paisley, Kid Rock, Dawes and My Morning Jacket. The album is due May 28 on Vanguard Records. Read our review here.
In a press statement, Fogerty mused on the album’s title. “Every now and then, I did try and write a song for everyone, but it would all start because I would feel something deeply and personally that would mean a lot to me,” he says. “Something in the world would strike me as being bad or tragic or unfair like in `Fortunate Son’ and so I would get pissed off in a way that was very personal. Then as I was in the writing process, I would try to make the statement larger than just myself and so, in a way, universal. But it wasn’t ever calculating. I couldn’t write commercials and jingles. I just began to think of ways to make the songs larger than myself, and they just seemed to get bigger.”
Check out Fogerty’s track by track explanation of each song below.
FOO FIGHTERS (“Fortunate Son”)
I am a rock & roll kid. I grew up on mainstream AM rock and roll as rock and roll was being born. I heard some Sun, some Chess from Chicago, and suddenly there was Elvis was on Ed Sullivan and everyone knew what rock was. When you walk in the room and the Foo Fighters are blasting away, and you’re standing next to Dave Grohl and singing “Fortunate Son” you feel you’re at the center of everything. It feels like you’re exactly where the flag of rock & roll should be planted. I’ve gotten to know Dave a little bit, and we even sat down one day and wrote some, and I’m here to say that he and his band really are carrying the flag of rock and roll today. There are no bones about it – and I’m glad he’s the one doing it. Dave has hit the rock and roll bulls-eye.
JENNIFER HUDSON (“Proud Mary”)
“Proud Mary” is a song with a lot of history. And Jennifer hits it out of the park here. This version is an interesting arrangement that means a lot to me. It started with another song of mine that I was trying to rearrange and do in a New Orleans style. My wife suggested I try that with “Proud Mary” and it made so much sense and worked so beautifully. The lovely thing is that Jennifer is who she is – she’s so full of heart and soul. There are a lot of people who sing well in this world, but Jennifer gets in front of a microphone and it isn’t like anyone else in the world. She’s one of a kind and I’m just glad to capture it on this song.
ALAN JACKSON (“Have You Ever Seen The Rain?”)
I’m a huge fan of Alan’s, and have been one for a long, long time. He always seemed tied to that Golden Age when lots of country records were also rock & roll record — starting with “Blue Suede Shoes.” Alan’s sound is rooted in that golden age. In my mind, everyone would approve — the great country artists and the great rockers. I was a little intimidated, but it turned out I didn’t have to worry – he liked me too. I had lived in Nashville for a year around the turn of the century, and we recorded in this place I had passed many times called The Castle just south of Nashville. That’s where Alan made his sound. He had his producer Keith Stegall there. This was his team and cats like Brent Mason. We did “Have You Ever Seen The Rain” and I’d see his mic technique, and his sound sent chills up my spine. It blew my friggin’ mind to be there getting that Alan Jackson sound.
BOB SEGER (“Who’ll Stop The Rain”)
We met once at one of my shows way, way back, and then he came to see me in Detroit in the 90s. He had stepped back from music then, and he was more into sailing at that point. I don’t think I was bold enough to ask him to do something, but his wife was elbowing him. He didn’t seem that interested and I understood that because I went through my own long period of not wanting to make music and join the human race again. I understood. When you’re ready, you’re ready. Generally, if someone is good and can do it and isn’t, there are some pretty good reasons, and you have to respect that. How does he sound? He sounds great. We recorded at Blackbird in Nashville, he was strumming and singing “Who’ll Stop The Rain” and once I heard that, I knew we needed to get that spirit rather than just remake the Creedence record. I was hearing the voice of Job alone with a guitar, and we needed to start there. He strums unusually and soulfully, and the chords sounded almost like “Night Moves.”
BRAD PAISLEY (“Hot Rod Heart”)
I revere Brad because he’s so incredibly musical. I revere him more like the older artists who I look up to – which is funny because he’s a lot younger than me. We had met before and traded licks, and I knew he was a gear head like me. I told him how I loved his instrumental album Play – which is something I had thought about doing. I knew he loved great cars and old guitars and played the heck out of them. He suggested doing “Hot Rod Heart” from my 1997 album Blue Moon Swamp – which was so cool. Most people would pick one of the big monsters. Brad told me when he was 13 he played “Centerfield” at some festival. He turned it into a Tele song. This is kind of a new golden age for country guitar guys, and Brad deserves lots of credit for that.
KID ROCK (“Born on the Bayou”)
I’ve gotten to know Kid Rock a little bit more over the last few months and he’s a delightful guy. Bob Seger kept talking about Kid Rock, and eventually we went to his place in LA and got this done. “Born on the Bayou” came out really cool. There’s a little vocal thing Kid Rock does that seems to work for the ladies. My wife loves that one – so that made me a little jealous. I think she thought the way Kid Rock sang the song was a little sexier than when I do it alone.
MIRANDA LAMBERT (“Wrote a Song For Everyone”)
The first cut we actually did was with Miranda, who I have become a huge fan of in recent years. These are all people who I buy their records. I like what they do. So the fact that they feel the same way means so much to me. Somehow Miranda found a day to do this the weekend before her latest album was coming out. Her calendar was totally full, yet she penciled me in and I was touched that she insisted on finding the time to work with me in the middle of all the demands coming her way. I got to do a number with The Pistol Annies at the House of Blues in Los Angeles, and it was like jamming with Patsy Cline — a power trio of Patsy Clines, actually!
KEITH URBAN (“Almost Saturday Night”)
I’ve known Keith a while now. We did a CMT Crossroads together about 2005, and I was honored he wanted to do it with me. It took me a while to say yes, as it usually does, and I’m glad I did since we had a blast. I have known Keith so long that my wife was giving Keith dating advice – before he met Nicole. Keith is just a great singer and guitar player, and a great guy too. We did something together for Neil Young at his MusicCares event and we had a blast doing “Almost Saturday Night” which was on my 1975 solo album John Fogerty, and keeps coming back to life over the years.
DAWES (“Someday Never Comes”)
I think that was Bill Bentley at Vanguard’s idea, originally. I confess I didn’t really know Dawes, but now I’m very glad that I do. I liked their records, but even so, once we got together in the studio, they had a lot more music in them than I ever expected. Dawes is the kind of the new country rock folk band that I’m coming to discover and appreciate through my kids. The guys really impressed me as solid musicians who were willing and able to explore. Our version of “Someday Never Comes” turned out really nice, and the two brothers – Taylor and Griffin Goldsmith — do that brother thing like the Everly Brothers, and that always works for me.
MY MORNING JACKET (“Long as I Can See the Light”)
I’d listened to a few of My Morning Jacket songs, and been hearing how great they are for years. But they were thrilled like kids to record together, and when we got together at Blackbird, so was I. I think when people hear our version of “Long as I Can See the Light” they will be pleasantly surprised. It’s not exactly like the original — it’s clearly an artistic vision – and a really great record with such a vibe about it. I love it. They choose an interesting song and brought a real vibe and character and soul to it. This is very fresh and different from the original, but true to the spirit too.