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Kid Rock Comes Home As New Album Looms

of the Oakland Press

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There’s no doubt plenty of Kid Rock classics will surely be played during the hometown hero’s three sold-out shows this weekend at the DTE Energy Music Theatre — known as “Pine Bob” for his frequent guest appearances there. But lately he’s been staving off a feeding frenzy of questions about his new music.

“I hate this part of the process,” Rock said about the forthcoming “Born Free” album — his follow-up to 2007’s triple-platinum “Rock N Roll Jesus” — during Billboard magazine’s Music and Advertising conference in June, where he was the keynote speaker. “It’s much easier to let people just hear it.”

When that will happen is uncertain; originally tipped for a Sept. 7 release, the album is now being listed for November. But people are certainly hearing about what Rock called “a rock ‘n’ roll record ... very organic the way it was cut. What a concept — musicians in the studio playing and singing at the same time.”

And what has been revealed so far is formidable. The album was produced by Grammy Award-winner Rick Rubin and recorded mostly in Los Angeles with players including Metallica’s James Hetfield on guitar, the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Chad Smith (a fellow Detroiter) on drums and Benmont Tench from Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers on keyboards. Rock has confirmed collaborations with Bob Seger and “Picture” partner Sheryl Crow (“Collide”), country singer Martina McBride and rapper T.I. (“Care”), Zac Brown (“Flying High”) and Trace Adkins on “a rocky blues shuffle thing.” Lil Wayne, Jay-Z and Eminem are among others rumored to appear on the set, while the first single, the title track to “Born Free,” is expected to be released soon.

“Everybody just came together,” Rock (real name Bob Ritchie) said of the sessions. “That’s what I love about making music ... We don’t do records that, ‘What station are we gonna get it played on? What’s this and what’s that?’... I think if I started to do that, people would start to run from me and not believe it anymore.”

While the world waits for more firm news, and music, on “Born Free,” Rock is being heard on the new Uncle Kracker single, “Good to Be Me,” which Rock produced. “I don’t cross my fingers much,” Rock said, “but I’ve got my fingers crossed on that one ’cause he’s my best buddy and it’d be special to have a (hit) song together.” Meanwhile, he’s also mulling over what kind of touring he wants to do in support of the new album.

“I’m not sure if I want to exactly when the record goes,” he explained. “I’ve always thought about putting a record out and maybe sitting back and letting it soak in on the fan base rather than going out and playing it the day it comes out, when everyone hasn’t had a chance to soak it in yet.

“That’s what I’m thinking now — but it could all change tomorrow.”

Kid Rock performs at 7 p.m. Friday through Sunday (Aug. 13-15) at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Blackberry Smoke and Ty Stone open Friday and Saturday. Tickets are sold out. Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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