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New Bob Seger song to be released Monday

of the Oakland Press

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The first taste of Bob Seger's new album is coming on Monday morning.

The Detroit rocker will release his version of Tom Waits' "Downtown Train" to radio stations on Monday, Feb. 28, with a local debut slated for 7:30 a.m. on WCSX-FM (94.7). The station is promoting the premiere on its web site.

Seger has been flying back and forth to Nashville to finish work on the album, whose title and release date have not yet been announced. He kicks off a North American tour on March 26 in Toledo; so far 17 dates have been announced, with multiple Detroit area shows expected to close the tour in mid- and late May.

"Downtown Train" has a unique history in Seger's catalog. He recorded the song -- which Waits released on his 1985 album "Rain Dogs" -- in early 1989 and, during a trip to London that summer, mentioned it to Rod Stewart. Seger remembered that, "The next thing I knew, a month later he recorded "Downtown Train" in London and two months later he recorded it in the same studio I recorded it in Los Angeles."

Stewart's version hit No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1989 and topped the Rock and Adult Contemporary singles charts. It was also nominated for a Grammy Award. Seger opted not to release his version of the song.

Stewart and his representatives have long denied that he stole the idea to record "Downtown Train," and he and the Seger camp exchanged some harsh words over the matter in the press. The feud has settled down over the years, and Stewart offered an olive branch of sorts by recording Seger's "Still the Same" as the title track of his 2006 covers album "Still the Same...Great Rock Classics of Our Time."

Mary Chapin Carpenter, Patti Smyth and Everything But The Girl have also recorded versions of "Downtown Train," while Seger has released his versions of other Waits songs, including "16 Shells From a Thirty-Ought Six" and "New Coat of Paint."

The forthcoming album will be Seger's first since 2009's "Early Seger Vol. 1" and first of all new material since "Face the Promise" in 2006.

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