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George Thorogood at the Riverfront, 5 Things To Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

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George Thorogood, as we all know, is “Bad To The Bone.”

Now he’s cutting as close to the bone as he ever has.

The singer, guitarist and Destroyers leader’s new album, “Party Of One,” comes out Aug. 4 and is, as the title suggest, his first truly solo album ever. It features one-man performances of songs by Robert Johnson, Elmore James, John Lee Hooker, Willie Dixon, Brownie McGhee, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, the Rolling Stones and more. It also coincides with the 40th anniversary of Thorogood’s first album, period.

You won’t find the 67-year-old Delaware native playing solo, however; A “Party Of One” may be fine for the studio, but when Thorogood gets on stage, and it’s time to party as only a rowdy rock band can...

• The idea of a truly solo album was pitched to Thorogood when he signed with Rounder Records back in the mid-70s, but the formation of the Destroyers put that plan on hold. Nevertheless, he says by phone, “It was a foregone conclusion I would someday make a record solo acoustic; I just never seemed to get around to it and time went on and we kept it in mind. I ran into the Rounder people a few years ago. They said, ‘Y’know, you still haven’t done that solo record yet,’ and I said, ‘Well, maybe now’s the time to do it,’ so there you have it.”

• Choosing songs for “Party Of One” was a bit of an issue at first, according to Thorogood, and it took a minute before he arrived at a direction for the album. “Once I got about three or four songs into it I just realized how extremely difficult this is, finding the right material, getting enough songs, finding songs I can play,” he says. “We got about halfway through the record and I said, ‘Let’s try to get a song from every artist that ever influenced me or really meant something to me. Once we went in that direction it got a little bit easier. Once we got that we were able to plunge forward, so to speak.”

• Thorogood says “Party Of One” coming on his 40th anniversary of releasing records is “total coincidence. I’ve been working on this thing for a couple of years. They didn’t rush me, I didn’t rush it. I had other touring obligations and things like that, so I would have to stop doing the record and do various other things. Besides, when you plan things it never works out that way -- not with me, anyway.”

• Thorogood acknowledges that there a playing challenge in recording “Party Of One.” “I’ve been playing ‘Bad To The Bone’ and ‘Get A Haircut’ for so long, that’s all I know how to play,” he explains. “I had to regroup my hands to do these (acoustic) things. There was a point where I said, ‘I don’t know if I can finish this. It was more than I bargained for.”

• Thorogood says there will be no sequel to “Party Of One,” and he’s considering another album with the Destroyers, its first since 2011’s “2120 South Michigan Ave.” “That’s one thing that’s always going to be in the back of your mind, probably until they throw you in the ground,” Thorogood says. “Whether you do it or not, that’s another thing. But I want to.”

If You Go

• George Thorogood & the Destroyers

• 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 21.

• Rockin’ on the Riverfront series behind the GM Renaissance Center, downtown Detroit.

• Admission is free.

• Visit gmrencen.com.

Web Site: www.gmrecen.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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