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New Paul McCartney album is coup for Detroit's Third Man Pressing

By Gary Graff
ggraff@medianewsgroup.com, @GraffonMusic on Twitte

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Jack White's Third Man Records and the Detroit-based Third Man Pressing has been associated with a number of undeniably cool projects with artists such as Prince, Billie Eilish, the Stooges and others.

But pressing North American vinyl copies of Paul McCartney's upcoming "McCartney III," due out Dec. 18, vaults to the top of the heap.

Third Man Pressing's Cass Corridor plant was tapped for the project after a surprise visit by one of the Beatles alumnus' managers to the company's Nashville headquarters in spring.

"The store wasn't open yet," says Third Man's Ben Blackwell, "and this guy knocked on the door and (an employee) came back and said, 'Hey, there's this guy at the front door and he says he's Paul McCartney's manager.'

"I instantly Googled 'Paul McCartney manager' and he said his name and we're like, 'That's him!' So I gave him a walk around the place."

Blackwell initially pitched the idea of having McCartney play a show at Third Man Nashville after the pandemic passed, which could be recorded for a special live album. Then the call came to have Third Man press the vinyl versions of "McCartney III."

"They called and said, 'We want Third Man involved,' and we were like, 'You mean, like, a live show?'" Blackwell recalls with a laugh. "And they're like, 'No, man, we want you guys to do a (special) version of the album.' That was pretty amazing. It wasn't what we expected."

Third Man is producing several different editions of the album including a limited-edition of colored-vinyl copies, and an even more rare presentation that recycles crushed vinyl from copies of the "McCartney" and "McCartney II" albums into pressings of "McCartney III." There will be only 333 copies of the latter, sold only via Third Man's online stores.

"We wanted our (pressing) to be something special and really showcase what we can do," Blackwell says. "This past year we did stuff with a lot of crazy, crazy artists that I never would have in a million years thought we'd get an opportunity to release records with. When it happens, I've just got to pinch myself and remind myself that not every label is this cool."

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