Rob Halford says that he has accumulated enough material for his debut blues solo album. The JUDAS PRIEST singer is collaborating with the same team that assisted him during the making of his 2019 Christmas LP "Celestial", including his brother Nigel and his nephew Alex (son of PRIEST bassist Ian Hill).
Speaking to Kyle Meredith, Halford said about his upcoming blues record (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I love the blues. Everything comes from the blues. Rock and roll, it all starts with the blues. And what a great style of music that is.
"I've been working on — well, I say I, my brother, Nigel, and my nephew Alex, Ian Hill's son, on bass, and our friend [Jon] Blakey on guitar, those guys have been putting together the foundations for quite a while now," he continued. "We have enough material to make a record. I've just gotta find the words and put the voice on it at some point.
"The only thing that I threw at the guys was do what you feel you wanna do in terms of ideas. I did give 'em a list of some of my favorite blues styles and blues performers as a little bit of a template for the guys to bounce off of.
"It's all in [my] phone — I've got the album in this phone — and it's great. It's gonna be a special moment, 'cause I've always wanted to make a blues record.
"So, when time allows, and it's been very, very tough for so many musicians with what we've been dealing with with the COVID pandemic, and the glorious waiting-to-launch 50th-anniversary PRIEST tour and another PRIEST record, then we'll get into the blues [album]."
According to Rob, his upcoming blues album will be a varied effort covering a host of different styles and sounds. "You could go into one specific area and stay in that place and focus [on that and make] little subtle changes here and there, but much like the 'Celestial' album, I think this effort should just be a little texture of every taste of all these different blues flavors," he explained.
As for how his lyrical approach will be different for his blues album compared to the songs he writes for PRIEST, Halford said: "The blues is the blues. We all feel the blues, but you can have the happy blues as well as the sad blues, and you can have all of these characters in blues. The opportunities for stories for some of them, similar to the PRIEST inventions of fantasy, like the Sentinel or the Painkiller or any of those great characters that were created. You can throw your lyrics wherever you wanna throw them if they're connecting with the music.
"Messages in music are vital, 'cause we like to hear stories that we can relate to or attach ourselves to, in reality or in fantasy," he continued. "So that's gonna be an adventure for me. I love to sit down with a pencil and a piece of paper, 'cause that's how I do it, and just think. I have an idea, and I just throw some bullet words down instantly, and that's how the seeds start to grow."
A few years ago, Rob stated about his interest in making a blues record: "When I first became a musician in my late teens, I started to hear the extraordinary roots of the blues — Bessie Smith, Little Walter, Howling Wolf, Muddy Waters. They gave me the buzz… It's something I want to do because I want to explore what my voice can do in that wonderful world. That's how I learned to do a lot of that soaring, sweeping, and screeching. And also I discovered that I've got a voice that can go in different octaves, directions, and different kinds of projections. It's a combination of a sense of adventure and just being inspired by those guys, those wonderful singers. It's a mixture of everything but mainly a discovery of what the voice can do."
Back in 2015, Halford told Newsday.com that he was interested in recording a blues album and pursuing other non-heavy metal projects because he wanted to find out what his voice can do. He said: "I've always felt that [the blues is] very much a part of my background and musical roots. I don't know what kind of blues album I could do because there are so many different facets [to explore]. Maybe I'll just mix it up. As far as stuff out of the metal world, I'm a fan of people like Michael Bublé and Michael Feinstein. I've always been a fan of [Frank] Sinatra and Tony Bennett and Elvis [Presley]. I'd love to hear what my voice would sound like in that kind of musical mix, with wind instruments, trumpets and sax, piano, just that big-band sound."
Halford credited his vocal versatility and ability to take his voice in "different directions" as the main reason he was "so interested in trying these other opportunities." He said: I think if I had a voice that was different to what it is and was a little more in one focus, maybe I wouldn't be as adventurous about my ideas. But because my voice is able to do those different things, it's instinctive and natural to see what else I can do."
Halford released his autobiography, "Confess", last September via Hachette Books.