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Billy Gibbons says he “[kept] the ball rolling up Blues Avenue” for his new solo album, “The Big Bad Blues”

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Concord RecordsEverybody’s favorite sharp-dressed, long-bearded man, ZZ Top‘s Billy Gibbons, released his second solo album, The Big Bad Blues, last month.

Gibbons tells ABC Radio that after his Afro-Cuban-influenced solo debut, 2015’s Perfectamundo, he decided to refocus on his main musical passion, the blues. The singer-guitarist says the new album began taking shape when he hit the studio to jam for a few days with session drummer Greg Morrow, longtime ZZ Top harmonica player James Harman and engineer Joe Hardy, who handled bass duties.

Unbeknownst to Gibbons, Hardy had been taping the jam sessions, which Billy says “gave us a pretty good head start [and] allowed us to keep the ball rolling up Blues Avenue.”

In addition to creating some new original songs, Gibbons wanted to include some blues covers on the project, so he decided “to cherry-pick things that made sense,” settling on a couple tunes each from the catalogs of two of his favorite artists — Muddy Waters and Bo Diddley.

One cover, a rendition of Waters’ “Rollin’ and Tumblin’,” was released as The Big Bad Blues’ lead single.

Interestingly, the album kicks off with a song called “Missin’ Yo’ Kissin’,” which Gibbons’ wife, Gilligan Sweetwater, wrote.

Billy says that while he was in the studio, his engineers noticed Gilligan scribbling on a notepad. After she’d left the control room, the rocker and his collaborators checked out what she’d written, and realized that it had the makings of a great blues tune. Gibbons ranks “Missin’ Yo’ Kissin'” as one of his favorite songs on the album.

Another contributor to The Big Bad Blues was ex-Guns N’ Roses drummer Matt Sorum, who also will join Billy on his solo tour in support of the album, which begins October 13 in Riverside, Iowa.

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