Robbie Robertson has announced his first new solo album since 2011 in conjunction with the premiere of the documentary Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and the Band at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Sinematic, set for release on Sept. 20, features 13 new self-produced songs. Most tracks are anchored by bassist Pino Palladino (who's played with the Who and John Mayer), drummer Chris Dave (D'Angelo, Adele) and keyboardist Martin Pradler, who also mixed the record. Guests include Van Morrison ("I Hear You Paint Houses"), Derek Trucks ("Remembrance"), Glen Hansard ("Dead End Kid," "Let Love Reign"), Doyle Bramhall II ("Remembrance"), Citizen Cope ("Once Were Brothers"), Jim Keltner ("Remembrance"), Howie B ("The Shadow") and others.

Robertson drew inspiration from his recent film projects, both with Martin Scorsese and Once Were Brothers. "I was working on music for The Irishman and working on the documentary, and these things were bleeding into each other," Robertson said in a news release. "I could see a path. Ideas for songs about haunting and violent and beautiful things were swirling together like a movie. You follow that sound and it all starts to take shape right in front of your ears."

Sinematic is available for pre-order now on compact disc, digital and 180-gram two-LP formats. A 1,000-copy run of exclusive deluxe editions featuring a 36-page hardcover book with custom track-by-track artwork by Robertson is set to follow on Oct. 25.

The opening song and first single is "I Hear You Paint Houses," which is available for immediate download with pre-orders. "I'm writing the song and my old buddy Van Morrison comes to town," Robertson said. "He's still one of my favorite singers and writers of all time. He said, 'Let's hear it.' He likes what I'm doing with the guitar and the vibe, so we kick it around and end up turning it into a duet."

Listen to 'I Hear You Paint Houses'

"Let Love Reign" finds Robertson surveying "this beautiful broken world," and hoping for something more. "Some people think John Lennon's dream about love and togetherness went up in flames. I think that's wrong: It's everlasting," Robertson added. "There was something a little naive about John Lennon going around singing about peace, but in that period young people celebrating love and peace helped end a war."

Elsewhere, Robertson returns to his bittersweet era with the Band on "Once Were Brothers," which was written for the movie of the same name. "There is war and conflict involved," he said. "Writing it hurt inside sometimes, but those experiences can be rewarding in the emotional outcome. It hurt but I loved it." Sinematic also includes two instrumentals, "Wandering Souls" and the album-closing "Remembrance."

Morrison earlier worked with the Band on "4% Pantomime" from 1971's Cahoots; he also appeared on 1978's The Last Waltz, performing "Tura Lura Lural" and "Caravan." Once Were Brothers, based on Robertson's 2016 memoir Testimony, makes its world premiere on Sept. 5 at the 44th Toronto International Film Festival.

 

 

See the Band Among Rock’s 100 Most Underrated Albums