Rod Stewart ‘railroaded’ Jools Holland into making an album together

The duo have had a swinging time after first meeting up in very unlikely circumstance
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It seems an unlikely pairing at first. Rockstar and Knight of the Realm, Sir Rod Stewart, with his history from Small Faces and Faces.  He started his career working with Long John Baldry and The Jeff Beck Group. Stewart has followed all that with a long and very successful solo career. 

Jools Holland was an original band member of Squeeze. He is now known for his regular live gigs with his Big Band Orchestra and a BBC TV music show, Later… With Jools Holland. It’s a regular showcase in the UK for all types of music.

When you look more closely and learn more about the pairing and their new album together, it all starts to make sense. Although the way they have got together is a bit random for sure.

Rod Stewart and Jools Holland: New Swing Fever album

They’ve been working for some time now on Swing Fever, an album of swing and big band music, which is being released on February 23. It’s a good fit with Holland’s musical style and of course his big band orchestra. 

For Stewart, it’s another change in his style, as he did when he released his series of albums The Great American Songbook. Based on a couple of early trailers for the new album it”s looking like a great pairing, So far a couple of tracks from the album have been released as trailers. “Almost Like Being In Love” came out in December.  This month it’s the Fats Waller classic “Ain't Misbehavin”. 

Rod Stewart and Jools Holland met up on the radio

Let's look at how they got together and that part about Stewart ‘railroading’ Holland. The due first spoke back in 2019, but it was more by accident than planned and wasn’t about their music. Both stars individually called up a BBC radio show, as phone-in listeners and without being booked to appear, to talk about their model railway collections. They ended up chatting together on air. As Rolling Stone reports Stewart followed that discussion up later by calling Holland to say he wanted them to make an album together. 

According to Stewart, "Yeah, it looks like an odd marriage. But the first thing that brought us together was our love of model railroads, because we’re both fanatics!"

While Holland adds, "It was just before Christmas three years ago and the phone rings at my home. I didn’t know Rod so well but he just said I’d quite like to do a record with your band. I said, well, I’m gonna have to think about that. And then one second later I said yeah, that’d be really great! When do you want to start?"

There is certainly something about the big band sound and the old classic swing tunes. It takes a certain style and perhaps swagger to carry the vocals with strength while retaining a relaxed sound. You need to sound like you are really enjoying singing the song to make it work. 

That's perhaps where Stewart becomes a great fit, he’s always loved a great song and had fun while he is performing. The pair have hinted at a tour sometime in the future. One of the many weekend outdoor shows on a summer night could be a perfect fit.

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