Dave Stewart: From new wave to Nashville

Former Eurythmics man Dave Stewart goes a little bit country, but he's still a lot about rock 'n' roll.
BY GENE TRIPLETT etriplett@opubco.com Published: August 24, 2012
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Dave Stewart was shopping in a trendy New York boot boutique called Space Cowboy when he answered his cellphone last Sunday afternoon. He apologized for the background noise and quickly stepped outside to do an interview with The Oklahoman.

“They make cowboy boots,” he explained with his northwestern English-bred accent. “I'm trying to find cowboy boots with blackbirds on them. They said they can make them for me.”

The boot design is Stewart's tribute to Blackbird Studio in Nashville, Tenn., owned by John and Martina McBride, where the British singer, songwriter, guitarist and producer has now recorded two solo albums: 2011's “The Blackbird Diaries” and the new “The Ringmaster General,” which streets Sept. 4.

Stewart is on tour with his new music, opening for Sugarland on Saturday night at Oklahoma City's Zoo Amphitheatre.

Now, who would have ever thought that one-half of Eurythmics, one of England's seminal new wave/synth-pop duos of the '80s, would ever be opening for a country act?

“Yeah, but my last two albums are made in Nashville,” he said. “And I somehow have connected with this whole sort of Nashville community, and an unusual place. It's not like I'm making country music. It's just that I stumbled across this very fortuitous relationship with John McBride and his studio Blackbird Studios by default and just fell in love with the whole place.”

Musical journey

Stewart's three-decade music career took flight in 1983 when he and musical partner Annie Lennox began releasing such sleek synthesizer and drum machine-driven songs as “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This),” “Would I Lie to You” and “Here Comes the Rain Again,” elevating Eurythmics to an international hit-making status that lasted a decade.

Since Eurythmics' dissolution in 1990, Stewart has co-produced and co-written musical projects with artists as diverse as Mick Jagger, Tom Petty, Bono, Bryan Ferry and Stevie Nicks, written film scores and recorded his own occasional solo works.

“The Blackbird Diaries,” his first album in more than a decade, was a rock album seasoned with Americana and blues influences, a song co-written with Bob Dylan (“Worth the Waiting For”) and duets with Nicks, Martina McBride, Colbie Caillat and the Secret Sisters.

Also in 2011, Stewart teamed with Jagger, Joss Stone, Damian Marley and A.R. Rahman as SuperHeavy, releasing a self-titled album that was a heady brew of rock, reggae, Indian pop, electronica and soul.



IN CONCERT

Sugarland, with special guest Dave Stewart

With: Canaan Smith.

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

Where: Zoo Amphitheatre, 2101 NE 50.

Tickets: (866) 977-6849; participating Buy For Less locations; zooamp.com; facebook.com/zooampfanpage.

Information: 364-3700.

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