Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Beach Boy bounces back

Beach Boys' Brian Wilson sunny about new album

AP — A lot has changed for the historically reclusive Southern California native, who speaks with a slight slur, a result of his drug-abuse past and medicated journey through mental illness.

He is a second-round father at the age of 66 (musician daughters Wendy, 38, and Carnie, 40, from his first marriage, tour as The Wilsons). Following 2004's long-awaited rock opera "Smile," and a 2005 Christmas release, he has a new, ambitious solo album, "That Lucky Old Sun," due out Sept. 2. He is touring behind the material, pushing through years of stage fright.

"I think the new album is just as good as anything the Beach Boys ever recorded," says Wilson. "Playing these songs live, I feel proud. You know that funny feeling you get in your stomach, like, 'Oh my God, this is sounding great!'"

Two years ago, he says, he recorded 18 songs then chose 10 last year for Capitol Records/EMI. He came up with the album's lush orchestration and music, while 43-year-old bandmate Scott Bennett scribed the lyrics, with colorful narrative interludes by Wilson's longtime collaborator Van Dyke Parks.

The outcome is a blend of uptempo pop and piano-based ballads. The title track, a cover of Louis Armstrong's "That Lucky Old Sun," flows into the bouncy anthem "Morning Beat," setting the album's tone.