Pop & Hiss, the Los Angeles Times' music blog, is premiering Oceans Away, one of the tracks from Elton's new album, which is scheduled for release on Sept. 24 in the U.S.
In many respects it’s an extension of the career direction he embarked on in 2010 for his duo album The Union, with Leon Russell, which was produced by T Bone Burnett, who also has overseen production of The Diving Board.
At that time, the piano player said his sessions with Russell and Burnett were so rewarding that he wished to focus from that point on on music which truly mattered to him and dispense with anything remotely trivial.
The new songs on The Diving Board are being compared to some of what he did in the early stages of his career on the Elton John and Tumbleweed Connection albums.
“I had to go back and listen to my old stuff to go forward again,” the 66-year-old says. “It’s a different era now. I know I’m not going to get played on the radio -- what kind of music do I really want to make?”
Oceans Away is a piano-driven ballad about seeking out the wisdom of one’s elders. It’s produced sparingly, leaving the focus on Elton’s voice and his piano accompaniment.
Of Burnett, Elton said, “He knows everything about the kind of American music I love,” and in turn, the producer ventured the opinion that “Elton John is an artist at the peak of his powers.”