After 18 years as lead-singer, songwriter and guitarist for seminal punk outfit Social Distortion, Mike Ness is breaking new musical ground with the release of a first-ever solo album. Departing from the punk days, Cheating At Solitaire is a roots bluegrass, roots punk, rockabilly infused effort. The album showcases another side of Ness' songwriting abilities with influences like Johnny Cash, Hank Williams and other blues and country legends shining through the new material. At the same time, the recordings never lose the edge that is signature Mike Ness. The album will be co-produced by Ness and James Saez. Says Ness, "I kept the staple of what is Social Distortion but crossed every musical boundary. This is the best album of my career."
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Music legend Bruce Springsteen will appear on at least one track on Solitaire. Sharing vocal duties with Mike Ness on "Misery Loves Company", Springsteen intensifies the early rock 'n' roll spirit of the song. Says Ness, "Both Bruce and I are influenced by similar early rock and roots. His music is wholly working class and that really fits with what I am doing on this album. I'm honored that he is interested in my band and my music enough to want to participate with me."
Rockabilly guitar icon Brian Setzer will also contribute to a cut on the album. The former Stray Cat and current big band leader complements Solitaire's overall rootsy flavor. "I wanted to get a great player and see what he would bring to my songs. I like Brian and there were some tunes that just called for someone like him and his genre," says Ness. Look for guest appearances from the Royal Crown Revue rhythm section on several of the tracks.
Mike Ness is ready to jump full force into this solo effort. "I've waited five years and now was a good time to make the record. We are in between Social Distortion albums and this is really a chance to grow and develop as an artist," says Ness. Look for Ness on tour in support of Cheating At Solitaire throughout the summer and fall of 1999.
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