At the age of 73, former Steely Dan and Doobie Brothers guitarist Jeff “Skunk” Baxter will release his very first solo album, Speed of Heat, on June 18.
The 12-track collection features a mix of original tunes and select covers. Among the latter are renditions of the Steely Dan classics “My Old School” and “Do It Again,” and the 1960 instrumental “Apache” that was popularized by The Shadows.
The album features Baxter singing lead on some tracks, as well as some guests vocalists and musicians, including his one-time Doobie Brothers band mate Michael McDonald, country star Clint Black and blues rocker Jonny Lang.
Baxter’s main collaborator on Speed of Heat was veteran producer. composer and keyboardist CJ Vanston.
Baxter’s version of “My Old School,” which showcases his lead vocals, has been released as an advance digital single.
The guitarist reveals that after he’d laid down an initial scratch vocal on the track, he’d actually hoped to have Steven Tyler sing the lead, but when he played the Aerosmith frontman the recording, Tyler had a surprising reaction.
“He heard what I’d done and said, ‘Hey, who’s singing on this?'” Baxter recalls. “I told him it was me, and he said, ‘Well, it’s really great. You should do it yourself.’ I thought he was kidding, but he wasn’t. So I took a shot and the reaction has been very positive.”
The track also features Toto‘s David Paich on keyboards.
Speed of Heat also features a song called “My Place in the Sun” that Baxter co-wrote with Vanston and McDonald, and featuring Michael on vocals. You can pre-order the album now.
Meanwhile, Baxter has a series of U.S. concerts lined up on the East Coast in May 3.
Here’s the full Speed of Heat track list:
“Ladies from Hell”
“My Old School”
“I Can Do Without”
“Do It Again”
“My Place in the Sun”
“Speed of Heat”
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