After 30 years in the music business and a total of 30 million album sales around the globe (including "Road to Hell" and "Auberge"), you'd be forgiven for thinking that Chris Rea, the husky-voiced slide-guitarist and songwriter from the hard-bitten town of Middlesbrough, would be 'schlepping' it up on a yacht in the Bahamas, chugging like a chimney on fat Cuban cigars and throwing another servant on the BBQ to feed his family. You must be joking - this man loves his craft with a huge passion and has been through too much to let a piddling thing like money bother him.
So much so that he is putting that hard-earned revenue to good use for his next ambitious release. According to his fan-site, he is tired of the constraints of rolling out ten songs on a CD - he believes his legacy should have a 'wow' factor (not the X Factor). Therefore his next album, due out in June, is just a little bit formidable.
"The Santo Spirito Project" will not only feature three jam-packed CDs, it will also include two feature-length DVDs into the bargain. Of course, it isn't quite as lavish as his Blue Guitars Project (11 discs - count 'em!), but give the man a break, a quintet of discs is more than most artists can cobble together in one lifetime.
Next year will see Rea present the album on tour, starting with Belfast on 16th March, Bournemouth on 20th March, followed by Oxford (21st) and several more until the final pairing of dates in Plymouth (4th April) and Hammersmith (5th). Tickets are on sale this Friday and prices start at £33.50 (London is £35).