Released this week is Chris Rea's 'Santo Spirito' - a lavish 3CD and 2DVD box-set featuring a completely new album and a pair of bespoke feature films with the accompanying music included.
Speaking about the album, Chris had this to say:
I cannot be bothered just making a CD any more. It has got to be something more interesting for me than just 10 tracks on CD. The luxury of selling over 30 million albums has allowed me to try new and different approaches to music. I would be damning myself to hell if I just took the money and ran.
One day a younger artist may look at what I have been trying to do, marrying my love of the visual arts and music and start a whole new movement. Then, I will know it was all worthwhile.
There should be no (artistic) rules whatsoever and, for God's sake, there are alternatives to TV talent shows. Sometimes, those who have had extremely good fortune in music, allow only X Factor type TV shows etc. to set the musical and cultural agenda of this county by actually doing nothing new or different themselves.
But, what you want to know is: did you win? Well, if you entered the competition and your name is: Mervyn Beattie, Steven Spencer, Mayur Koya, Alison Maclean or Karen Barrett, then the answer is: "yes!".
If you didn't win, never mind - you can order the album right now from Amazon for just £12.99 with free UK delivery (click here to buy). And watch this space for our review!
Chris will be touring the album, along with songs from his massive repertoire in concert halls and arenas up-and-down the UK and Ireland starting in Belfast on 16th March 2011, with further dates in Dublin, Bournemouth, Oxford, Brighton, Harrogate, Manchester, Sheffield, Edinburgh, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Birmingham, Nottingham, Plymouth and finally Hammersmith on 5th April. Tickets are on sale now, starting from £32.50 (£35 for London and 39.20 for Dublin).