Rod Stewart welcomes return of songwriting muse on Another Country
Rock star explores storytelling on 29th album of a colourful career
Two years back, when global superstar Rod Stewart released Time, it marked the first time in 25 years that he'd contributed lyrics to one of his albums.
The muse is back and no one is more thrilled at its return than the charming 70-year-old former member of The Faces who still sports blond and spiky hair.
Stewart released his 29th album, Another Country, at the end of October. On Monday, he performed an exclusive concert for just 350 people at Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto.
Stewart says songwriting is "a much more gratifying procedure now than it used to be. It used to be hard work for me but I thoroughly enjoy it now."
He describes Another Country, which has splashes of Celtic, folk, rock and reggae, as a personal record.
"The writing of my autobiography... had something to do with it," he told CBC's Marivel Taruc. "I don't know! God works in mysterious ways but I'm glad it's come back and I think the fans are happy with that, too."
Way Back Home tribute to sister who 'brought me up'
The song Way Back Home is a tribute to his sister Mary who helped raise him, he says. It's also about London after the Second World War, although Stewart was born just after that.
"There were many stories that were told to me by my brothers and sisters, and the stories that I garnered made the song," he told CBC.
And Batman Superman Spiderman emerged from a night-time routine familiar with most parents.
"I'm the last one to put my four-year-old son to bed and give him a kiss and tell him a story and invariably, he'll go, 'Do me a make up story dad.' And I'll say, 'Okay, what'd you want it to be about? Batman, Superman or Spiderman?' So a song was born."
Stewart says the music industry has changed radically over the last few decades.
"The recording procedure is different, the promotional side is different," he said. "It's a bigger industry. Nowadays, it's difficult to come up with an original sound. You can't shock anyone anymore like rock 'n rollers used to in the 60s and 70s, but that's not to say there's not some great music out there."
Infamous for his legendary hedonism, Stewart now calls himself "a big bundle of happiness."
"I'm at a wonderful place," he said. "I've still got a wonderful career. I've got eight children and I'm happily married and have lots of friends. And as far as I know, I'm in good health — so I've got a lot to smile about."