Dan Sultan is back from the wilderness

Dan Sultan will play at Mackay’s River Sessions on June 28.
Dan Sultan will play at Mackay’s River Sessions on June 28. Contributed

DAN Sultan's new album has been a long time coming.

Fans have waited four years for the Melbourne singer songwriter to release the follow-up to his 2009 album Get Out While You Can.

Blackbird is certainly worth the wait, with the album debuting at No 4 on the ARIA albums chart.

The album is named after the Nashville studio where Sultan, 30, recorded it.

But it took the country and soul rock'n'roller a long time to get to that point.

Sultan struggled through a period of writer's block and only after splitting with his management and parting ways with guitarist Scott Wilson did the lyrics and notes begin to flow again.

"It's not like I've been sitting on my hands, but I wasn't really writing that much," he told me.

"I wasn't really writing at all for a long time while I was touring or working. I wasn't really motivated to write anything and I found I wasn't enjoying touring as much.

"I was in the wilderness a bit. I had to make some changes I guess and just take on more of the responsibility for my career, take on a lot more control over it."

Over six months he ended up writing 35 new songs.

"I don't like all of them, you know, but the point was just to be writing," he said.

Sultan recorded Blackbird's 13 tracks in Nashville with Grammy-winning producer Jacquire King (Tom Waits, Kings of Leon, Cold War Kids, Norah Jones).

The songs range from the powerhouse riffs of the first single Under Your Skin to the stripped-back intimacy of Gullible Few, the album's closer.

The raw, heartfelt song was recorded in just one take.

"It just felt right; I knew it while I was playing it. Everything just kind of went quiet," he said.

"We'd made (the song) Waiting on the End of the Phone that day, so I'd done that whole big crazy song and crazy vocals and then just sat down and did Gullible Few.

"For someone like Jacquire to say he's lucky enough to see some special things in his time and that's one of them was very special."

But the biggest moment was yet to come, with Sultan asked to add his name to a guitar in Blackbird Studios signed by music legends including Buddy Guy, Bryan Adams and Neil Young.

"There are a few things you never forget," he said.

"I'll never forget doing Gullible Few... and I'll never forget being asked to engrave my name in that guitar."

Blackbird is in stores now.

Topics:  dan sultan

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