Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder has unveiled a new song “Long Way,” the first single from his forthcoming solo album, “Earthling.” No release date has been announced for the album, which will come out on Vedder’s own Seattle Surf imprint through Republic.
A lyric video is now online for the track, which sees Vedder collaborating for the first time with reigning Grammy producer of the year and Andrew Watt (Ozzy Osbourne, Miley Cyrus, Post Malone). “Long Way” is also available to pre-order through Pearl Jam’s Ten Club fan organization as a 7-inch vinyl single backed by another new song, “The Haves.”
With musical shades of “Wildflowers”-era Tom Petty, the strident, guitar-driven “Long Way” finds Vedder narrating a tale of a man haunted by a lost love who “left but never went away,” as he attempts “not to awaken the voice of regret in his ear.” Accentuating the Petty vibes, former Heartbreakers member Benmont Tench contributes Hammond B3 organ. The track is rounded out by accompaniment from Watt on guitar and bass, former Red Hot Chili Peppers member Josh Klinghoffer on guitar and piano and the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Chad Smith on drums.
Vedder and Watt have built a friendship over the past decade, and when Vedder was in Los Angeles for a benefit concert this spring, he stopped by Watt’s home studio to catch up. At one point, Vedder began strumming some chords on guitar, and before anyone knew it, “we just started messing around,” Watt tells Variety. “There was something there right away that I wanted to chase and finish. It was just the right place and the right time and it all happened very organically. It sounds like people playing together in a room, which is what a good rock song should be.”
“Earthling” comes quickly on the heels of Vedder’s eight-song contribution to the soundtrack for Sean Penn’s new film “Flag Day,” released Aug. 20 via Seattle Surf and Republic. It’s his first solo album since 2011’s “Ukulele Songs,” which debuted at No. 4 on The Billboard 200. He is also featured on Elton John’s upcoming album “Lockdown Sessions,” due Oct. 22.
As previously reported, Vedder and Pearl Jam will return to the stage for the first time in three years on Sept. 18 at the Sea.Hear.Now festival in Asbury Park, N.J. The following weekend, Vedder will perform solo and with Pearl Jam at his annual Ohana festival in Dana Point, Calif.