The forthcoming LP is the first of two companion albums from the singer. Though he had previously said that the next album would be his last, DeYoung realized that he simply had too many songs to fit onto one album.
“There were so many songs written that Serafino Perugino, CEO of Frontiers, suggested dividing it into two albums,” DeYoung explained in a statement. “So be it. This is Volume 1, which sounds pretentious to me, but the marketing folks wanted you to know there are going to be two of them, so hey, kids, there are two of them. This is Volume 1.”
Included on this release is the duet with Julian Lennon that DeYoung called a “dream come true” earlier this fall. Titled “The Good Old Days”, the vocalist specifically wrote the song with Lennon in mind, detailing the process in a Facebook post.
“If you know me, you know of my love for the Beatles and their effect on my life and millions of other musicians. But you would be hard-pressed to find actual traces of the Beatles in Styx songs.
“I left all Beatles musical references out of Styx arrangements. However, on this album, I created my ultimate musical and lyrical tribute to the lads from Liverpool on one song. There’s a fine line between homage and blatant rip-off and I pray I haven’t crossed it.”
DeYoung originally intended the Beatles-esque song to be a duet and his “dream” was to perform it with John Lennon‘s eldest son Julian. So, with his manager’s help, he tracked down Julian Lennon’s contact info. “I wrote an email to him and was just about to send it when I listened one last time and suddenly realized Jules should not sing this song. It was my story, not his,” explained DeYoung
“So I walked over to the piano and wrote a song specifically for he and I to sing together. The music was finished in an hour. I then recorded one verse and one chorus on the piano and sang both parts and sent it. He responded by saying he loved it and would be honored to do it.”
“The moment we sang together in the studio, it felt magical,” DeYoung explained in a recent statement. “I had never met Julian previously, but I have been an admirer since [Lennon’s 1984 album] Valotte.”
Several of the other tracks on 26 East were a collaborative effort with songwriter Jim Peterik. “He once told me that the world needed my music, to which I replied, ‘Have the world text me for verification,'” DeYoung joked. “We collaborated from the get-go, happily and seamlessly, and at this time, we have written nine songs together, of which five will be on Volume 1. Just two Chicago guys doing what they do best: making music and having a laugh.”
The title of the forthcoming albums refers to 26 E. 101st Place, the Chicago address where DeYoung grew up and from where Styx originated; Chuck and John Panozzo lived at 29 E. 101st Place. The album artwork will feature three locomotives, representing the three young musicians and their aspirations.
DeYoung also announced a run of North American tour dates, with a free CD copy of 26 East: Volume 1 to be included with the ticket at many of the locations. See a complete list of tour dates below.
Dennis DeYoung 2020 North American Tour
Feb 14 – St Louis, MO @ River City Casino
Feb 15 – St Louis, MO @ River City Casino
Feb 20 – Tallahassee, FL @ Capital City Amphitheater
Feb 21 – Pensacola, FL @ Saenger Theatre
Feb 23 – Orlando, FL @ Sea World Bayside Stadium
Feb 28 – Kansas City, MO @ Ameristar Casino Star Pavilion
Feb 29 – Davenport, IA @ Rhythm City Casino Event Cente
Mar 06 – Las Vegas, NV @ Golden Nugget Casino
Mar 07 – El Cajon, CA @ Magnolia Performing Arts Center
Mar 13 – Northfield, OH @ MGM Park Center Stage
Mar 14 – Newark, OH @ The Midland Theatre
Mar 20 – Portland, OR @ Revolution Hall
Mar 21 – Bremerton, WA @ Admiral Theatre
Apr 03 – Chicago, IL @ House of Blues
Apr 04 – Fort Wayne, IN @ The Clyde Theatre
Apr 17 – Huntington, NY @ The Paramount
Apr 18 – Morristown, NJ @ Mayo Performing Arts Center
Apr 24 – Atlantic City, NJ @ Resorts Superstar Theater
Apr 25 – Bethlehem, PA @ The Wind Creek Event Center
May 01 – Quebec City, QC @ Le Grand Theatre
May 02 – Montreal, QC @ Theatre St. Denis
May 08 – Harris, MI @ Island Casino Showroom
May 09 – Harris, MI @ Island Casino Showroom
Jun 04 – Ashland, KY @ Paramount Arts Center
Jun 05 – Florence, IN @ Belterra Casino CenterStage
Jul 10 – Grand Prairie, TX @ Verizon Theatre
Jul 11 – Austin, TX @ Austin City Limits Live Moody Theatre