It's been 14 years since Styx's last album of new material, but the group will end the drought on June 16 with the release of The Mission.
The new set, which Styx worked on quietly at Nashville's Blackbird Studios, is a concept album about a manned flight to Mars, co-produced and co-written with Will Evankovich, a longtime collaborator of Tommy Shaw's in the Shaw/Blades band who also plays with the Guess Who.
Shaw tells us that he's confident The Mission will appeal to fans of Styx's vintage work, both conceptually and musically:
"As soon as we got to thinking about a Styx album, what's your favorite era of Styx? To me it's 'The Grand Illusion,' 'Pieces Of Eight.' That was just the prime. Everybody was in the prime...The idea was, 'Let's make this record...make sure it sounds like Styx, the Styx that everybody grew up with, and so that became the margins for it."
Styx has released the first track from The Mission, "Gone Gone Gone," today (April 21) via Billboard.com.
The group is playing some headlining dates during April and May, then tours this summer with REO Speedwagon starting April 20 in Ridgefield, Wash.
The full track list for "The Mission" includes:
- Gone Gone Gone
- Hundred Million Miles
- Trouble At The Big Show
- Radio Silence
- The Greater Good
- Time May Bend
- Ten Thousand Ways
- The Red Storm
- All Systems Stable
- The Outpost
- Mission To Mars
Gary Graff is an award-winning music journalist who not only covers music but has written books on Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.