By Kurt Wolff
Jerry Lee Lewis may be 78 years old, but the rock and country legend has been plenty busy lately.
This fall, the Killer is set to release not only a new album, Rock & Roll Time, but also the memoir Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story, which he wrote with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Rick Bragg.
Rock & Roll Time is the rock and roll pioneer’s third record in a decade, following 2006’s Last Man Standing and 2010’s Mean Old Man. The new album includes some very high profile guests including Keith Richards, Ron Wood, Neil Young, former Band guitarist Robbie Robertson, E Street Band guitarist Nils Lofgren and country-soul artist Shelby Lynne.
The songs are a mix of styles and genres including material from Chuck Berry (“Little Queenie,” “Promised Land”), Bob Dylan (“Stepchild”), Lynyrd Skynyrd (“Mississippi Kid”) and Jimmie Rodgers (“Blues Like Midnight”).
Rolling Stone premiered the album’s title track, “Rock & Roll Time,” which was cowritten by Kris Kristofferson, Bob Neuwirth and Roger McGuinn and originally appeared on Kristofferson’s 1974 album Spooky Lady’s Sideshow. Lewis’ version features guitarists Doyle Bramhall II, Jon Brion and Kenny Lovelace as well as vocalists Vonda Shepard and Bernard Fowler.
The album also includes a version of “Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash. “My wife stepped in and asked me to do that one,” Lewis said. “Johnny Cash was just one of the finest people in the world. He’s a great guy. I have lots of fond memories of Johnny.”
The album is set for release Oct. 28, as is the memoir Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story. According to Rolling Stone, subjects the book will cover include the making of his best-known songs along with all the tabloid-type controversies that are also associated with him, including his numerous marriages to his feuds with other rockers—which, we presume, means he’ll discuss the famous incident where he allegedly waived a gun out front of Graceland demanding to see his old Sun Records buddy Elvis Presley.
Lewis said he “forgot nothing” and wants to set the record straight. “All these other books have come out, and there wasn’t no truth in any of them. I just waited ’til the right time [to do mine],” he explained.
And Lewis, often known for his fiery personality, says he’s grateful for his success…and longevity. “I just think it’s a blessing from God that I’m still living,” he said—and, of course, “still rocking.”