April 2011-2014: Germano Studios, New York City;
One East Recording, New York City;

Brooklyn Recording, New York City;
& Royal Recording Studios, Memphis, Tennessee, USA

Producers: Keith Richards & Steve Jordan
Chief engineer: Dave O'Donnell
 Mixers: Dave O'Donnell, Keith Richards & Steve Jordan
Released: September 2015
Original label: Mindless Records (Virgin EMI)

Contributing musicians: Keith Richards, Steve Jordan, Waddy Wachtel, Charles Hodges, Larry Campbell, Bernard Fowler, Ivan Neville, Bobby Keys, Paul Nowinski, Meegan Voss, Blondie Chaplin, Norah Jones, David Paich, Pino Palladino, Clifton Anderson, Kevin Batchelor, Charles Dougherty, Pierre DeBeauport, Spooner Oldham, Ben Cauley, Jack Hale, Lannie McMillan, Jim Horn, Aaron Neville, Babi Floyd, Sarah Dash, Harlem Gospel Choir.

Crosseyed Heart
Robbed Blind
Love Overdue
Nothing on Me
Blues in the Morning
Something for Nothing
Just a Gift
Goodnight Irene
Substantial Damage
Lover's Plea


I didn't quit smoking, mate. I blame the photographers for those other ones. I'd go through a pack just for them to be able to get the smoke right for the photos. The photographers are a bad influence on me.
- Keith Richards, August 2015, on not smoking a cigarette on the cover



It's the challenge. You're thinking about whether or not you can carry the weight of the project. Are you biting off more than you can chew? And did you want to chew that much in the first place? Wrestling with the different context and doing all the singing is something I enjoy immensely.
- Keith Richards, August 2015, on choosing to make a solo album

After Keith did his book tour, he actually contemplated retirement. I told him, What are you talking about? That's ridiculous, don't ever bring that up again... I thought (the idea of Keith Richards retiring was) the craziest thing I ever heard. He felt comfortable with where he was and what he had done and what he had achieved. But knowing Keith, to not have him pick up an instrument and play, it was weird. When you're a musician, you don't retire. You play up until you can't breathe.
- Steve Jordan, 2015, on encouraging Keith Richards to make the album

I've only ever done solo stuff when the Stones go into one of their long hibernations. I suppose I started this one a couple of years ago, because there was another long hibernation. I'd just finished the book, and done all that thing, and I realised I hadn't been in the studio for 4 or 5 years. I bumped into Steve Jordan, he said, I've got a good room, a studio round the corner. He said to me, How did you record Street Fighting Man and Jumpin' Jack Flash? I said I was in the studio with Charlie Watts. In other words, just the drummer. He said, Well, there's nobody else around. Why don't we try that again? So it kind of started like that.
- Keith Richards, July 2015

(Keith) felt rusty. But his facility started coming back to him, and then the fire started to return, and the energy got ramped up, and then all of a sudden we were making a record.
- Steve Jordan, 2015

I realised that it'd been a long time since I'd taken myself outside of the Stones' shack... I didn't really need to do it, I just enjoyed doing it. It's an interesting way to work, just me and Steve, which makes it fairly cheap. There's none of the logistics involved in getting a whole band together, and after a while it started to fall into a nice groove. Steve has to take an awful lot of the credit for getting this album together. I almost have to be held at gun-point to do solo stuff - someone has to persuade me very convincingly to do it.
- Keith Richards, August 2015

Some of (the songs) were actually hanging around, ideas from while the Stones were still recording. We left certain things off (A Bigger Bang), and I thought, I want to pursue that one.
- Keith Richards, July 2015

(The sessions were) very civilized... He hadn't played in a while, so we took the recording sessions really slowly - bi-weekly to start with, just a few hours... Which is very different from the other albums, when we would start at midnight and end at 8 AM... We'd knock about a tune he already had, maybe one he'd even cut a demo with in the Stones.
- Steve Jordan, 2015

After about three or four months - we could only do this once a week, sometimes once a month, really, there was no "project" - we suddenly realized we had half an album. At that point we said, We might as well go in for the whole hog.
- Keith Richards, August 2015

I didn't want the record to be done as a band, like the last X-Pensive Winos record. My approach was, OK, let's do it like you did with Jumpin' Jack Flash or Street Fighting Man - all those great Stones records, on which he played everything. The thing we didn't get enough of in the past is Keith's bass playing - he's a wonderful bass player and plays like no one one... The only thing he can't do is play drums, which is quite fascinating actually, he can't put two beats together. But that's great for me (laughs).
- Steve Jordan, 2015

Since it started off with just Steve and me, we'd lay down a guitar track with just guitar and drums and then say, Let's see what it sounds like we throw a bass on it. And I am basically a closet bass player. I always have been. Sometimes I wish I'd taken that up, but it wouldn't have worked out. Still, I do love playing bass. And this was the perfect opportunity to do it. And it was cheap as well, 'cause I don't pay myself.
- Keith Richards, September 2015

We cut everything ourselves and then Waddy Wachtel came in for a couple of days.
- Steve Jordan, 2015

I was feeling more comfortable about singing. And no, I'm not going to go to the top register all the time. The way my voice is now, it's better down low. I know what I can do with it. I'm a greater sing with a lousy voice. But I know there's a certain timbre that my voice can touch. As long as I can do that, I'm happy.
- Keith Richards, September 2015

From my point of view, any of these songs could just as well have been Stones songs - if (the Stones) had been around at the time to record them. It's just what I had available in my locker. There's a lot of "hat's off" stuff here - to Robert Johnson, Gregory Isaacs, Otis Redding, Leadbelly, of course.
- Keith Richards, August 2015

Some of that you can't always express with the Stones, you know what I mean? It's another outlet. I mean, I hadn't realized it's been 20-odd years since I've done this. Time flies!
- Keith Richards, July 2015, on the inclusion of many ballads

(T)here are a couple of ballads on here. I suppose you don't get a lot of chance to explore that area with the Stones. But when we have, we've done some great songs - yes, Angie, for one. There's that streak in me which is always, I'm very sorry I've just pissed off the most beautiful woman in the world. I'll get on my knees and beg, you know, Come on back! But also that kind of writing strikes a chord in other people. That's probably why I like country music - I like the melancholy, the yearning bit, when they get it right. Like The Everly Brothers - that beautifully crafted broken heart (laughs). That's what it's about, that little arrow fired by Cupid.
- Keith Richards, August 2015

I groan about my writing. There are times when I wonder if what I've done is any good. So what I do in that situation, and did a lot on the new album, is throw the song out to the other musicians. You watch their eyes and see what the reaction is. And if it's not good, you break a string on your guitar and you say, Well, forget that one.
- Keith Richards, August 2015

The idea I had was, This should be a real solo album, a lot of Keith. He doesn't necessarily think like that. He likes being in a band; it's natural to him. He doesn't mind drifting off to the side and letting someone else take the spotlight... The idea behind the abum was: getting to know Keith more. The more of Keith the better. It's been about capturing his personality and life on record... I was thrilled throughout we could stay focused on Keith's playing - to me it's an extension of his memoir.
- Steve Jordan, 2015

(T)he pleasure of it was - no deadline. We'll just do it until we're sure we've got something to deliver. And then it was, OK, you've finished it; now you can't put it out! (laughs) So that took a couple of years... (J)ust as I finished it, the Stones decided to go back on the road. So I've been looking for a space where I could put it out. And in September (2015) we found it.
- Keith Richards, September 2015



Keith Richards took his time to complete Crosseyed Heart... Certainly, Crosseyed Heart hardly feels like it was labored over; it's not the work of a perfectionist hoping every element lands in its right place. It sounds like it was knocked out in a week, which is about the highest compliment that can be paid to a record as casual as this. Main Offender felt like the result of endless hours of expensive studio jams, but Crosseyed Heart feels like it fell into place, with its songs arising out of jams with a drummer instead of being excuses for jams. Bookended by acoustic numbers -- the first is the charmingly tossed-off title track, a song that feels clipped in its conclusion, the last a version of Lead Belly's Goodnight Irene, with the lyrics slightly modified -- the album does indeed bear the suggestion of a construction, a record that slides from obsession to obsession without calling attention to transitions. Nothing here is surprising, not the overdriven Chess boogie of Blues in the Morning or the ska shuffle of Love Overdue, but that familiarity is an asset, because Keith luxuriates in his detours so much he winds up synthesizing his affections into a signature, a move highlighted by the soulful crawl of the Norah Jones duet Illusion, a song where both singers seem seduced by the slow groove. Illusion mildly recalls Make No Mistake, but where that Talk Is Cheap number underlined its Stax connections, Crosseyed Heart isn't so edgy: Keith no longer has to prove what he has to contribute to either the Stones or the culture at large, so he settles into his favorite sounds, loving to play the blues, rock & roll, country, and folk he's always savored, then sliding into the open-chord boogie that's unmistakably his. He may not forcibly claim this ground here but that's the appeal of Crosseyed Heart: it's a winningly low-key record, where the atmosphere matters more than the songs, yet Richards doesn't neglect writing tunes this time around. 4/5

- Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide, September 2015

Keith Richards' first solo album since 1992 opens like a fever dream, with the 71-year-old rock god croaking acoustic blues like Robert Johnson after burning down a half-ounce spliff. But it's a feint. All right, that's all I got, he snaps just under two minutes in, before upshifting into his most eccentric and best-ever solo set. Crosseyed Heart is the sound of Richards following his pleasure wherever it leads, with a lean, simpatico team including longtime session pals Steve Jordan, Ivan Neville and Waddy Wachtel backing him up all the way. Naturally, there's a dip into roots reggae: Gregory Isaacs' 1974 lovers' rock signature, Love Overdue, complete with brass and Neville's sweet backing vocals. There's also a straight read of Goodnight Irene, a folk standard that Richards likely heard as a kid when the Weavers' version charted in 1950. Two originals are as strong as any Stones songs of recent decades: Robbed Blind, a Dead Flowers-scented outlaw-country ballad that echoes Merle Haggard's Sing Me Back Home, and Trouble, all hiccup-riff swagger with a slide-guitar mash note from Wachtel to ex-Stone Mick Taylor. There's a charmingly cheeky duet with Norah Jones (Illusion), and some beautifully telling moments (see Amnesia) where Keith's guitar is nearly everything — his sublime grooves sprouting melodic blooms and thorny leads. It's proof that, at core, dude's an army of one. 3.5/5

- Will Hermes, Rolling Stone, September 2015

In the Crosseyed Heart song Nothing on Me, Keith Richards reflects on his reputation as an outlaw: They laid it on too thick / They couldn't make it stick... Although it's impressive that Richards can keep a grudge warm for over 40 years, the song also brings into focus a particularly rueful sensibility that runs through the grain of Crosseyed Heart. Principally, the songs here are concerned with betrayal, romance and love lost; all delivered with the wisdom of Richards' accumulated years... In that sense, Crosseyed Heart has the warm, cask-aged feel of a late-period Dylan album. It's not dark yet, but it's getting there: just time for the playful reckoning with the myths, the ladies and the ones that got away... The best songs have a(...) relaxed vibe to them. On Amnesia, that might be a distant, funkier cousin to Doom and Gloom - Keith dryly confesses: I didn't even know the Titanic sank. Elsewhere, Robbed Blind is carried along on a rolling piano and pedal steel that channels the melody from Dylan's Queen Jane Approximately... The rest of the LP is not perfect by any standards - some of the tracks, like Heartstopper, feel like generic mid-tempo, Transatlantic rockers. Lyrically, Richards sometimes relies too heavily on the Random Stones Lyric Generator... But Richards has always worn his humour and his soul well, and those qualities are sympathetically served here. If Crosseyed Heart is an indciation of where a potential new Stones LP might one day go, then this is the kind of record you'd wish they'd make. 7/10

- Michael Bonner, Uncut, October 2015


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