LOS ANGELES, Nov. 8 (UPI) -- It took a rock and rap producer to get Neil Diamond to strip down his sound on his new album "12 Songs."
Rick Rubin, known for his work with the Beastie Boys, Tom Petty, System of a Down and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, helmed Diamond's "12 Songs" and convinced the veteran singer to take a more austere approach similar to what Rubin did on Johnny Cash's "American Recordings" series of albums.
"Rick's whole approach had to do with me playing guitar and performing the song live," Diamond explains. "He wanted to hear my voice and my playing and to keep it as unadorned as possible, keep it as truthful and as minimalist as possible. That was his goal. He didn't retreat from it, and I ended up playing and singing live on every one of the cuts here."
"12 Songs" is Diamond's first set of new material since 2001's "Three Chord Opera." He wrote all of the songs as well.
Diamond resumes touring December 3 in Atlantic City, N.J.