Paul McCartney Teams With Laura Marling Producer to Record 'Hosannah'

Ethan Johns and Macca record four new songs as Beatle's next album takes shape

Paul McCartney New Album Fall Ethan Johns
Paul McCartney considers the possibilities Photo by Getty Images
Chris Martins WRITTEN BY
Chris Martins

The march toward Paul McCartney's 16th solo studio album continues. Rolling Stone has scrounged up a few more details via producer Ethan Johns, who lent his skills to Laura Marling's stunning new album Once I Was an Eagle. It was the English studio whiz's work on the first three Kings of Leon LPs however that got Macca's attention. That, and likely the fact that Ethan's producer father Glyn Johns worked with the Beatles (and the Who, and the Rolling Stones).

Either way, one day the younger Johns received the call — "Would you like to go into the studio with Paul?" — and he naturally said yes. The pair first hooked up in London's AIR Studios where they laid down a ballad dubbed "Hosannah" reportedly using vintage instruments, analog tape, and a few psychedelic effects in post-production. Sir McCartney was apparently pleased with the results, and invited Johns to Abbey Road for a session that lasted for the better part of a month.

"The first thing he said was, 'What do you feel like doing?,'" Johns told RS. "I could have said, 'Let's spend the day making percussion loops with drum machines,' and he would have been, 'Great! Let's do that!' I don't think he ever said 'No,' which is kind of the mark of who he is as an artist, really. He's always up for trying something new ... It was revelatory for me, recording Paul in that space having listened to the sound of those Beatles records."

The sessions apparently involved only the pair, with McCartney recording bass, guitar, drums, and keys, and Johns adding more of the latter three as well. They walked away with four new songs that will be up for consideration when it comes time to dial in McCartney's new album, reportedly due out this fall. McCartney has also been in the studio with Mark Ronson, Paul Epworth, and Giles Martin, who is the son of a so-called Fifth Beatle, engineer George Martin.

Macca has been on the festival circuit of late. Read all about his sets at Bonnaroo and Outside Lands.

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