In the last year, Solomon Burke won a Grammy and a W.C. Handy Award, sold more than 200,000 copies of his album Don't Give Up on Me (recorded with Eric Clapton, Jools Holland, and Van Morrison), and opened for the Rolling Stones, Morrison, and the Counting Crowes. He also toured Europe several times and performed at U.S. festivals. Now, he's working on another album.
The man who has been called "the king of rock and soul" comes to Cain Park on August 15 for his first Cleveland-area appearance since an underpublicized, underattended show at the Rock Hall in February 2002. He'll perform some of his '60s classics, special requests like "Proud Mary," and perhaps some new material. "You have to be saying something to the people in the songs that makes sense, that connects with them, that connects with you, that brings home a reality point," says Burke, a preacher based in Los Angeles.
Look for a 60 Minutes segment on Burke this fall and a new album sometime next year. And look for a relatively svelte Burke, who came close to breaking the scales at 350-plus pounds. "I had a great review in Spain," he says. "[It] said, 'Solomon Burke came onstage, and the suit looked baggy.' I loved that.
"I'm the only artist in the world, used to have chicken sandwiches in my pocket," he says, cracking up. "I don't carry them anymore. I keep them in my dressing room."