His old hit albums remain big sellers, and he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004, but Bob Seger hadn't exactly kept a high profile over the last decade.
That has all changed now.
Last year, the great heartland rocker released his first album in 11 years, Face the Promise. And, perhaps more noteworthy for longtime fans of this artist who made his name as a dynamic live act, he embarked on his first tour in 10 years with his Silver Bullet Band. That tour will come to the Wachovia Spectrum on Thursday.
And rest assured: The guy who bellowed the praises of "Old Time Rock and Roll" is making no concessions to fashion. His music retains the no-frills, blue-collar ethos it's always had.
"That's my sensibility, it's just what I like," the 61-year-old Seger says over the phone from his Naples, Fla., vacation home. "I like big, heavy drums, blues-based electric guitar. I like acoustic guitar and acoustic piano, and I like that gospel kind of singing behind me that I've had since '72. I've got the same gals singing with me, and they're on tour, too."
The singer of "Night Moves," "Hollywood Nights" and many other hits didn't intend to go so long between albums. A project he completed in the late '90s didn't turn out to his satisfaction, so he scrapped it. He writes and records all the time, he says. What takes a lot of time is paring the material down to the 12 cuts he wants to put on the album.
He's come up with a strong dozen for Face the Promise. The album mixes guitar-driven rockers, including a duet with Kid Rock on Vince Gill's "Real Mean Bottle" (the only nonoriginal), with "Against the Wind"-style midtempo ballads.
With his raspy voice, Seger remains one of rock's premier vocalists. The whole project has a fresh, timeless feel, underscoring the durability of his bedrock sound.
The seeds of his current tour were planted at his Hall of Fame induction.
"My kids went and saw me, and they were 9 and 12 at the time, and they were all excited about it," Seger says. "They said, 'Dad, you ought to go on tour.' So I said, 'OK, I will.'"
As rightfully proud as he is of Face the Promise, Seger understands what his fans want most, even in his own backyard. Back home in Michigan, he says, questions about the next tour always far outnumber questions about a new album.
"It's like 3 to 1: 'When are you going to tour?' Everybody wants to see the show."