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David Lowery talks about Cracker's new album, "Forever."

Hear a Hit?

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It's been over three years since Cracker's last studio album of new material, "Gentleman's Blues," was released. That doesn't mean that the band has been stagnant. In 2000, the Richmond band released a career-defining compilation of previously released tracks titled "Garage d'Or." Frontman David Lowery has been busy running his own record label, Pitch-A-Tent Records (www.pitch-a-tent.com). The band also toured sporadically across the country and has performed almost every weekend, including a recent tour through seldom-played Alaska.

Now the decade-old group is preparing to release a proper follow-up on Jan. 9, 2002. Style Weekly caught up with David Lowery at his Sound of Music studio where the band had just finished recording a Kinks cover for an upcoming tribute album.

Style: Do you have a title yet?

Lowery: The album is called "Forever." There isn't any real reason except that there is a song called "Forever" on it. It looked good [when] we were mocking up the album art. We just didn't have a title and the art director was just putting titles of the songs on there. On one cover it just fit well. There are actually some rough mixes hidden on our Web site [www.crackersoul.com].

Do you think that you are going to have a hit single?

I don't know. This guy — a promoter friend of ours — called from Virginia Beach. He thought that there were all of these hit singles on it. We'll see. I will never say that we will have a hit single because that is largely up to whether the record company thinks that it is a hit single and they promote it. I am not really a big fan of record labels, but they do some good. Luckily, the people we work with at Virgin want to try to help out and they do target radio.

What does the album sound like?

The record is a little more English. A bit more of a Kinks/Beatles sort of thing, although none of the songs are really like that. I was playing some of the new stuff for a friend of mine and he said that it was just quintessential Cracker — new Southern rock. I don't know how to describe it really. The first two or three songs do come from a British place.

What was the recording process like?

We recorded it all at Sound of Music. We wrote a lot of it here and Tucson. Sometimes we would just take a trip and write songs. We did demos of like 28 songs and basically cut it down to the point where we recorded like 20 of them and then finished like 13 or 14 to put on the album."

What are you going to do with the remaining tracks?

We will probably leak them off of the Web site or do some hidden tracks. Maybe we will put out an EP because we haven't done that in a while. I already have a title and album-cover idea. We have this friend of ours who is the big old Italian music-industry-type guy with a beard. I want a picture of him behind his desk with a couple of gold records on the wall and some food in his beard. He is just shouting at the camera. The title of the record will be "I Don't Hear a Hit, Boys. That's the

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