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“He’s chomping at the bit to get in the studio.” So there you had it: A “soul masterpiece” on the horizon that no one wanted to discuss.
By spring, speculation about the new stuff was running rampant.
“Man, you know me,” he said a few years back, in an online interview with his trusted friend and drummer, Questlove. I can’t force a situation.” D’Angelo seemed to be waiting for inspiration. I was poking around, vicariously prying into his life while I waited to meet him in person.
Using Web pages and newspaper clippings, the downhill slide he’d been on came fully into focus.
Further speculation about the recording was reiterated in an e-mail, sent by his former tour manager Alan Leeds, to the press after the accident.
“He needs several weeks home,” Leeds wrote, “and then, once doctors give the high sign, he goes to Nashville to resume working on his next album.” Both men seemed to be using the Nashville spin as damage control. In a late-April phone call, he would not speak on the record. Londell Mc Millan, phoned at his office in New York, was also blowing me off.
The singer had been pulled over for speeding in January 2005 and arrested on DUI and drug possession charges.
His lawyer, Ned Mikula, helped that decision along by begging leniency for the singer, insisting he was bolting straight to Nashville to begin work on a follow-up to Voodoo. Proof that D’Angelo never made it to Music City USA was lying in a downtown hospital bed.
When people ask you about exes, and I’ll just throw out a name here — D’Angelo — you’re very straightforward about it. Once I gave my life to God, I realized there’s so much more to life than trying to go back down avenues. When I have my wedding ring, then I’ll have it all . My album bridges the gap — it sits right on the cusp of young and old generations. A whole paragraph was omitted, and it really hurt me when one of my girlfriends was omitted who was with me in my darkest hour. They asked me to do a song for Spike Lee’s new movie. The other thing I have to tell you about is Butterfingers, my band. But his life and his career seem to be coming apart, very publicly, at the seams.Rumors of D’Angelo’s forthcoming album, and his work in a Nashville studio, came to light, coincidentally, as the bottom fell out. 19, 2005, Hummer accident, he was seen high-fiving his way out of a Chesterfield courthouse after a judge had handed down a three-year suspended jail sentence (and no fine to speak of) for cocaine possession.Guys like Anthony Hamilton, his friend and former backup singer, discussed the new record as a point of fact while in Richmond in early April, though he added he hadn’t heard it himself.Even the online encyclopedia Wikipedia — not necessarily a model of consistency — carries rumor of the new album, calling it by the relatively prosaic working title James River.