The 2011 Bonnaroo performance by the polyglot Tuscan artist Jovanotti (nee Lorenzo Cherubini) won over American live music fans, critics and industry alike. Among those taken by Jovanotti's artistry and charisma was the leadership of ATO Records, which will introduce American audiences to him with Italia 1988-2012, a career retrospective including four new tracks, on August 7. This is the artist's first physical album of studio recordings to be released in the U.S., and the first time much of the material has been released here in any format.
Rather than a greatest hits collection, album producer Ian Brennan compiled and remixed what he considers Jovanotti's most compelling material-the songs that exemplify the latter's reputation as a Springsteen-style rock poet. The album also includes four altogether-new tracks: the new songs "New York for Life" and "Con La Luce Negli Occhi," and radical reworkings of Jovanotti's songs "La Porta É Aperta" (from the Ora album) and "Mezzogiorno" (from the Safari album).
Brennan is a longtime Jovanotti fan who won a Grammy earlier this year for Tinariwen's Tassili (Anti-); produced the debut of Rain Machine, the solo project of Kyp Malone (TV on the Radio); has helmed Grammy-nominated albums by Peter Case and Ramblin' Jack Elliott; and has worked with Flea, Lucinda Williams, Nels Cline (Wilco), Fugazi, Green Day, Merle Haggard, Corin Tucker (Sleater-Kinney), Bill Frisell, Jonathan Richman and others.
Jovanotti has already achieved rock star status in much of the rest of the world. In his native Italy, over the course of 25 years, he has sold over five million albums. Jovanotti's most recent studio album, 2011's Ora (Now), debuted at #1 there, went on to become the best-selling album of the year, and resulted in sell-outs over 50 arena and stadium dates. In the last few years, he has appeared on the cover of the Italian editions of Rolling Stone, GQ, Vanity Fair and L'Uomo Vogue, among other magazines.