Entitled "The Union," the new CD, produced by T Bone Burnett, will be released in the U.S. Oct. 19 on the Decca Records label and in the U.K. Oct. 25 on Mercury Records. "The Union" features songs written by John and Bernie Taupin in collaboration with Russell and Burnett.
Recorded live in a studio with John and Russell on dueling pianos, the CD features a variety of musical genres from R&B, soul, gospel, country, pop and rock. Neil Young and Brian Wilson provide guest vocals on the 16-track recording along with R&B organist Booker T. Jones, steel guitarist Robert Randolph and a ten-piece gospel choir.
"In the late '60s and early '70s, the one piano player and vocalist who influenced me more than anybody else was Leon Russell," Elton John said in a statement. "He was my idol." The pair went on to tour together. After years of being out of touch, John listened to Russell's music while on safari in Africa last summer and was inspired to reconnect with his idol. "Elton called to ask if I would do a duet album with him," Russell said. "I'm very happy that he chose me to do this."