Snow Patrol and REM join forces
Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody has teamed up with REM guitarist Peter Buck and a host of A-list musicians to record a country concept album.
Working under the name Tired Pony, the band's album includes contributions from actress Zooey Deschanel and Tom Smith from rock group The Editors.
Lightbody described the record - called The Place We Ran From - as a "twisted love letter to the States".
He added that the band would play a concert in London to support the album.
"We just wanted to do a gig as soon as possible, to let people see that it was a proper band, not just this odd floating idea," Lightbody told BBC 6 Music.
"It seemed crazy to do something as good as this record is and just walk away from it," added Buck.
"There'll hopefully be some shows and maybe another record."
'Icing on the cake'
The Tired Pony project came together after Lightbody sketched ideas for a country album in a notebook during Snow Patrol's 2009 world tour.
"I can't get away with writing pure country music because I haven't lived that life," he explained, "but I love it so much that I always wanted to try my hand at it."
"It's inspired by my love of Wilco, Calexico, Lambchop, Palace, Smog - these bands that look at the darkness in America."
The singer said he had initially intended to record the album with friends, including Snow Patrol's guitar technician Troy Stewart (who appears on the finished record) but producer Garrett "Jacknife" Lee suggested recruiting Buck after working with REM.
"That was the icing on the cake for me," Lightbody said "because I'm such a fan."
Buck said he had "no idea what was going to happen" when he entered the recording studio, but the band gelled "by the second day".
"Gary would just play a song, then [we would] immediately go out play it once, or maybe twice, and then it was done.
"I didn't even know Gary was considering it as 'a band' until it was nearly finished."
"Nobody really stuck to one instrument," added Lightbody, "so you can't say, 'he's the lead guitarist' because he played bass and keyboards as well."
"In fact, everybody did."