Freedom is the theme.
"Artistic freedom is what made this record possible," says Jon Bon Jovi. "Musical freedom to explore and emotional freedom to express what was in our hearts."
The result of that dynamic freedom is Lost Highway, an album Jon describes as "a Bon Jovi record influenced by Nashville."
"I've been going to Nashville since 1991," Bon Jovi explains. "Nashville is all about songs and songwriters. If you're someone like me who loves songs and hanging out with songwriters, Nashville is the place. I thrive on that feeling and I'm inspired by that creative ambience."
The result, a haunting set of 12 new and original sounding songs, is a stunning, multi-layered look into the nature of love and life in all its glory. Love, like life, is lost, found, forgotten and reclaimed in this collection.
The moods are many, but the core feeling is pure Bon Jovi.
"Writing this record with Jon was deeply cathartic," says Richie Sambora, who collaborated on ten of the songs. "I was going through emotional changes that were new for me. An ailing father. A painful divorce. The start of a new chapter in my life. I poured everything I had into this project, every last bit of soul at my command."
"For over twenty years now," Jon explains, "Richie and I have been close collaborators. Even when our songs create fictional stories, they reveal our states of mind. To a large degree, Lost Highway focuses on the light that love brings. When you shine the light on love, you see the chinks in the armor. You see every crevice, every crack. And that's all right, which is what a song like 'Everybody's Broken' is all about."
Adding to the classic Jon Bon Jovi/Richie Sambora collaboration are the collective contributions of others.
The journey was overseen by two celebrated producers.
The first, John Shanks, is, according to Jon, "practically the fifth member of the band." Shanks' credits include Bon Jovi's 2005 Grammy Award- winning album, Have a Nice Day. The second, Dann Huff, one of Nashville's superstar producers, has enjoyed major successes with most of country music's biggest names, including Keith Urban and Rascal Flatts.
"The flow between the two production styles," adds Jon, "was natural and smooth. In fact, the entire creation of the album is as free as the open road."
"I look at Lost Highway as a diary of a period of time," says Richie. "It was a profound time - profound because we're rediscovering the simple freedom and fun of writing songs. We went for honesty and intimacy. And even though an apparent love song like 'Seat Next to You' is put in a romantic girl/boy setting, I was thinking about me and my dad. I was thinking how, no matter what happens, a son will always have a special place seated next to his father."
"When I sing 'I Love This Town,'" Jon explains, "I'm obviously talking about Nashville. Nashville is the spirit behind this energy and relaxed musical backdrop. But I'm also talking about every town where open-hearted creative energy is nourished and encouraged. That's Chicago, that's Memphis, that's London, or that's Red Bank, New Jersey. Starting out some twenty-five years ago, we grew up on the belief that great songs were the bottom line. That great songs marked memories not only for us as writers but for the audience that listened to them. Those songs were the backbone of this whole crazy music business. Lost Highway took us to a place where we could renew that belief. I believe this record has taken us back to basics - where good stories are set to good music."
Sambora sees significance in the title.
"I'm also a traveler on that Lost Highway," he says. "It's scary because it's unknown, but it's also comforting because it's leading to exciting new places. In one song Jon writes, 'In my rear view mirror my life is getting clearer.' And another song says, 'There's a whole lot of leaving going on.' Sure, there's some regret. There are tears all over this record. But there's also joy and plenty of hope, as well as the anticipation of what's to come when you start another chapter in life. In the end, there's the knowledge that Lost Highway, is a continuation on that journey."
Lost Highway is Bon Jovi's tenth studio album since the band formed in the early eighties. One hundred and twenty million albums and 2500 concerts in over 50 countries later, Bon Jovi is enjoying the greatest popularity in their history.