Chrissie Hynde Is Back Without the Pretenders

After three decades fronting the Pretenders, Chrissie Hynde

finally steps out from behind the band’s moniker to work on another

project.

Hynde, 59, has made an inspired move since her new

group, which will showcase its debut album, ‘Fidelity!,’ Thursday at the Keswick Theater, is a nice contrast from the Pretenders.

Hynde’s new band lacks the precision that has long been a

trademark of the Pretenders. There is a raw, fresh quality to the

songs. The tunes exude warmth and there is an energy that recalls the

early Pretender days.

“I’m always out to challenge myself,” Hynde said. “There’s no reason that you can’t challenge yourself as you get older. That’s so in the world of music. I don’t want to stand still. It’s alright to do something different. I think we have something here that really is incredible. It definitely has set off a spark inside of me.”

Perhaps Hynde enjoys not being the ringleader for once. The

responsibility is split with the capable JP Jones, who co-wrote each

of the eleven songs with Hynde.

Almost each track is sung as a duet. There’s a palpable chemistry

between Hynde,and her collaborater, who is less than half her

age. “I never was one of those people that ever thought that age mattered,” Hynde said.

Hynde certainly doesn’t discriminate due to age. Five years ago she was tight with Kings of Leon leader Caleb Followill. “Caleb is young and is part of a really great rock band,” Hynde said. “What difference does age make?”

It’s not as if her new band has resuscitated her career. The

celebrated vegan is proving that she has much to contribute as she

approaches her twilight years. ‘The Pretenders 2008 release ‘Break Up

The Concrete’ is the band’s best work in 24 years.

“I think I’m still valid and coming up with (solid) songs,” Hynde said. “The music still flows through me. More of it has been coming to me lately and that’s such a great thing.”

Hynde proves she still has the touch regardless of which act she

fronts. It’ll be curious to see if JP, Chrissie and the Fairground

Boys are as loose live as the band is in the studio.

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