The original plan was to cut the record in Pasadena with Joe Henry producing at his home studio, but when Joe moved house, the studio was no longer available. The budget did not run to an LA studio so the collaboration was shelved and it was decided to return to Neil Brockbank who produced the duo's debut album, How Do You Plead? Between them they pulled in an array of UK musicians who between them had worked with the likes of Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Ben E King, Van Morrison and Dr John.
Back in time: My Darling Clementine
The songwriting process for the new album began in a tiny cottage on Long Beach, in Washington State, midway thorough a West Coast tour in Spring 2015. Following a show in Eugene, Oregen, Lou was taken ill and rushed to a nearby hospital. Consequently, five shows were cancelled and a week of recuperation was ordered. She and Michael decamped to a beach house donated by some fans from Seattle and the seeds of the new album were sown.
One of the first songs was aptly named Eugene, written by Lou about her recent terrifying and upsetting events.
One of Michael's new songs,Two Lane Texaco, portrays the demise of small town America, and a musical golden age, recounting the halcyon days of radio, the Shreveport radio tower and such iconic figures as Alan Freed and Wolfman Jack.
The 3rd and Final Testament is scheduled for release in March 2017.
The collaboration saw Mark narrating his story to the backdrop of Michael and Lou's songs. The album also featured guest appearances from singer Graham Parker and actor David Morrissey.
According to the duo, on the new record: ''The pedal steel has given way to horns, the twang given way to wah-wah and the fiddle replaced by strings. It is more Delaney & Bonnie than George and Tammy.''