He’s still the frontman for house-party rocking J. Geils Band, but Peter Wolf also maintains a more serious, subdued solo career. His first release in six years is filled with downtempo, darkly intimate tracks — eight of the 12 are ballads — that describe what it’s like to be a 70-year-old still “Rolling On,” as the first song puts it. The route can be fraught with potholes: “Now I’m not a young man. . . I don’t know what song to sing,” he admits in “Peace of Mind,” given a Muscle Shoals feel by Wolf’s Boston-based touring band, used nearly throughout the disc. Wolf further confesses in “Fun for a While” (looking back on his rock star days) and the playful “Mr. Mistake” (about his romantic wanderlust). That last song has some swing to it, but not much else here pushes the energy meter, except for the John Lee Hooker-like “How Do You Know” — and a surprise bluegrass remake of the Geils Band’s “Love Stinks” recorded live in Maine.
Essential “How Do You Know”
Peter Wolf performs at the Somerville Theatre May 12.