Former Live frontman Ed Kowalczyk credits his producer of two years, Jamie Candiloro, not only with expanding his musical boundaries on his latest solo effort "The Flood and the Mercy," but also with securing former R.E.M. lead guitarist Peter Buck to play on it. And neither musician needed much convincing to team up.

amNewYork spoke with Kowalczyk in anticipation of his two upcoming sold-out performances at Joe's Pub.

You've been pretty prolific writing songs lately. What accounts for this flood of new material?Just a full-blown renaissance of energy and passion for doing music again. Just really went with moving into this new chapter in my life as a solo artist and working with producer Jamie Candiloro on the latest EP and full length.

Peter Buck from R.E.M. guests on the album. How'd that come about?I've known [R.E.M.] off and on over the years, sung on stage with them. I hadn't seen Peter in a long time and then Jamie happened to be at a wedding that Peter [was] also attending while we were recording. Peter had asked him, "Oh what are you working on these days?" and he said, "I'm working on Ed Kowalczyk's new solo album," and he said, "Oh man, I'd love to play on it." So, Jamie called me up and said, "Would you like Peter Buck to play on your record?" How many times can you say yes?

Right, clearly you don't want one of the greatest guitarists of all time to play on your record.

[Laughs] Right, so capital Y, yes. ... The whole experience was pretty much a dream come true.

What was your progression as a songwriter and your self-described "new phase"?

You know looking back on all of the [Live records] ... I see myself pushing into different directions, really just for its own sake, ... which drove record companies insane, because they want part two, part three, part four. I'm not going to write the same song again. ... I feel like there's elements in some ways of every era of my songwriting and producing career in ["The Flood and the Mercy"].