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The Rolling Stones to release first album in over 10 years in 2016

Ever since it was reported that The Rolling Stones were headed back to the studio last December, fans have been eagerly anticipating new songs from the long-enduring rock legends. But given the length of time fans have already waited — the Stones’ last studio album came out in 2005 — most expected this latest release might be in gestation for a good while.

Not so, according to a recent Billboard interview with guitarist Ronnie Wood. The group could have new songs out before the end of 2016, Wood says, after a successful bout in the studio yielded a number of worthy new blues songs and classic-sounding covers.

Related: Paul McCartney to release new four-record compilation of post-Beatles hits

“We went in to cut some new songs, which we did. But we got on a blues streak. We cut 11 blues in two days,” Wood said. “They are extremely great cover versions of Howlin’ Wolf and Little Walter, among other blues people. But they really sound authentic.”

Wood claimed the new recordings would be released to the public this year.

Old-school covers aren’t totally off of the map for The Rolling Stones, who started as a blues band when they originally formed in 1962. In fact, blues-heavy content will probably bode well for sales of the new record, as longtime fans of the outfit are likely eager to hear the band take a sonic journey back to their roots.

It won’t hurt that, as far as Wood is concerned, the new cuts sound amazing.

“When we heard them back after not hearing them for a couple of months, we were, ‘Who’s that? It’s you,'” Wood said. “It sounded so authentic.”

The Stones have released a total of 24 studio albums in the United States, with the last being 2005’s A Bigger Bang. A hard-working quartet who have toured heavily throughout their career, the band just wrapped up a massively-successful (but somewhat precarious) South American tour, including one stop in Cuba.

Given that the album was only recorded four months ago, it will likely see a fall or winter release if it’s to hit shelves in 2016. Still, that’s a lot sooner than most fans expected, and if the material is anywhere near as good as Wood says it is, they should be in for a treat.