Former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr is stepping into the spotlight with 'The Messenger,' a new collection of songs due for release on Feb. 26, 2013.

Marr's label, Sire Records, is calling 'The Messenger' his solo debut, which hardcore fans might find curious, given that 'Boomslang,' the first and last album from Johnny Marr + the Healers, came out in 2003. But narrow distinctions aside, these new recordings mark the start of a new phase for Marr, who has spent the bulk of the last 20 years working as a producer or sideman for bands such as Talking Heads, Pet Shop Boys, and Modest Mouse.

The press release announcing 'The Messenger' promises a 12-song set that "captures Marr's musical vision exactly as he imagined, featuring his signature guitar and vocals front and center with a sound which mixes elements of angular art rock and rock n' roll." The label goes on to note that the record was written and produced entirely by Marr and recorded in Europe, where he divided his time between Berlin and the United Kingdom before settling down to master the tracks at the legendary Abbey Road Studios.

Marr discussed the new record in a recent interview with the NME, admitting that while it's "late in the day to be making my debut," he felt like the time was finally right.

"I didn't want to be in someone else's band at this point," explained Marr. "In the past I might have been reluctant to stand up front, and I've been lucky enough to be in bands with great singers, so it wasn't necessary. But this is my band now, and the frontman in my band has to play guitar. I do both."