Keith Richards has confirmed The Rolling Stones will be back in the studio ''very shortly''.

The 73-year-old guitarist revealed the 'Paint It Black' hitmakers - whose last album was 2005's 'A Bigger Bang' - will be working on original material and deciding which direction to take the band in.

When asked if he was inspired to get back into the studio with the group, he replied: ''Yes, we are - very, very shortly.

''Cutting some new stuff and considering where to take it next.''

The British rockers - also made up of Sir Mick Jagger, Ronnie Wood, and Charlie Watts - released 'Blue & Lonesome', an album of blues covers, in December last year and Keith hinted they are keen to make a follow up to the record.

Speaking to Ultimate Classic Rock, he added: ''I don't think we're going to sucker into that straight away.

''But it wouldn't take a twist of the arm to do some more of that. It's such fun to record, and there's plenty more where that came from.

'''Blue & Lonesome' caught us a little bit by surprise in that we figured it was something we had to do, but we didn't expect the response.''

Keith has previously admitted the group didn't ever intend to create a blues album but the project spiralled after they enjoyed recording the first few tracks.

He said: ''The reason we hit into the blues stuff was we were in a new studio and in new rooms, it always takes a while to adjust to sounds.

''So I said to Ronnie [Wood] and Mick [Jagger], 'Let's just hit into the blues,' something we're all familiar with to get the sound together. It came together so quickly and so well, suddenly Mick said, 'Well in that case, let's do this Howlin' Wolf song,' and one led to another and before we knew it we had an album without any intention of doing it.''