The rumors are true -- I spent one magical evening with Michael Bolton, drinking wine and dining on the largest wheel of Parmesan cheese I've ever seen.

Oh yeah, and Michael Bolton is collaborating with Lady Gaga.

In celebration of his new album, he invited me and a bunch of other writers and publicists out to the Bolton Compound in Connecticut for a wild lobster- and Grey Goose–fueled listening party.

But more about "One World, One Love" later. First, the compound. Michael Bolton has two houses -- one of which he uses just for recording, which is I guess how you roll when you have a table setting's worth of Grammys. This is where we first go when we arrive. It's tastefully decorated with photos and flowers, memorabilia and mementos -- and a mid-80s black and white photo of Cher hand-inscribed "Dear Michael, I'm wearing the white panties like I promised ..." Whoa there, Cher!

The second house, separated from the first by a tennis-cum-basketball court is where Michael Bolton actually lives. There, our coats are checked and we head to tables swathed in fresh meats, veggies and a cheese wheel that looks like it swallowed eight other cheese wheels. (Joe, the cheesemonger, tells me that "Michael really likes his cheese." Clearly.). The other writers and I immediately head for the (free) bar and start snacking. As we eye up the comfy digs, one by one we begin to notice a tall, tanned, hairy-chested stranger in our midst. Mr. Bolton has entered the building.

He is decked in light jeans, a tan sport coat and a white shirt buttoned down half-way. He meets and greets. He's very pleasant and engaging. He wants to talk about Lady Gaga, with whom he collaborated on "One World."

The second house, separated from the first by a tennis-cum-basketball court is where Michael Bolton actually lives. There, our coats are checked and we head to tables swathed in fresh meats, veggies and a cheese wheel that looks like it swallowed eight other cheese wheels. (Joe, the cheesemonger, tells me that "Michael really likes his cheese." Clearly.). The other writers and I immediately head for the (free) bar and start snacking. As we eye up the comfy digs, one by one we begin to notice a tall, tanned, hairy-chested stranger in our midst. Mr. Bolton has entered the building.

He is decked in light jeans, a tan sport coat and a white shirt buttoned down half-way. He meets and greets. He's very pleasant and engaging. He wants to talk about Lady Gaga, with whom he collaborated on "One World."

Gaga, it turns out, approached him a couple of months before her debut album dropped, asking to collaborate. She's a big fan and he was happy to oblige, though initially skeptical about her talents. But! "We were in the studio from six at night till eight in the morning," he says, and he was impressed. She's the real deal, he thinks. The result is the song "Murder My Heart," the name of which Gaga came up with on the fly. She's a genius like that.

And the track is pretty good. "Murder My Heart" has Gaga's typical melodramatic piano flare. He plays us "Murder My Heart" along with several other tracks off of "One World" after we've gathered around the console of his basement studio, sufficiently soused. Several of the new songs were produced with young production team The Jam, and the bass is heavier than your typical adult contempo fare. The record also features a song done with NeYo. Where White Hot Soul and Blazing R&B meet, am I right?

At one point, Michael Bolton's assistant kindly asks my friend Matt and I if we're dating. Matt cannot help but quip, "How can we be lovers if we can't be friends?" Truer words, Matt. I am just happy that Michael Bolton isn't lurking around us to hear himself quoted.

Before we leave, I take a long last look around Michael Bolton's house. There are photos of Bolton with Muhammad Ali and Michael Jordan. There are lots of gold and platinum records on the wall. There is a huge poster of mullet-era "When a Man Loves a Woman" Bolton in the foyer. He has a fancy rotating Scrabble board, a DVD of "Scared Witless" (starring Larry the Cable Guy!), and a bronze bust of himself propped on a corner table in the living room.

"One World, One Love" deserves to be a mega-hit -- but even if it's not, Michael Bolton's going to be all right.

Julie Gerstein is a music lover, Boltoholic and frequent Lemondrop contributor.