Traditional torch-bearer Aaron Watson revealed the complete Red Bandana track list today, as exclusively announced by American Songwriter.The “reigning indie underdog’s” (Rolling Stone) brand new project, co-produced with Jordan Lehning, is slated for a June 21 release. The epic collection of twenty self-penned songs, written solely by Watson, puts him in elite company, marking the first mainstream country album in over a decade to be entirely authored by one person, having last occurred with Alan Jackson’s Good Time (2008).
“Red Bandana is the album I’ve been working towards my entire career,” says Watson. “There are 20 songs and they represent each of the 20 years I’ve been blessed to play shows and make Country Music. I wanted to give my incredible fans something more, a complete musical experience combined with poetry and cinematic moments — I even recorded the sound of my Grandmother’s wind chimes, the fuzz of my Dad’s AM radio and the rattle of the train that passes by my ranch — and can’t wait for everyone to hear the full record from start to finish.”
Officially slated for a June 21, 2019 release via his own BIG Label Records (distributed by ADA Worldwide), Red Bandana has already landed on multiple “most anticipated country albums of the year” lists including Saving Country Music and The Boot. Watson kicked off the year with the high intensity(Whiskey Riff) debut track from the 20-song collection, “Kiss That Girl Goodbye.” The song captures the essence of leaving” (Taste Of Country) and with over 2.5 million on demand streams, is breaking out in major radio markets like Pittsburgh, Chicago, San Antonio, Austin, Jacksonville, Charleston, Fresno, Portland and more with Westwood One’s “Hot Country” and Music Choice’s “Today’s Country” leading the way nationally.
Josh Abbott Band
As Josh Abbott Band moved into the final stages of work on Until My Voice Goes Out, lead singer Josh Abbott’s personal life took a couple significant twists that underscored where JAB finds itself professionally. Abbott’s father suffered a stroke while the album was being recorded, and Josh split his time between the studio and the hospital bedside, finishing all the lead vocals shortly before his dad passed away. Two months later, Josh welcomed his first child into the world.
Those developments in the spring of 2017 nutshelled the circle of life, and in a way, that’s how Until My Voice Goes Out operates. As the band observes 10 years since recording its first single, “Taste,” Voice finds the seven-piece Texas ensemble ending one chapter and beginning another. Its last album, the dramatic Front Row Seat, encapsulated the life cycle of a relationship, from its passionate start to its heartbreaking conclusion. It was a summary document of events from the past.
Until My Voice Goes Out is, by contrast, a hopeful look into the future, a roll-up-the-sleeves-and-moveforward embrace of life and its potential.
“This album is about appreciating the moment and your family and your friends, and living life the right way,” Abbott says. “It’s really all about finding clarity and focusing on what’s important.”
Experiencing life at its fullest includes taking risks, and Josh Abbott Band does that successfully in Until My Voice Goes Out, incorporating strings and a horn section for the first time. The approach layered both a glassy classicism and a ragged soul on the well-oiled JAB framework. Arranger Rob Mathes – noted for his work with Tony Bennett, Sting and Bruce Springsteen – worked up a handful of mood-setting string preludes and added to JAB’s range by, for example, weaving classy, dancing violins into “Girl Down In Texas” alongside Austin Davis’ plucky banjo and drummer Edward Villanueva’s firm backbeat. Mathes lathered a thick, Memphis-soul layer atop “Texas Women, Tennessee Whiskey” and threw a buzzing baritone sax under “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot,” with the Austin-based horn section Groove Line carrying it out in thick precision.
“The guys were really hesitant that this would work,” Abbott concedes, “but I just said, ‘Look, let’s take another bold leap of faith here. Let’s go in the studio and record these songs and kick ass, the way we would make a normal album, but once we’re done making the cake, let’s see if the horns and the strings can put the icing on it.’ The band still recorded an album that sounds like us. You still have the banjo and a lot of fun, upbeat stuff and some really pretty love songs, and that’s core to JAB (Josh Abbott Band). That’s how we got our start.”