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An American Trilogy

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Editors’ Notes

Mickey Newbury had a gift for writing powerfully melancholic songs that wedded impressionistic imagery and complex narratives to a terse, matter-of-fact delivery. His distinct songwriting was enormously influential on outlaw country luminaries like Billy Joe Shaver and Kris Kristofferson, who claims that Newbury’s “Why You Been Gone So Long” inspired him to write his signature “Me and Bobbie McGee.” With American Trilogy, Drag City has reissued three of Newbury’s best and most ambitious albums: 1969’s It Looks Like Rain, 1971’s Frisco Mabel Joy, and 1973’s Heaven Help the Child. The label has also appended a disc of studio outtakes and rarities, providing some insight into Newbury’s songwriting process. Though many of the songs here became hits in other artists' hands, the interpretations on these albums are definitive. Listeners will be particularly struck by Newbury’s understated take on “She Even Woke Me Up to Say Goodbye,” which replaces the bitterness of Jerry Lee Lewis’ chart-topping read on the song with a palpable sense of loss.

Biography

Born: May 19, 1940 in Houston, TX

Genre: Country

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Along with fellow songwriters such as Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, and Tom T. Hall, Mickey Newbury helped revolutionize country music in the 1960s and '70s by bringing new, broader musical influences as well as a frank, emotional depth to the music — while at the same time never losing respect for tradition. Newbury infused his country music with haunting beauty and spiritual melancholy, creating an impressive collection of introspective, emotionally complex songs that are more spiritual...
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An American Trilogy, Mickey Newbury
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