Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy pays tribute to Merle Haggard on new album Best Troubador

Watch a VR music video for his cover of "Mama Tried"

It’s always great to see a singer-songwriter reach a point in his or her career that they can look back and pay homage to what brought them there in the first place. Well, that’s exactly what Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy plans to do with his latest effort, Best Troubador, due out May 5th via Drag City. The artist in question? The late and great Merle Haggard.

Best Troubador is more than just a covers album, though. For this project, which was in the works long before Haggard’s passing last year, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy sorted through his hero’s vastly diverse collection, opting for personal favorites that found “Merle and himself together in the music,” according to a press release.

Originally planned to be recorded in Nashville, Tennessee, the artist recorded the songs at home, “capturing feeling, memory, and new expression in familiar confines” alongside the Bonafide United Musicians: Van Campbell, Nuala Kennedy, Danny Kiley, Drew Miller, Cheyenne Mize and Chris Rodahoffer, with special guests Mary Feiock, Emmett Kelly, A.J. Roach, and Matt Sweeney.

It’s an effort that’s “wistful and bittersweet, for the triumph of a life spent in unending pursuit of the goal: new and expressive music, as our inspirations and heroes once sang it.” To understand what all that means, he’s gone ahead and shared a VR music video of his rendition of “Mama Tried”, the 1968 title track to Haggard’s seventh album. Watch below.

Best Troubador Tracklist:
01. The Fugitive
02. I’m Always on a Mountain When I Fall
03. The Day the Rains Came
04. Haggard (Like I’ve Never Been Before)
05. I Always Get Lucky With You
06. Leonard
07. My Old Pal
08. Roses in the Winter
09. Some of Us Fly
10. Wouldn’t That Be Something
11. Pray
12. That’s the Way Love Goes
13. Nobody’s Darling
14. What I Hate (excerpt)
15. I Am What I Am
16. If I Could Only Fly


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