posted April 22nd, 2011

Mickey Newbury was a songwriter's songwriter operating at the dawn of rock's singer-songwriter era. His songs were covered early and often, and they scored hits of all kinds for hundreds of artists in a diversity of Billboard categories - for everyone but Mickey. His songs crossed boundaries and his own versions were too far afield of one category or another to capture the popular imagination at the time the records were made. But Mickey's influence was far-reaching. In addition to his catalog of popular songs, he was a contemporary and champion to Kris Kristofferson, Townes Van Zandt, Willie Nelson, David Allen Coe, Guy Clark and any other songwriter whose work moved him. Although Mickey didn't think of himself as a country music singer, he was well-loved within that community, respected as an incredibly magnetic performer whose impact on a crowd left the other singers unwilling to follow him on stage. Check the magic here:

Yes, despite the hits and versions of Newbury songs by over a thousand performers (including Johnny Cash, Scott Walker, Ray Charles, Joan Baez, The Everly Brothers, Dolly Parton, Waylon Jennings, Tom Jones, BB King, Tammy Wynette, The Box Tops, Phish, Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Swamp Dogg, Etta James, Nick Cave, Larry Jon Wilson and Bonnie "Prince" Billy), Mickey Newbury himself was by far the best interpreter of his songs. Now we at Drag City have the infinite luxury of presenting three of his greatest albums, sourced from the original master tapes for the first time since their original issue, to the people! The CD box set An American Trilogy collects his second, third and fourth albums Looks Like Rain, 'Frisco Mabel Joy, and Heaven Help the Child, and adds a disc of previously unreleased material comprising demos, alternate takes, and a radio session from the same period (1969-73). They're all also going to be issued as stand-alone LPs, even the rarities disc, called Better Days. The CD Box is super-deluxe packaging and the LPs duplicate the original releases exhaustively. All this is coming soon: the date it'll be in stores is May 17th. Wow!!!

Artists in this story: Mickey Newbury