The Austin Chronicle reports that Jay Farrar is working on the next volume of unpublished lyrics from the Woody Guthrie Archives. Farrar, along with Jim James (My Morning Jacket), Anders Parker (Varnaline), and Will Johnson (Centro-matic), recorded the album in New York in March, and it “is currently in the mixing stage.”
“Jay sent me a priority mail package full of the lyrics, and I opened it at 4:30 in the afternoon,” Johnson recalls. “Within 17 minutes, I had already documented this one called ‘Chorine My Sheba Queen’ to the recording machine. That speaks far more about the song than anything I did. The lyrics struck me in a way that the music sounded automatic. It made such sense to my soul and my spirit. It’s got an empty and regretful tone but in a very beautiful way. I just latched onto it.”
The Guardian claims that this is “the third Mermaid Avenue collection,” but that’s not accurate. It would be at least the sixth seeing how the Klezmatics have released two albums in the series (Happy Joyous Hanukkah and Wonder Wheel), and Jonatha Brooke recently released another (The Works). Fact checking is hard!
Regardless, it still feels odd that Farrar would invite the inevitable accusations of following in the footsteps of his former bass player in Uncle Tupelo. Then again, I never would’ve thought he’d record with the guy from Death Cab either…