Yesterday Bob Weir premiered the second single from his forthcoming solo album, a track in which he looks to “fly from my troubles” to a place called “Gonesville.”
Weir ran away from home when he was 15 to be a Wyoming cowboy. He bunked at a ranch with older cowboys who spent their evenings singing songs together. “I was the kid with the guitar, so I was the accompaniment,” he said in a recent video interview with TRI Studios LLC. “I learned a bunch of those songs and got steeped in that tradition. It’s a tradition that’s almost gone. I’ve been sort of wondering what to do with that for decades now.”
His solution: a full album of cowboy-inspired music, titled Blue Mountain, to be released at the end of this month. This isn’t Weir’s first foray into performing cowboy music: he sang tunes like “El Paso” and “Jack Straw,” among others, with the Grateful Dead. It is, however, his inaugural effort to make this a theme for an entire body of work.
Not only that, but this is the first time we’ve gotten a release of entirely new music from Weir in decades. It’s only the third solo album he has recorded in a musical career of more than fifty years (not counting the compilation release Weir Here).
On his Instagram page (not even ex-cowboy hippies are immune to the demands of social media marketing), Weir explained that “Gonesville” is a take on “a Rockabilly tune. I was trying to go back and channel Elvis for that one, for the vocal, and for the music as well.”
Josh Ritter also collaborated on the writing of “Gonesville.” Blue Mountain will come out on Sept. 30 via Legacy Recordings/Columbia Records. Listen to “Gonesville” below.