Last fall Conor Oberst released the sparse album Ruminations, a solo record in the truest sense: featuring just Oberst singing and playing guitar or piano, and some harmonica, with no additional accompaniments. It ended up being one of his best solo efforts yet, and saw his songwriting at the strongest it’s been in years.
Well, it turns out that wasn’t the original intention for those songs. Oberst has announced a new album, Salutations, which features the songs from Ruminations along with seven others recorded with a full band. That band is comprised of fraternal folk rockers The Felice Brothers, along with drummer Jim Keltner (Neil Young, George Harrison, Bob Dylan, John Lennon). It seems that the earlier release of Ruminations came about sort of by accident.
As a press release puts it:
In the midst of putting together [the] band … the passionate responses Oberst was getting to those first solo recordings, from friends and colleagues, encouraged him to release the songs as-is, in their original sparse form, as his seventh solo album …
Meanwhile, Oberst simultaneously moved ahead with his plans to record with the band, heading to the famed Shangri-la Studios in Malibu to record Salutations—co-produced with Keltner and engineered by long-time musical compadre Andy LeMaster.
The album also features a host of collaborators, including Oberst’s Monsters of Folk cohorts Jim James and M. Ward, along with Gillian Welch, Blake Mills, Maria Taylor, Gus Seyffert, Pearl Charles, Nathaniel Walcott and Jonathan Wilson.
Salutations is out March 17 via Nonesuch Records, and is available for preorder now. Oberst will be hitting the road with The Felice Brothers serving as his backing band, beginning with a hometown show in Omaha, Neb. on March 9. March dates go on sale Jan. 21 at noon, and May and July dates go on sale starting Jan. 27 at noon. $1 per ticket sold will go to support Planned Parenthood, thanks to a partnership between Oberst and Plus 1.
Check out the video for “A Little Uncanny,” directed by Josh Rawson, as well as the videos for “Tachycardia” and “Napalm,” and the album art, tracklist and tour dates all below.
01. Too Late to Fixate
02. Gossamer Thin
05. Next Of Kin
07. Mamah Borthwick (A Sketch)
08. Till St. Dymphna Kicks Us Out
09. Barbary Coast (Later)
11. Empty Hotel by the Sea
12. Anytime Soon
13. Counting Sheep
14. Rain Follows the Plow
15. You All Loved Him Once
16. A Little Uncanny
Conor Oberst Tour Dates:
09 – Omaha, Neb. @ The Waiting Room Lounge
10 – Kansas City, Mo. @ Madrid Theater
11 – Memphis, Tenn. @ Minglewood Hall
12 – Tulsa, Okla. @ Cain’s Ballroom
14 – San Antonio, Texas @ Paper Tiger
16 – Spicewood, Texas @ Luck Reunion
17 – Houston, Texas @ Warehouse Live
18 – New Orleans, La. @ The Civic Theatre
19 – Macon, Ga. @ Cox Capitol Theatre
21 – Asheville, N.C. @ The Orange Peel
22 – Chattanooga, Tenn. @ Track 29
23 – Atlanta, Ga. @ Variety Playhouse
24 – McMinnville, Tenn. @ Bluegrass Underground
25 – St Louis, Mo. @ The Pageant
26 – Iowa City, Iowa @ The Englert Theater
12 – Oakland, Calif. @ The Fox
13 – Los Angeles, Calif. @ The Greek Theater
19 – Austin, Texas @ ACL Live at The Moody Theater
14-16 – Louisville, Ky. @ Forecastle Festival
20 – Brooklyn, N.Y. @ Celebrate Brooklyn
21 – Boston, Mass. @ The House of Blues