- Mickey Newbury
- An American Trilogy
A veteran of the Nashville circuit for nearly five decades, Mickey Newbury is the biggest name in country of which you’ve never heard—a man who has been called the genre’s first true outlaw by some as well the first “hippie-cowboy” by others. In many ways, both factions are correct.
As a member of the prestigious Acuff-Rose Music publishing house, the Texas-born Newbury has helped launch the careers of Kris Kristofferson, Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark and David Allen Coe. His songs have been interpreted by over 1000 performers, serving as possibly the sole link connecting the artistry of Dolly Parton, Scott Walker, Joan Baez, Ray Charles, Johnny Cash, Bill Monroe, The Box Tops and Nick Cave. He was also the only act to enjoy concurrent No. 1 hits on the pop, country, R&B and easy listening charts. So the fact that this dude has been long overdue for a definitive anthology chronicling his storied career is nothing short of a gross understatement.
But finally the years of standing in the shadows of Music City USA have paid off in the form of this stunning new box set from the Drag City label. Encased in a package designed by Grammy-winning former Revenant Records in-house production artist Susan Archie, An American Trilogy features Newbury’s trio of masterpieces recorded between 1969 and 1973 for Mercury and Elektra— Looks Like Rain, Frisco Mabel Joy and Heaven Help The Child —a trio of works whose experimental utilization of orchestral arrangements and spacey atmospherics delivered country music into a whole new realm of creative territory that rivaled the works of Van Dyke Parks and Tim Buckley at the time.
Additionally, the collection includes a fourth CD that features a set of previously unreleased and unheard rarities and alternate takes of several Newbury gems, as well as a 1970 radio session he recorded for legendary DJ Skip Weshner for his show on KRHM-FM in Los Angeles. There’s also a booklet chock full of rare photos donated by the Newbury Family’s archives and insightful liner notes that contain exclusive interviews with several of Mickey’s contemporaries including the aforementioned Messrs Clark and Coe, Steve Earle, Larry Jon Wilson and former Elektra Records honcho Jac Holzman in addition to essays written by Kenny Rogers, Will Oldham and former Rolling Stone editor Ben Fong-Torres, all of whom give keen anecdotes into the lives of one of American music’s truest originals.
If you are looking to discover the best kept secret in Nashville’s rich history, An American Trilogy, released just one year shy of the 10 year anniversary of Newbury’s tragic passing following a valiant battle with pulmonary fibrosis in 2002, is an optimum investment that will yield hours of enjoyment for an eager set of educated eyes and ears.