The singer opens up about how love, loss, and brand new life inspired the group's forthcoming LP
Texas country maestros Josh Abbott Band return this month with their fifth LP, Until My Voice Goes Out. Due for release Aug. 18, the 14-track set sees the six-piece embrace both a horns and string section and, on the deceptively titled “Kinda Missing You” — which EW is excited to premiere below — a brand new, middle-fingers-up attitude.
“[Seeing] the name, people will probably think it’s going to be this slow, sad song,” admits the frontman, “but it’s the opposite.” Instead, the cut, written by Abbott, frequent cohort Jay Clementi, and bandmate Preston Wait — who scores his first songwriting credit for the band — sees the singer railing at an ex, frustrated that he still misses her. With a backbeat groove similar to what Waylon Jennings used to favor and a wall of horns, it scorches.
Voice, of course, is a follow-up to the group’s noteworthy 2015 LP, Front Row Seat. That collection grippingly chronicled the lifespan of a relationship, from first flirt through marriage, and devastatingly, through divorce. Inspired by the demise of Abbott’s own marriage, it became the band’s most critically acclaimed and commercially successful set to date.
Life has changed a lot for the singer since then: He became engaged to girlfriend Taylor Parnell in July, and the couple welcomed daughter Emery in May. And while he hoped to make an album about finding your way back to yourself after divorce, death reared its head and also cloaks this batch of tunes. While in the studio, Abbott’s father suffered a fatal stroke. “I literally encountered life and death in this process,” he says. “And whatever collision of forces that was, it made for a very interesting narrative about a time in my life that I’m still struggling with.”
Though the songs that make up Voice were already written before the onslaught of new life as well as new love and loss, Abbott says each tune’s energy transformed. The result, he admits, has only strengthened his attachment to the set. “It’s become even more precious and sentimental for me,” he explains. “I don’t know that we’ll ever record an album that will mean more to me.”
With two LPs under his belt that echo what he admits are the hardest things he’s encountered thus far, Abbott says he’s looking forward to touring and eventually, he adds with a laugh, “an album that’s not built around tragedy.”
The Until My Voice Goes Out live dates launch right after Voice releases, and the singer’s excitement is palpable.”I’m just at the point where I want to do whatever the f— I want to do,” he teases. So the group is bringing along a gaggle of horn and string players for what he promises will be a once-in-a-career trek. “If you don’t see it [this year],” he says, “you’ll never see it.”