A year or so after Dixie Chicks' Natalie Maines has released "Mother," Maines has teamed up with Robert Earl Keen for a rendition of the Gospel song "Wayfaring Stranger." The song will appear on Keen's upcoming album, 'Happy Prisoner,' which features his spin on some of his favorite bluegrass songs.
The album "Happy Prisoner" will be available on February 10 via Dualtone Records.
"I've always had an affinity for music that I felt you could listen to in your living room," Keen explains. "My mom liked the old hillbilly stuff, and my whole education in music started with bluegrass. I've been listening to it forever, I love it, and so I feel like I'm something of a happy prisoner of it."
Produced by Lloyd Maines, Natalie's dad, Keen explains how Natalie became involved with the project. "He called her up, and she showed up, and it's incredible," Keen recalls. "It will make you sink to your knees. With people that are talented in any way, I'm even more taken aback when you're there and it happens."
'Happy Prisoner' also includes guest vocals by Lyle Lovett and Peter Rowan, with Nickel Creek's Sara Watkins and Danny Barnes contributing instrumentally.
"I've been listening to [bluegrass music] forever, I love it, and I feel I'm somewhat locked into it," Keen tells the Nashville Scene. "Even my own songs sometimes are formatted - not instrument-wise, but verse-chorus-wise, like that. So I feel like I'm necessarily a happy prisoner of bluegrass."
Listen to 'Wayfaring Stranger' below.