Bee Gees alumnus Barry Gibb dropped a duet with Jason Isbell late Thursday night in announcing a forthcoming project that has him sharing lead vocals on his catalog material with a dozen mostly Nashville-based artists. The Gibb/Isbell track, “Words of a Fool,” which can be heard below, is the first official recording of a song the veteran artist wrote decades ago but never released.
Most of the rest of the album will find primarily country and Americana artists joining him for presumably rootsier takes on more familiar material, including songs from the Bee Gees’ disco period as well as their original 1960s heyday. The album, “Greenfields: The Gibb Brothers Songbook, Vol. 1,” produced by Nashville country-cred favorite Dave Cobb. will be out January 8 on the Capitol label.
Others joining Gibb at the microphone include Dolly Parton, Brandi Carlile, Keith Urban, Gillian Welch & David Rawlings, Sheryl Crow, Miranda Lambert, Alison Krauss, Little Big Town, Tommy Emmanuel, Jay Buchanan and a not-so-specifically-Nashville guest, Olivia Newton-John.
Besides releasing the Isbell duet to digital services, GIbb also released a nearly four-minute trailer for the album containing audio or video snippets from the Parton, Carlile, Urban and Isbell collaborations “This is my country album,” he declares in the trailer, saying it features “all the people I dreamed of working with in country music, produced by a living legend, Dave Cobb, and it’s just a dream come true.” He adds, “”My songs have always had that little streak of country in them.”
“Barry Gibb is one of the greatest songwriters and singers in popular music history,” Isbell said in a statement, “and I’m happy to say he still has that beautiful voice and that magical sense of melody. Working with him on this project has been one of the great honors of my career. He’s a prince.”
Said Gibb, “From the first day we stepped into RCA Studios in Nashville — the very place where Elvis, Willie, Waylon, Roy, the Everly Brothers and so many other legends made their magic — the album took on a life of its own. I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity to work with Dave and all the artists who stopped by. They were all incredibly generous with their time and talent. They inspired me more than words can express. I feel deep down that Maurice and Robin would have loved this album for different reasons. I wish we could have all been together to do it… but I think we were.”
Prior to the album’s release, Gibb will be seen in a Frank Marshall-directed documentary, “The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart,” recently picked up by HBO for a December 12 cable debut.
The full track list for “Greenfields”: