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Albums Of The Week: Dr. John | Things Happen That Way

The swampy New Oleans singer-pianitst's final album finally arrives — after being completed with a little help from a lengthy list of friends and fellow musicians.

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THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Malcolm John ‘Mac’ Rebennack, Jr. — known to countless music fans around the world as Dr. John. While no longer with us, his legacy is living on through his work with the country-infused album called Things Happen That Way. The album marks the fulfilment of a long-time goal of the six-time Grammy-winning singer-songwriter and pianist and Rock And Roll Hall of Famer, who first began plotting a country-inspired album decades ago. As an artist who grew up in New Orleans, he developed a deep and abiding love for traditional gospel music that stayed with him throughout his lifetime.

In his remarkable six-decade run as one of the most original, distinctive, and influential voices in popular music, Dr. John put his inimitable stamp on many spirituals and gospel-influenced songs. Throughout the recording, he invited a few old friends to lend their voices to the project. Among those who happily obliged was Willie Nelson, one of Mac’s close friends and most treasured musical collaborators. The result is their soul-stirring, exuberant rendition of the beloved gospel standard Gimme That Old Time Religion.

Rebennack was planning future projects when his life was suddenly cut short in 2019. Now, three years after his untimely passing, in a world complicated by COVID-19, Things Happen That Way will see the light of day. The album features three brand new original compositions, a mesmerizing reworking of Dr. John’s 1968 classic I Walk On Guilded Splinters, along with songs by Nelson, Cowboy Jack Clement, Hank Williams, and Traveling Wilburys. In bringing his album’s songs to life, Dr. John drew on a lineup of musicians befitting of a universally beloved luminary. Along with an elite cadre of New Orleans session players, the album’s personnel include icons Nelson and Aaron Neville, and rising stars Lukas Nelson & Promise Of The Real.”

 

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