Steve Earle’s new album, So You Wannabe an Outlaw, will be released June 16 and features guest appearances by Miranda Lambert, Willie Nelson and another Texas music mainstay, Johnny Bush.
Although Earle was raised near San Antonio, the project marks his first recording sessions in Austin and his first album for Warner Bros. Records since 1997’s El Corazón. After establishing his career in Nashville with the 1986 Grammy-winning album Guitar Town, he has resided in New York City for the past decade.
“There’s nothing ‘retro’ about this record,” Earle said. “I’m just acknowledging where I’m coming from. … Look, I’m always gonna be a Texan, no matter what I do. And I’m always going to be somebody who learned their craft in Nashville. It’s who I am.”
Dedicated to the late Waylon Jennings, So You Wannabe an Outlaw pays tribute to the Outlaw music movement led by Jennings, Willie Nelson, Tompall Glaser and others.
“I was out to unapologetically ‘channel’ Waylon as best as I could,” Earle said about the album. “This record was all about me playing on the back pick-up of a ’66 Fender Telecaster on an entire record for the first time in my life. The vocal part of it is a little different. I certainly don’t sound like Waylon Jennings.
“I moved to Nashville in November of 1974, and right after that, Willie Nelson’s Red Headed Stranger came out. I was around when Waylon was recording Dreaming My Dreams. Guitar Town wound up being kind of my version of those types of songs.”
The Dukes, Earle’s longtime band, recorded the album with him.
Nelson is featured on the title track, with Lambert joining Earle on “This Is How It Ends.” Bush, who wrote one of Nelson’s signature songs, “Whiskey River,” is featured on “Walkin’ in L.A.” The deluxe version of the album also features four cover tracks, including Jennings’ Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way,” Nelson’s “The Local Memory” and Billy Joe Shaver’s “Ain’t No God in Mexico.”