Josh Abbott Band look to match the success of their 2015 album Front Row Seat, which reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Independent Albums chart, with the upcoming release of Until My Voice Goes Out. It drops on Aug. 18 and fans of the sextet may be in for a shock with their 14-track turn in direction.
“We added a horns section and a string section on this [album],” JAB’s Preston Wait explains. “It’s something that Josh [Abbott] had brought up and wanted to get done on this new album and at first we were all like, ‘Wait, what?’ but it ended up mixing really well and turned out pretty cool.”
But that’s not the only change the band faced. Abbott, the band’s lead singer, not only lost his father to a stroke in March, but he also welcomed his first child two months later.
“My dad dying changed my world, having a baby two months later changed my world,” Abbott says. “I feel like I see life in a whole new lens: focus on your family, focus on your best friends, focus on living life the way you want to live it — because you only get one chance.”
Moments before his father’s death, Abbott called the band’s producer, Dwight Baker, with a request to get a copy of the album’s title track. He needed his dad to hear his new music while he still could. “That was the last song he heard on earth and it made him happy.”
Though he can no longer be found here on earth, the presence of Abbott’s father throughout Until My Voice Goes Out is undeniable. “It Ain’t My Daddy’s Town” and the ending epilogue, “Farewell Father,” both serve as salutes to Abbott’s father. But the tribute goes beyond the music.
The album’s cover, brilliantly created by Texas-native Gary Dorsey, portrays a single soul bearing many instruments, most of which conveniently belong to the horns and strings categories — with the exception of a hefty drum set. That’s where you can spot the initials of Abbott’s father.
“[Dorsey] said, ‘I kind of envisioned this as you carrying the beat of your dad’s drum,’” Abbott explains. “I love it so much that I’m considering getting it as a tattoo.”
Although this album shows a shift for the band, you’ll still hear that classic Josh Abbott Band sound. Wait says that’s particularly prevalent on “Girl Down in Texas.” If instead, you’d like to understand Abbott’s heart and hear the songs he will “always and forever be proud of,” listen to the title track and “I’m Your Only Flaw.”
“Those two songs are really personal to me, and I think they’re beautifully written,” he honestly explains.
Ultimately, Abbott hopes to refresh the minds of country music lovers with the new album.
“I hope [people] see a band that’s growing and artistically challenging themselves and doing new stuff. We did not play it safe on this record; I mean, we added horns and strings, and for us to do both on the same album is bizarre. It’s different and I hope people appreciate it as a really fresh and unique approach to country music.”
“We put a lot of work into this album,” Wait adds. “It feels really exciting leading up to [the release] and to see all your hard work pay off.”
Until My Voice Goes Out drops on Friday on the band’s own label, Pretty Damn Tough Records. They have high hopes of reaching, or maybe even surpassing, the last album’s success.
“There’s a chance for our legacy to be known as one of the most successful independent country bands ever and that’s pretty cool,” Abbott said.
Pre-order Until My Voice Goes Out and be sure to let us know your favorite track on Friday.