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Mickey Newbury

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Mickey Newbury
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United States
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Newbury had previously recorded for both RCA and Mercury, eventually joining Elektra in 1970. He was known primarily as a songwriter who had been covered by Willie Nelson, Eddy Arnold, Don Gibson, Kenny Rodgers, and Roy Orbison. Newbury’s career as a singer took hold on Elektra where, as much as Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings or Kris Kristofferson, he helped change the perception and trajectory of country music. Newbury’s Elektra debut, Frisco Mabel Joy revels in a sublime, haunting orchestral sound that was a blend of pedal steel and some electric guitar, even though it sounds like strings and horns. Many of the songs on Frisco Mabel Joy were written when Newbury was living on a barge in Nashville, listening to the sound of the rain on the roof mingling with his wind chimes. He regularly used atmospheric sound effects to good effect, enhancing the sense of mild despair in some of Mickey’s richest writing. All Newbury’s Elektra albums - a cycle, which ended with 1975’s Lovers - follow this pattern, but it’s for Frisco Mabel Joy’s “An American Trilogy” that he is best remembered. A medley of three Civil War songs, it became synonymous with Elvis Presley although Newbury’s own version was a far bigger hit. Newbury’s songs are spiritual, meditative works that defy categorization, comfortably bridging folk, country, and soul.

Selected Discography