Next month, Rhino Records will revisit a latter-day classic from one of the leaders of the "new country" movement, Kris Kristofferson. The 1999 release The Austin Sessions will be reissued on CD, vinyl LP and DD in a newly-remastered edition also featuring two previously unreleased bonus tracks.
The Austin Sessions was recorded by the famed singer-songwriter with producer Fred Mollin at Arlyn Studios in 1997 as part of a songwriter-focused series also featuring retrospectives from Jimmy Webb (Ten Easy Pieces) and Barry Mann (Soul and Inspiration). During the low-key, stripped-down sessions, Kristofferson was joined by a small group of session veterans as well as Mollin and the late Stephen Bruton on guitar. They laid down new renditions of his classic songs including "Me and Bobby McGee," "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down," "For the Good Times," "Loving Her Was Easier (Than Anything I'll Ever Do Again)," and "Help Me Make It Through the Night."
Fred Mollin, who has penned the liner notes for this reissue, reflected, "I knew in my heart that I could pull off a great under-produced production and give Kris the album he always wanted to make: one that felt like it had the uniqueness and rootsy feeling that Dylan accomplished on his early electric albums." A number of guests joined Kristofferson and Mollin on the album, as well. Jackson Browne, Steve Earle, Vince Gill and Mark Knopfler are heard on "Me and Bobby McGee," "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down," "Help Me Make It Through the Night," and "Please Don't Tell Me How the Story Ends," respectively. Gill joins Allison Krauss on "Why Me" and Marc Cohn adds harmonies to "Loving Her Was Easier." Session outtakes "Best of All Possible Worlds" and "Jody and the Kid" make their debut on this new expanded edition. Mollin states in the press release that the songs show different sides of Kristofferson's songwriting: "One is lighthearted, dry, sarcastic and one of the greatest examples of Kris' humor and storytelling, while the other is just deeply emotional and shows the true aching heart that can be felt like an arrow, from Kris to the listener."
Kris Kristofferson kicks off a tour this month. The expanded release of The Austin Sessions arrives from Rhino on February 10. All pre-order links are not yet available, but will be added as soon as they become active.
Kris Kristofferson, The Austin Sessions: Expanded Edition (Atlantic 83208-2, 1999 - reissued Rhino/Atlantic, 2017) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada Links TBD)
- Me and Bobby McGee
- Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down
- For the Good Times
- The Silver Tongued Devil and I
- Help Me Make It Through the Night
- Loving Her Was Easier (Than Anything I'll Ever Do Again)
- To Beat the Devil
- Who's to Bless and Who's to Blame
- Why Me
- Nobody Wins
- The Pligrim, Chapter 33
- Please Don't Tell Me How the Story Ends