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Conor Oberst Goes Country in New Song 'Hundreds of Ways'

Singer will release track from new album 'Upside Down Mountain' as a limited-edition 7-inch in April

February 11, 2014 5:50 PM ET
Conor Oberst
Conor Oberst
Butch Hogan

Bright Eyes main man Conor Oberst told Rolling Stone last month that he had been working in Nashville on a country-flavored solo record, Upside Down Mountain, due out May 20th. Recently, he shared "Hundreds of Ways," a new track that will also be released as a limited-edition seven-inch on Record Store Day on April 19th. The single will be backed with the Upside Down Mountain outtake "Fast Friends" as its B-side.

Conor Oberst talks about his 'Inside Llewyn Davis' audition

The track opens with sticky, rhythmic guitars, the likes of which served as the backbone for Nashville recordings in the Fifties by Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley and later the schmaltzy lap-steel guitars of Music City.

But as soon as Oberst's familiar, craggy voice pipes up, it sounds like one of his songs. The lyrics show off the singer's mordant wit in seemingly sarcastic lines like "I hope I am forgotten when I die," as he sings about disappointment and a world that was never fair. The chorus sounds upbeat, thanks to backup vocals by Swedish folk duo First Aid Kit, as he sings about needing to find a way to get through the day.

Asked the direction of the album, Oberst told Rolling Stone, "I don't relate to a lot of my earlier songs. They were extremely verbose. That might be cathartic when you're doing it, but it doesn't necessarily hold up."

Oberst will embark on a world tour in support of the album. The trek's first leg will kick off in North Carolina in May, with indie-folk group Dawes serving as both his opener and backing band. Tickets go on sale Valentine's Day.

Conor Oberst Summer Tour Dates

5/8 Saxapahaw, NC - Haw River Ballroom
5/9 Asheville, NC - The Orange Peel
5/10 Atlanta, GA - Shaky Knees Festival
5/11 Charleston, SC - Charleston Music Hall
5/13 Ponte Vedra, FL - Ponte Vedra Concert Hall
5/14 Orlando, FL - The Beacham
5/16 Gulf Shores, AL - The Hangout Festival
5/17 Chattanooga, TN - Track 29
5/22 Westbury, NY - The Space at Westbury
5/23 Washington, DC - 9:30 Club
5/24 Washington, DC - 9:30 Club
5/25 Munhall, PA - Carnegie Library Music Hall of Homestead
5/27 Cincinnati, OH - Taft Theatre
5/29 Chicago, IL - Metro
5/30 Chicago, IL - Metro
5/31 Milwaukee, WI - Pabst Theater
6/1 Minneapolis, MN - First Avenue
6/2 Minneapolis, MN - First Avenue
6/4 Omaha, NE - Sokol Auditorium
6/5 Columbia, MO - The Blue Note
6/6 Nashville, TN - Ryman Auditorium
6/7 Lexington, KY - Buster’s
7/29 New York, NY - Central Park Summer Stage at Rumsey Playfield

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Song Stories

“Money For Nothing”

Dire Straits | 1984

Mark Knopfler wrote this song with Sting, and it wasn’t without controversy. The Dire Straits frontman's original lyric used the word “faggot” to describe a singer who got their “money for nothing and their chicks for free.” Even though the slur was edited out in many versions, the band, and Knopfler, still took plenty of criticism for the term. “I got an objection from the editor of a gay newspaper in London--he actually said it was below the belt,” Knopfler told Rolling Stone. Still, "Money For Nothing," undoubtedly augmented by its innovative early computer-animated video, stayed at Number One for three weeks.

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