Pop superstar Justin Timberlake’s new album Man of the Woods is set to include a collaboration with country titan Chris Stapleton – the pair’s first official recording together and seemingly the long-anticipated sequel to their now-legendary 2015 CMA Awards appearance.
According to a release, Man of the Woods will also include top-shelf collaborations with Alicia Keys, Pharrell Williams and Timbaland, but it’s Stapleton’s name who stands out – both for its musical implications and fan appeal.
Stapleton’s career famously exploded when he and the global pop icon delivered a knockout performance of “Tennessee Whiskey” and “Drink You Away” at the 2015 CMAs, but their relationship actually goes much deeper. Speaking with Billboard shortly after the awards show, Stapleton said he and Timberlake first bonded years earlier over fatherhood and a shared appreciation for each other’s music, then began to share new tunes as a way of keeping in touch.
They can now often be found referring to one another as “brothers” on social media, and in 2017 reunited for a three song set at the Pilgrimage Music Festival just outside Nashville, with Timberlake introducing Stapleton and wife Morgane by saying, “This man and this woman that I’m about to bring out have inspired me so much since I met them.”
That may offer a tantalizing hint into the direction of Timberlake’s new work, especially since the entertainer has stated the project was inspired by his growing family and Tennessee roots, “more so than any other album I’ve ever written.” Indeed, there’s a decidedly pastoral and Western theme to the album’s promo materials and title, while musical teasers in the trailer hint at acoustic-folk influence as well as mainstream pop.
Man of the Woods will be released February 2nd, two days before Timberlake headlines the half-time show at Superbowl LII. The first single ,”Filthy,” comes out Friday, with another song being revealed each week until the album’s release.