Judah & the Lion have released “Pictures,” the second single to surface from the Nashville band’s upcoming album Pep Talks, which will be released on May 3rd. The new track features a prominent appearance by Kacey Musgraves, the recent winner of four Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year for last year’s Golden Hour.
An airy, mournful ballad full of regret about the way a troubled relationship ends, “Pictures” is a poignant duet that features Musgraves trading verses with Judah & the Lion lead singer Judah Akers. In the chorus, both singers — shaded by sorrowful swells of mandolin and banjo — get a chance to grapple with the finality of the situation by delivering the stark line, “I hate that I’m taking our pictures off the walls.”
Akers wrote the song after dealing with death and divorce in his own family. Without sharing the specific circumstances, he said in a release: “I had a really deep moment with my mom when she called me and broke down bawling about how hard it was to move from our family house. I wrote the song from her perspective and it came in a flood, in five minutes, right after the call. I needed to write it because I was heartsick.”
Pep Talks, Judah & the Lion’s third full-length album, follows the 2016 breakout Folk Hop N’ Roll. The acoustic-based trio will preview the effort with a brief spring tour called Pep Talks: An Intimate Album Listening and Storyteller Experience, billed as a series of special events that will feature band members sharing stories about the album’s songs. The run starts in Charlottesville, Virginia, on April 16th and concludes in Columbia, Missouri, on April 25th. The group will also play the Forecastle Festival in Louisville, Kentucky, on July 12th.