After more than a decade of working, and largely owning, the Red Dirt country circuit in Texas and Oklahoma, the Turnpike Troubadours’ moment of truth may be nearing. The hard-playing quintet’s most recent LP, 2015’s The Turnpike Troubadours, marked a true commercial breakthrough as it not only reached Number Three on the country charts, but even cracked the Top 20 of the Billboard 200. Now it’s time for them to follow it up.
On October 20th, the Troubadours will release their fifth album, A Long Way From Your Heart. The band’s lead singer, Evan Felker, continues as its chief songwriter, while the new album will be the first to feature steel-pedal player Hank Early as a full-time member. The 11-song album also boasts a producer with some big-name credits in Ryan Hewitt, who’s previously worked with Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Avett Brothers and the Lumineers.
A Long Way From Your Heart – officially billed as their fourth album, because the 2007 debut Bossier City is out of print – continues the Oklahoma band’s independent streak, as it will once again be released by their own label Bossier City Records, this time in conjunction with Thirty Tigers. That their past two albums have performed well (2012’s Goodbye Normal Street made it onto the country, indie, and folk charts) has had a lot to do with the following they’ve built back home, where they’re one of the most electrifying live acts in the region — a fact that was reinforced at Willie Nelson’s Fourth of July Picnic in Austin last month.
“I grew up in a town of 400 people. I worked in a paper mill. My dad’s a cowboy. I’m from the country, and you just can’t fool me with that pop stuff,” Felker told Rolling Stone Country in 2015, describing what motivates him to stick to his Red Dirt roots. “I’m happy to be a country band.”
While A Long Way From Your Heart officially drops in October, it will be available for pre-order on August 25th. The Troubadours play tonight at Slim’s in San Francisco, California.
Here’s the track list for A Long Way From Your Heart:
1. “The Housefire”
2. “Something to Hold on To”
3. “The Winding Stair Mountain Blues”
5. “A Tornado Warning”
6. “Pay No Rent”
7. “The Hard Way”
8. “Old Time Feeling (Like Before)”
9. “Pipe Bomb Dream”
10. “Oklahoma Stars”
11. “Sunday Morning Paper”