Vince Gill has released the latest track from his forthcoming album, Okie, and it’s one that vividly recalls images from a bygone era. Titled “I Don’t Wanna Ride the Rails No More” and written by Gill, it’s an exquisite acoustic ballad with lyrics expressing the longing of a weary freight-train hopper who dreams of trading his transient, solitary lifestyle for a more fulfilling one. While the railroad is central to the song’s wandering theme, Gill drew on his own more modern experiences to create the tune.
“The whole image of riding a train has such great beauty to it. It conjures images of The Grapes of Wrath, the Dust Bowl, and people hopping freight trains,” says Gill. “This song has got to come from my experience in order to be able to put it on paper and to have it feel legit and truthful and honest. In my case it could very well be about a bus instead of a train – I’ve been riding a tour bus for 40-something years now. This is a song of reflection, yearning and hopefulness.”
An Oklahoma native, Gill titled his latest album after the term once used to disparage migrants from Oklahoma, many of whom had hopped trains and headed to the west coast during the Dust Bowl and Great Depression eras. Okie marks the singer’s 15th studio LP and his first since 2016’s Down to My Last Bad Habit. The 21-time Grammy winner is also a member of the Western Swing band, the Time Jumpers, and has recently wrapped a month-long European trek with the Eagles on the most recent leg of their latest tour. Closer to home, he’s set to perform at the Ryman Auditorium on July 25th as part of the continuing Bluegrass Nights at the Ryman series.
Okie is now available for pre-order and will be released August 23rd.