John McEuen To Release Spoken Word Album
Photo by Alan Messer

John McEuen To Release Spoken Word Album

Country, Bluegrass, and Americana legend, John McEuen will release his latest album, THE NEWSMAN: A MAN OF RECORD on April 12 through Compass Records. The album consists of ten spoken word tracks and one instrumental. Starting with the title track, recounting the real-life tale of a newspaper vendor who profoundly impacted the young musician in Los Angeles, and concluding with “Jules’ Theme,” inspired by Jules Verne sharing the story of his recently departed young wife in a French cemetery to a friend, the album leaves no stone unturned. Premiered by Bluegrass Today, the first track available, “Fly Trouble” is a talking blues number originally from Luke the Drifter, better known as Hank Williams.

“I have been around the world playing music and collecting stories for… a long time,” McEuen acknowledges. “As a teenager, well before the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, I loved Meredith Wilson’s ‘The Music Man.’ Before I started playing, I must have recited ‘Ya Got Trouble’ 2,000 times! Later, when performing became part of the life I picked, every now and then I would do one of these ‘stories’ (often a Hank Williams talking blues) on stage, always happy about how well they went over. I did ‘The Mountain Whippoorwill’ for many years with the early Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Then, another story would come along, be learned, and ‘filed away’ for a future date. ‘The stories’ soon tired of waiting to ‘get done,’ so, I did them.”

The album features a mix of tracks from different eras and genres. From Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s Civil War-era poem “Killed at the Ford” to Robert Service’s “The Cremation of Sam McGee” about a Yukon prospector, the collection spans various literary themes. Other tracks include Stephen Vincent Benét’s “The Mountain Whippoorwill,” Hank Williams Sr.’s “Fly Trouble,” and Walter Brennan’s “Old Rivers.” Thomas Monroe’s Vietnam War reflection “Nui Ba Den” contrasts with more recent compositions like John Carter Cash’s “The Guitar of Pineapple John,” Hans Olson’s “I’ll Be Glad (When They Run Out Of Gas),” and Thaddeus Bryant’s “Red Clay.”

Album Track Listing:
The Newsman
Fly Trouble
The Cremation of Sam McGee
Old Rivers
The Guitar of Pineapple John
Killed at the Ford
Nui Ba Den
Red Clay
I’ll Be Glad (When They Run Out of Gas)
The Mountain Whippoorwill
Jules’ Theme

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About Jerry Holthouse

Music editor for Jerry Holthouse is a content writer, songwriter and a graphic designer. He owns and runs Holthouse Creative, a full service creative agency. He is an avid outdoorsman and a lover of everything music. You can contact him at

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