Dr. John Final Album, ‘Things Happen That Way,’ Arrives

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Dr. John

“Mac” Rebennack (pka Dr. John) was planning future projects when his life was suddenly cut short in 2019. Now, three years after his untimely passing, a new studio album, Things Happen That Way, has finally been released. The album, that arrived Sept. 23, 2022, on Rounder, features three new original new compositions, a reworking of his own 1968 classic, “I Walk on Guilded Splinters, plus new interpretations of songs by Willie Nelson, Cowboy Jack Clement, Hank Williams, and the Traveling Wilburys. Listen to many of the tracks below.

From the July 22 announcement: Growing up in New Orleans, the future legend developed a deep and abiding love for traditional Gospel music that stayed with him throughout his lifetime. During his remarkable six-decade run as one of the most original, distinctive, and influential voices in popular music, Rebennack put his inimitable stamp on many spirituals and Gospel-influenced songs.

During the sessions for Things Happen That Way, Rebennack invited a few old friends to lend their voices to the project. Among those who happily obliged was Willie Nelson, one of Mac’s close friends and most treasured musical collaborators.

Listen to their exuberant rendition of the Gospel standard “Gimme That Old Time Religion”

As Nelson said, “Dr. John had the most unique musical style and language that would take me to another place whenever I heard him play and sing.”

Listen to his cover of Nelson’s “Funny How Time Slips Away” and his version of Hank Williams’ “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”

Things Happen That Way marks the fulfillment of a longtime goal of the six-time GRAMMY-winning singer/songwriter/pianist and 2011 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, who first began plotting a country-inspired album decades ago. In bringing his album’s songs to life, Dr. John drew on a lineup of musicians befitting of a universally beloved luminary. Joining an elite cadre of New Orleans session players, the album’s personnel also includes Aaron Neville (on the Traveling Wilburys’ “End of the Line”) and Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real.

Things Happen That Way Track Listing

Funny How Time Slips Away
Ramblin’ Man
Gimme That Old Time Religion (feat. Willie Nelson)
I Walk On Guilded Splinters (feat. Lukas Nelson & Promise of The Real)
I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry
End Of the Line (feat. Aaron Neville)
Holy Water
Sleeping Dogs Best Left Alone
Give Myself A Good Talkin’ To
Guess Things Happen That Way

Related: Our Album Rewind of Dr. John’s Gumbo

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