Music

Song Premiere: Gretchen Peters Honors Songwriting Legend Mickey Newbury With 'Why You Been Gone So Long'

Gina Binkley

Prolific singer-songwriter Gretchen Peters pays tribute to one of her own songwriting heroes, the late Mickey Newbury, on her forthcoming album The Night You Wrote That Song: The Songs of Mickey Newbury (out May 15). The 12-track album features covers of some of Newbury's most beloved compositions, including "She Even Woke Me Up to Say Goodbye" (a hit for Jerry Lee Lewis) "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)" and "Why You Been Gone So Long," which Wide Open Country is premiering today.

Peters, who penned the Martina McBride classic "Independence Day" as well as hits for George StraitPatty Loveless, Pam Tillis and more, says the song takes her back to her early career spent playing in bars.

"I started playing 'Why You Been Gone So Long' as part of our encore with my band a couple of years ago. For me it's a throwback to the years I spent playing in bars, in my late teens and early 20s," Peters tells Wide Open Country. "You had to have those barn burners to play in clubs - the ones that gave the band a chance to stretch out. It's such a kick to sing."

Listen to "Why You Been Gone So Long" below.

"Why You Been Gone So Long" was recorded by Jessi Colter for 1970 album A Country Star is Bornproduced by Chet Atkins and Waylon Jennings.

Newbury, a Texas native, has been called a "quiet outlaw," bucking the traditions of the Nashville establishment even before the Outlaw Country movement was in full swing. He's even famously name dropped in Waylon and Willie's "Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love)."  ("Between Hank Williams' pain songs and Newbury's train songs and 'Blue Eyes Cryin' in the Rain'/ Out in Luckenbach, Texas ain't nobody feelin' no pain," Jennings sings in the 1977 song.) In 1980, Newbury was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. The songwriter's songwriter is a favorite of John Prine and Kris Kristofferson, who once said "I'm sure that I never would have written 'Bobby McGee' and 'Sunday Morning Coming Down' if I had never known Mickey. He was my hero and still is."

The Night You Wrote That Song: The Songs of Mickey Newbury was recorded at Cinderella Sound Studios near Nashville, where Newbury recorded Looks Like RainFrisco Mabel Joy and Heaven Help The Child.

The Night You Wrote That Song: The Songs of Mickey Newbury is available for pre-order.

'The Night You Wrote That Song: The Songs of Mickey Newbury' Track List:

  1. "The Sailor"
  2. "She Even Woke Me Up to Say Goodbye"
  3. "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)"
  4. "The Night You Wrote That Song"
  5. "Frisco Depot"
  6. "Heaven Help the Child"
  7. "Why You Been Gone So Long"
  8. "Saint Cecilia"
  9. "Wish I Was"
  10. "San Francisco Mabel Joy"
  11. "Leavin' Kentucky"
  12. "Three Bells for Stephen"

Now Watch: 8 Things You Didn't Know About Kris Kristofferson

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Song Premiere: Gretchen Peters Honors Songwriting Legend Mickey Newbury With 'Why You Been Gone So Long'