Kinks frontman Ray Davies‘ latest studio album, Our Country: Americana Act II, hits stores today. The record is a sequel to his 2017 concept album, Americana.
Both albums were inspired by Davies’ 2013 memoir, also titled Americana, in which the British rock legend reflects on his experiences with the United States and examines his conflicted feelings about the country and its culture.
Our Country: Americana Act II is a 19-track collection featuring 16 new original tunes and three re-imagined versions of older Davies compositions: “Oklahoma USA,” which first appeared on the 1971 Kinks album Muswell Hillbillies; “The Real World,” from Davies’ 2007 solo effort, Working Man’s Café; and “The Getaway,” from Ray’s 2006 solo record, Other People’s Lives.
The lyrics of some songs on the Americana album and on Our Country first appeared in his memoir. In a video preview of the new album, Davies discusses the challenge of making this concept work across a pair of albums.
“The book has got song references in it, and the songs are a part of the narrative,” he explains. “So the trick was to get a record to stand up as a record as well as being part of a series.”
Our Country also includes spoken-word passages lifted right from the Americana book.
Like the first Americana album, Our Country features U.S. alt-country veterans The Jayhawks and Ray’s longtime guitarist Bill Shanley. The Crouch End Chorus, with whom Davies recorded his 2009 album The Kinks Choral Collection, also appear on the new album. In addition, actor John Dagleish, who portrayed Ray in the Kinks musical Sunny Afternoon, contributes to a spoken-word track called “The Invaders.”
Check out a series of video features focusing on Our Country at Davies’ Facebook page.
Here’s the Our Country track list:
“The Invaders” (spoken word)
“Back in the Day”
“Bringing Up Baby”
“We Will Get There”
“The Real World”
“A Street Called Hope”
“The Empty Room”
“March of the Zombies”
“The Big Weird”
“Tony and Bob”
“The Big Guy”
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