Clint Black Honors Grand Ole Opry With All-Star New Single, ‘This Old House’ [Listen]
The genesis of "This Old House" traces back to the earliest days of Black's recording career, when he was writing songs for what became his landmark debut album, 1989's Killin' Time. He and longtime collaborator Hayden Nicholas began the song decades ago, and it originally had nothing to do with the Opry.
"He grew up in the same house; I moved around," Black shares. "We really wrote it about the house that has seen generations, stayed in the family and what that was like. And then it grew into something much more."
"This Old House" is one of two "new" unreleased songs on Black's upcoming album, Still Killin' Time, which finds him revisiting a number of his classic songs in new live versions. Both "This Old House" and "No One Here for Me" date back to the original sessions for Killin' Time, and Black even recorded demos for both, but as vinyl albums could only fit 10 songs in those days, "they were pushed aside in lieu of others," he tells us. Black has recorded them in new versions to round out the new album, and he says it wasn't until he began recording guest vocals for "This Old House" that he realized it could carry a larger message.
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Trace Adkins, Dierks Bentley, Cody Jinks, Sara Evans, Michael Ray, Darius Rucker, Travis Tritt and Steve Wariner are among the singers who appear, and their presence on the track inspired the new video that accompanies the song.
"My friends started singing on it, and a lot of them are fellow Opry members," Black says. "I don't know what happened, I just started thinking, 'This could be about the Opry.'"
To that end, Black secured permission from the Opry to capture footage there, which he intersperses with shots of the other singers in the studio to create a powerful audiovisual tribute to the country music institution. The song's tag line, "This old house will always be home," rings especially poignant in light of the nearly century-long history of the Opry.
The live tracks that round out Still Killin' Time were recorded at various tour stops over the course of the last two years, and Black decided to release the unretouched live tracks instead of adding overdubs in the studio to fix any live errors.
Well ... mostly, anyway.
"We had to replace a fiddle on two songs, just due to a technical thing," Black explains. "But other than that, I didn't re-sing any of it, you know. It took a little going through to find the tracks, because we wouldn't want anyone to know we make mistakes," he adds with a laugh.
The live tracks mostly consist of a cross-section of Black's No. 1 hits from across his career, including "Killin' Time," "A Better Man," "Walkin' Away," "Sumer's Comin'," "A Good Run of Bad Luck," "Like the Rain" and "Nothin' But the Taillights." However, one of the standout tracks, "Tuckered Out" from 1993's No Time to Kill album, was never a single.
"I performed it at the Super Bowl XXVII halftime show, and it's just one of our standout moments I think, for us as musicians to be able to hang out over the edge and try to play our best fast licks," Black states. "So we're all taking a bunch of solos. It's just one of our barn-burners, and I thought, 'That's something good, it doesn't have to be a hit.'"
Still Killin' Time is set for release on Nov. 8.
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