More than 50 years ago, the Beach Boys founding member Brian Wilson made a country album called Cows in the Pasture, featuring Beach Boys manager Fred Vail on lead vocals and contributions from a number of big-name — and to this day, still under wraps — special guest stars from the country genre.

Wilson and Vail started work on the album in 1970, but shelved it for more than five decades. The public has never heard the project — but that will change soon, according to a new report from Rolling Stone.

Cows in the Pasture is now looking toward a 2025 release date, paired with a docuseries revolving around Vail's life story.

Vail explains to Rolling Stone that his history with the album dates back to an early 1970 conversation with Wilson, who wanted to put Vail — someone with no professional singing experience — on lead vocals. Wilson would serve as producer.

That spring, they began to put the project together, starting recordings on 14 tracks. Several legendary session musicians joined them, including guitarist James Burton (who was once the leader of Elvis Presley's TCB band, among a slew of other accolades), pianist Glen D. Hardin (another TCB band mate, who has also recorded with Merle Haggard, Kenny Rogers and many more) and steel guitar player Red Rhodes (who played for country-leaning greats like Nancy Sinatra and Linda Ronstadt, as well as in the Beach Boys' own Wrecking Crew).

However, Wilson's interest in the project appeared to fizzle just as quickly as it had sparked.

"He was dealing with a lot of issues. He had gained a lot of weight and was sleeping late in his big bed," Vail recounts. "There was a lot of things going on with him personally, and he didn't have any interest in finishing it at that point, so the tapes went into the vault at the Beach Boy office."

Of course, in the early '70s, the Beach Boys were still very much in the middle of their legendary pop career, and they continued to release albums including Surf's Up and Holland in the years ahead. But Vail never forgot about the country project in the vault, and he hoped it would see the light of day again someday.

"I was really, really proud of this record, and even though it sat in the can for decades, literally, I always was thinking, 'Man, that'd be great to get back into the studio and finish this thing.' And now that's happening," he relates.

Much of the 1970 instrumentation will be intact on the project when it releases in 2025, plus new vocal recordings from Vail and a host of "country music legends," contemporary stars from the genre, rockers and pop acts. Details are currently sparse on who's involved, though according to Rolling Stone, T Bone Burnett can confirm his involvement with the project.

The Beach Boys' overlap with the country genre is longstanding. In the past couple of years, the legendary pop group in its current iteration has appeared onstage alongside country duo LoCash, who sampled their classic "I Get Around" in a new song called "Beach Boys."

News of Cows in the Pasture's resurfacing comes just a couple of weeks after the death of Wilson's wife of 28 years, Melinda. As he mourned her death on social media, Wilson also credited her with helping him work through one of the most difficult personal stages of his life. After they married in 1995, Melinda became Wilson's manager and steered him toward a return to music.

See the Most Played Country Song from the Year You Were Born

Who had the most played country song during the year you were born? This list is a fascinating time capsule of prevalent trends from every decade in American history. Scroll through to find your birth year and then click to listen. Some of these songs have been lost through the years, many of them for good reason!

Men named Hank dominated early before stars like Freddie Hart, Ronnie Milsap, Willie Nelson Clint Black took over to close the 1980s. More recently it's been Tim Mcgraw, Rodney Atkins, Kane Brown and Morgan Wallen. Did the most-played country song from the year you were born become a favorite of yours later? All info comes from Billboard's country airplay charts.

Gallery Credit: Billy Dukes

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