A new album from the late Dr. John is on the way, a project the New Orleans titan was working on at the time of his death in June 2019. It’s called Things Happen That Way, and it’s out via Rounder Records on September 23. Karla R. Pratt, the daughter of the musician born Mac Rebennack, worked as an executive producer on the project, as Rolling Stone reports.
Guitarist Shane Thierot co-produced the album with Dr. John, recording the project in New Orleans in 2018. Things Happen That Way includes covers of classic country songs, new material, and a re-worked version of Dr. John’s “I Walk on Guilded Splinters” with Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real. Willie Nelson and Aaron Neville also make guest appearances on the album.
Dr. John’s final album before his death was the 2014 Louis Armstrong tribute Ske-Dat-De-Dat: The Spirit of Satch. Last summer, Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach—who produced Dr. John’s 2012 album Locked Down—announced that he was working on a documentary about Dr. John with two of his former managers. The pianist’s estate said that the project was not authorized, with Auerbach’s production affiliates responding, “We look forward to amicably advancing these conversations to collectively celebrate and further immortalize this singular, legendary artist.”
Revisit Pitchfork’s Afterword “Remembering Dr. John, Who Changed the Sound of New Orleans” on the Pitch.