Released on Friday (Nov. 4), “John Deere Tractor” is a plucky, bouncy tune accompanied by the fiddle of Michael Cleveland. The track is a letter home to the narrator’s mother about his desire to return home.
The pair harmonize beautifully over the chorus, culminating in the line, “I wish I was home mama / Where the blue grass is growin’ / And the sweet country girls don’t complain.” The duo boldly hit the southern twang at the end of “complain” with the same force and accent in their harmony. It’s a sound that can only be replicated by blood, highlighting the magic that motivated Strings to create this project with his father.
Check out “John Deere Tractor” below.
“John Deere Tractor” was originally written by Lawrence Hammond and made famous by Larry Sparks. It’s a straightforward old-time bluegrass tune that reflects the stylistic theme of Me/And/Dad, a project that’s been many years in the making.
“As long as I can remember, I wanted to make a record with my dad,” Strings says in a statement. “I’ve been burning up and down the highways the last 12 years, and as the time slips away, you start thinking, ‘I need to make time.’ It’s been a bucket list thing for me, something I’ve been afraid I wouldn’t find the time to do. And that scared me. Not doing this record scared me.”
The record also features guest appearances from Ron and Rob McCoury, Cleveland, Mike Bub, Jerry Douglas, Jason Carter and Billy’s mother, Debra, who sings on the final track. The 14-song collection comprises covers that weave between the country and bluegrass genres, including a cover of George Jones‘ “Life to Go” and the sweeping traditional “Long Journey Home.”
Since the release of his debut album in 2014, Billy Strings’ career has continued on an astonishing organic ascent. He just announced a massive 2023 arena tour, which includes two nights at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena followed by a special appearance at Ryman Auditorium.
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