Brian Wilson’s Shelved Country Album is Finally Being Released

It had a tentative title of Cows In The Pasture

With current stars like Lana Del Rey and Beyoncé announcing country albums, it is now announced that the story among The Beach Boys and Brian Wilson fans about Wilson’s unreleased (and unfinished) country album, will be finally released in 2025.

The tracks for the album were recorded in 1970 and the album had a tentative title of Cows In The Pasture.

According to a number of sources, in 1970, Brian Wilson had the idea to record a country album with Fred Vail, the Beach Boys’ manager at the time. Vail had no singing experience, but he was booking Beach Boys shows in the early ’60s, when he was still in high school, and he’d sing along to the local country station whenever he picked the group up at the airport. That’s where Wilson got the idea. Vail tells Rolling Stone, “I said to him, ‘Have you written any country songs?’ And he said, ‘Well, no.’ I said, ‘Do you have any idea who you’d like to use as musicians?’ He said, ‘Well, no. I’ve only worked with the Wrecking Crew for the most part. You find the songs. You select the musicians. We’ll go to Wally Heider’s Studio. We’ll start working on the album.’”

Wilson and Vail tracked 14 songs for this album, including versions of Roy Orbison’s “Only the Lonely,” Hank Williams’ “You Win Again,” and Burt Bacharach’s “(There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me.” Eventually, Wilson, whose life was awfully chaotic at the time, apparently lost interest.

Stereogum notes that Fred Vail got the tapes for the album about 10 years ago, when the Beach Boys’ management found unlabeled reels in the studio. Around the same time, Sam Parker, a Nashville music business person who’s also a huge Beach Boys fan, found Vail on Facebook and started talking to him. Right now, Parker and Vail are working on finishing Cows In The Pasture, bringing in a group of unnamed guest vocalists to sing over those tapes. Parker says that T Bone Burnett will be involved, and Fred Vail is apparently putting down new vocals of his own.

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