“Bongos on a Country Record?”: Ringo Starr Shares Some New Details About His Upcoming Album

On Wednesday, May 15, Ringo Starr took part in a Zoom press conference attended by members of the press from around the world to promote his upcoming tour with the All Starr Band and chat about his latest recording projects.

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During the event, the legendary Beatles drummer shared some details about the upcoming country album he made with acclaimed Americana producer/songwriter T Bone Burnett.

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One tidbit Starr revealed is that the record features some percussion not usually associated with the genre.

“I like to laugh, because we were doing an original … country [album], and I put bongos on it,” he said. “And my mind is saying, ‘I can’t wait till they hear this in Nashville.’ ‘Bongos on a country record?!’ So, we’ll see [how they react].”

How His Country Project Came About

Starr explained that the country project came about when he ran into Burnett at an event in Los Angeles that featured George Harrison’s widow, Olivia, reading from the book of poems she wrote for her late husband.

[RELATED: Ringo Starr Talks His New Country Album, Working With T Bone Burnett, and Upcoming Tour]

Ringo said that Burnett asked him what he was up to, and Starr told him he had been working on a series of EPs. He then asked Burnett, “[I]f you’ve got a track for me, why don’t you send the files and we’ll see what we can do.”

Starr noted that the project he’d been working on at the time was focused on pop-oriented material, so he was expecting the type of song Burnett presented to him.

“[H]e sends me this incredibly beautiful country track, ’cause that’s what he does,” Ringo said. “And so, I’ve got the freedom to do whatever I want. So [I went,] ‘Oh, let’s make a country EP.’”

After deciding to do the country project, Starr said he then teamed up with veteran songwriter Gary Burr “and a couple of other people, and … wrote a country song.” The initial plan was for the project to be an EP, like his last several releases, but as more songs came together, Starr noted that it became a “fully fledged record,” with 10 tracks.

About Starr’s 1970 Country Album

The upcoming album won’t be Starr’s first country record. His second solo effort, Beaucoups of Blues, released in 1970, was an original country album that he recorded with Nashville session musicians.

Starr Has Been a Country Fan for a Long Time

Starr said his appreciation of country music dates back to when he was a kid in his hometown of Liverpool.

“I’ve loved country music since I was a lad,” he pointed out during the press conference. “And it was great, loving country music in Liverpool, ’cause it’s a port, and a lot of the guys in Liverpool [would] join the merchant navy to go and see places. And … all the lads that would go to America and [bring back] records.”

Starr Loves Playing a Famous Nashville Venue

Starr also noted that because he’s a country fan, he loves playing the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville with his All Starr Band.

“[W]e played [there] about five times now,” Ringo said. “It’s such a thrill … to be at the Ryman. You know, if you like country music, it’s the place. And … I think the people there know I love country music, and I love Nashville, and I love the Ryman. … So, it’s good.”

About Ringo and His All Starr Band’s 2024 Tour Plans

Ringo and the All Starrs don’t have a show scheduled at the Ryman in 2024, but they will be playing plenty of other concerts this year.

As previously reported, their 2024 tour kicks off on May 22, at The Venetian theater in Las Vegas. The trek’s first leg will feature 12 dates, running through a June 9 concert in Austin, Texas. The Las Vegas gig is part of a six-show residency at The Venetian. The outing also will include two shows in California and June 5-6 stand in Mexico City.

In addition, Starr and his group have nine confirmed concerts in the fall. Those shows are mapped out from a September 12 performance in Omaha, Nebraska, through a September 25 concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York.

Tickets for the shows are available now via various outlets, including StubHub.

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