Brian Wilson’s Country Album is Half a Century in the Making

Country music is having a moment. Cultural icon Beyoncé just dropped her twangy single “Texas Hold ‘Em,” and alternative pop star Lana del Rey recently announced her upcoming album Lasso by declaring, “We’re going country.”

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Now, it appears Brian Wilson, the brains behind the Beach Boys operation, is next in line for Nashville — although not exactly with new material. The 81-year-old singer has revealed that Cows in the Pasture, his unfinished country-and-western album from 54 years ago, will hit the airwaves in 2025.

Brian Wilson Actually Went Country in 1970

In early 1970, Wilson called Beach Boys manager Fred Vail to discuss an idea he’d had. Vail was stunned when he heard what that idea was. Wilson wanted to produce a country music album, with Vail on lead vocals — the manager’s utter lack of formal singing experience notwithstanding.

[RELATED: 4 Songs You Didn’t Know Brian Wilson Wrote For Other Artists]

Vail, now 79, recalled to Rolling Stone that Wilson told him, “You find the songs. You select the musicians… We’ll start working on the album.”

The pair worked on basic tracks for 14 songs, 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.”

Brian Wilson Abandoned the Project Amid Deteriorating Mental Health

Unfortunately, Wilson’s already declining mental health was exacerbated by the commercial failure of the Beach Boys’ 1970 album Sunflower. The “I Get Around” singer completely withdrew from his bandmates, as well as the project with Vail. Thus began his battles with drug abuse, food addiction, and mental decline.

The lost record became just another legend whispered about among the most diehard of Beach Boys fans. Those fans began, inexplicably, referring to the unfinished album as Cows in the Pasture.

The Resurrection of Brian Wilson’s Cows in the Pasture

Now, Beach Boys enthusiasts will finally get to experience Cows in the Pasture sometime in 2025, when it debuts alongside a four-part docuseries on Vail’s life, Rolling Stone reports. Wilson put his stamp on the project as an executive producer and guest singer on one of the tracks.

“Fred always loved country music and he was a big rodeo guy,” Brian Wilson told Rolling Stone. “He’s a hell of a guy, one hell of a promoter, and I’m glad his album is coming out.”

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