Dr. John’s Final Studio Album, ‘Things Happen That Way,’ is Out Now

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Dr. John’s final studio album, Things Happen That Way, is out now.

Prior to his death, legendary New Orleans songwriter and performer Dr. John, born Malcolm Rebennack Jr., previously spoke about wanting to make a country and western album to pay homage to the musicians and songwriters whose songs had a profound and enduring effect on him over the course of his six-decade career.

He was in the process of realizing that goal when his life ended after a fatal heart attack three years ago. Now, that album had been released and it will be available on vinyl on October 14.

As Executrix of his estate, Rebennack’s eldest daughter Karla Pratt was entrusted with the task of seeing the album through to completion.

“Though it’s very sad that my father isn’t here to see this project that meant so much to him finally be out in the world, I take great comfort in knowing that we fulfilled his long-held wishes,” said Pratt. “During his lifetime he frequently stated his desire to record this album with his dear, lifelong friend Willie Nelson and Willie’s son, Lukas Nelson, as treasured guest artists—he felt having two generations would be very special, spanning past and future.

“Though he didn’t get to work with Lukas during his lifetime, I’m very happy to know we were able to make that happen. Another lifelong friend, Aaron Neville, lends the instantly recognizable, beautiful voice he always admired. We’re so grateful to the many musicians who contributed to this album, and I’m confident that Dad would be very proud of the final result.”

With one of the most recognizable voices in American music, Dr. John was known for his studio work, live performances, and soundtracking films like the 2009 Disney movie, The Princess and the Frog. He was a staple at Mardi Gras festivals in Crescent City.

Dr. John passed away in 2019 at the age of 77.

Check out one of the songs from Things Happen That Way below.

Photo by Sandrine Lee / Courtesy Rounder

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