Tom Petty, Merle Haggard, Peter Wolf Prep New Albums

Music fans will have plenty of reasons to reach into their wallets in the upcoming months. Mary Gauthier, Merle Haggard, Tom Petty, and Peter Wolf have each announced a new studio album is on the way.

On April 20, Merle Haggard, no stranger to the recording studio, returns with I Am What I Am, his first-ever disc for Vanguard Records. 12 songs long, it’s being touted as “an inspired effort from a rejuvenated legend.” Among the musicians joining Haggard are his band the Strangers, his son Ben, who plays lead guitar, and his wife Theresa, who duets with the Hag on the uptempo “Live And Love Always.”

Here’s the track list:

1. I’ve Seen It Go Away
2. Pretty When It’s New
3. Oil Tanker Train
4. Live And Love Always
5. The Road To My Heart
6. How Did You Find Me Here
7. We’re Falling In Love Again
8. Bad Actor
9. Down At The End Of The Road
10.Stranger In The City
11. Mexican Bands
12. I Am What I Am

Haggard also appears on Peter Wolf’s new solo album, Midnight Souvenirs, which finds the J. Geils Band frontman sharing a microphone with Neko Case and Shelby Lynne. Midnight Souvenirs is out out April 6 on Verve/UMe.

“Every album of Merle’s is so good,” says Wolf of his legendary guest. “He just encompasses all of the great parts of country music and American music, right from the beginning and he’s still going strong. Recording with Merle is a dream come true for me.”

Midnight Souvenirs is out out April 6 on Verve/UMe. The track list is as follows:

1. Tragedy – with Shelby Lynne.
2. I Don’t Wanna Know
3. Watch Her Move
4. There’s Still Time
5. Lyin’ Low
6. The Green Fields Of Summer – with Neko Case
7. Thick As Thieves
8. I’m Always Asking For You
9. Then It Leaves Us All Behind
10. Overnight Lows
11. Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky
12. Don’t Try To Change Her
13. The Night Comes Down (for Willy DeVille)
14. It’s Too Late For Me – with Merle Haggard

Tom Petty seemed on the verge of retirement at one point, but you can put those rumors to rest. On March 8, Petty and the Heartbreakers will release Mojo, their first album in eight years. You can stream the first single, “Good Enough,” from Petty’s Website, where you’ll also find the dates to his upcoming Spring tour, featuring opening acts like Crosby, Stills and Nash, My Morning Jacket, Drive-By Truckers, Joe Cocker and ZZ Top.

Celebrated singer-songwriter Mary Gauthier’s album promises to be the most personal of the lot. The Foundling, due May 18 from Razor and Tie, was written and recorded over the last two years, and produced by Cowboy Junkies Michael Timmins. It’s an album-long narrative that tells of Gauthier’s experiences as an adopted child.

“I was born to an unwed mother in 1962 and adopted shortly thereafter,” explains Gauthier. “When I was 45 years old, I searched for, found and was denied a meeting with my birth mother. She couldn’t afford to re-open the wound she’d carried her whole life, the wound of surrendering a baby. The Foundling is my story.”

“I envisioned writing a song cycle about relinquishment and adoption, but for years the songs I was trying to write didn’t have an emotional center. When I found my mother, I found the emotional center of the album, as well as the explanation for the ‘orphan feeling’ I’d lived with since I was a child.”

The Foundling is the followup to 2007’s critically-acclaimed Between Daylight and Dark. Gauthier will launch a national tour in May. Check out the dates below:

March 4 Nashville, TN Bluebird Café
April 16 Northampton, MA Iron Horse Music Hall
April 18 Somerville, MA Somerville Theater*
April 20 Larchmont, NY Watercolor Café
April 21 Rosendale, NY Rosendale Café
April 22 New York, NY The Concert Hall*
April 23 Fall River, MA Narrows Center for the Arts
April 25 Indio, CA Stagecoach
May 6 Minneapolis, MN Cedar Cultural Center†
May 7 Cedar Rapids, IA CSPS†
May 8 Chicago, IL Old Town School of Folk Music†
June 13 Bellows Falls, VT Rockingham Meeting House

*Special Guest to Cowboy Junkies
†With Mindy Smith

(additional dates to be announced)

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