To follow up 2011’s Got To Get Back!, Memphis soul group The Bo-Keys tried something new–they went back to the classics. On their upcoming album, Heartaches by the Number, the group mixes country, folk and soul music to create a collection of originals and covers that features a throwback sound fit for a honky tonk jukebox. In advance of the album’s release, get an exclusive first listen to the group’s cover of Merle Haggard’s “The Longer You Wait.”
The song, which was originally featured on the late singer’s 1966 album Swinging Doors, was reimagined by The Bo-Keys as a soulful and rootsy jam. With bursts of triumphant horns, country-tinged electric guitar, and its steady, ear-grabbing melody, the track almost sounds like a brass-infused performance by The Band.
“When I was researching and looking for songs for the new Bo-Keys country/soul album I knew I absolutely had to include a Merle Haggard song,” says bassist and band leader Scott Bomar, who also produced the forthcoming record. “Those first albums of his on Capitol are absolute masterpieces. ‘The Longer You Wait’ really jumped out at me and made sense for us to cover. It is a perfect two and a half minute radio single. Our version of the song captures most the “Memphis horns meets pedal steel” hybrid I was looking for when we recorded the album. I had been wanting to get Haggard our version of the song. I would have loved for him to of heard what we did with it.”
Heartaches by the Number officially drops on April 29 on Electrophonic Records via Omnivore Recordings. Check out “The Longer You Wait” below.