I’ve got good news and bad news for ya.
The good news is, Koe Wetzel is likely putting out a new album this year. And the bad news is, or maybe disappointing is the better word, it’s probably not going to be that elusive full-blown country record he’s been teasing for quite a while now.
Of course, Koe put out Hell Paso last fall, which I loved, and it felt like the most complete project, if you will, that he’s ever done. From a production standpoint, it encapsulated that perfect blend of country, rock and grunge that it seems like he’s noted he’s been trying for on all of his previous albums.
Hell Paso is just the refined, perfected version of that… and that’s not to say I don’t love all his older songs, they’re some of my favorites, but he’s certainly honed his craft over the years, and it was apparent on the project.
But I can’t lie to all of y’all and say that I didn’t hold on to a little bit of hope that Koe might go full-on George Strait on us for 12 or 13 tracks.
In an interview with KLAQ, El Paso’s rock radio station recently, Koe noted that he didn’t quite pen the pure country songs he’d planned on during a writing trip at the Sonic Ranch earlier this year:
“So I went out there to write, I talked about making a country record.
But got out there, and I don’t know if I’ve been away from country for too long or what it was, but it was a lot harder to write a country song than I remember it being.
We wrote a lot of good music out there, but I’ve just been working on this sound for the last five or six years… so I think I did a 180.”
And he echoed that sentiment in another recent interview with KTBZ, Houston’s rock and alternative radio station, adding that he wants to stick with the twangy, punk, grunge/rock sound that we heard on Hell Paso.
Koe didn’t close the door to making a true country record down the road, though, joking that if he lives “to be 50 years old,” that might be a better time for that sort of project.
And lastly, he said he’s planning to hit the studio as soon as he gets a break from his current Road to Hell Paso tour that he actually just added a second leg to for the fall:
“I don’t really know what the future holds, we have a lot of cool demos and stuff that’s going on. It’s weird, you know, I’m hung on this sound that we’ve created over the last five or six years. I don’t want to lose that.
You know, country music will always be there, I’ll always be able to go back. If I live to be 50 years old, I can sit up on a stool and play some country music. I don’t want what we have going on right now to go away.
We’re just writin’ that stuff right now, hopefully get a new record out by summertime or past summertime and see where everything goes.”
He previously told us on the podcast last year that if did happen to get out there, start writing a country album, and it didn’t feel right, that he would scrap it. I’d say if you’re reading between the lines here, so to speak, that’s basically what happened.
Koe actually had some great country writers with him at the Sonic Ranch working with him, from Wade Bowen and Randy Rogers to Ernest and Ben Burgess, so while it might not be “country” in the purest sense of the term, I think we can expect some great stuff from him at some point in 2023.
And actually, I’m kind of glad Koe’s sticking with this blend of sounds, because he’s damn near created his own genre at this point, and that’s what makes him so unique and enthralling to so many fans who love his music.
You can check out both interviews below:
I mean, let’s be honest… we do need more like this: