This story has been updated.
Well look what we have here. If you’ve been hankering hard for anything Turnpike Troubadours related, it appears your prayers are about to be answered, and in a huge way. Turnpike fiddle player Kyle Nix is preparing to release a solo record, and we’re not talking about some slapped-together bedroom EP.
The Perry, Oklahoma native has been dropping cryptic hints about a new project on his Instagram page for months now, most recently in the past few days with close up images of what appeared to be a painting with no real context or explanation for the images. Back in late November, Nix said, “I’m workin’ hard on a record, man. And today it’s gettin’ pretty dern spaghetti western #tremelo #countrymusic #enniomorricone #turnpiketroubadours.” But since then it’s been more hints and allegations than hard information.
However at some point in the last few days, Kyle Nix switched the link in his Instagram bio from the Turnpike Troubadours site to kylenixmusic.com, which lo and behold, has a pre-order up for a new album called Lightning on the Mountain and Other Short Stories that is due out on June 26th.
Kyle Nix has never sung lead on a Turnpike Troubadours album, and rarely sings on stage aside from harmonies, perhaps leading some to believe he was a fiddle player, and a fiddle player only. But he’s been holding out on us big time. Lightning on the Mountain isn’t just a regular record. It has a whopping 17 tracks, and the LP version is a double vinyl. Kyle Nix not only wrote every song on the record except for one traditional, he made this solo debut conceptualized with deep storytelling, personal accounts, and stories he’s picked up from the road, all presented in a Spaghetti Western theme.
“I’m into Ennio Morricone,” Nix is quoted on his website. “He composed a ton of classic western soundtracks. On the record I applied the spaghetti western theme with instrumentals to imply a front cover, a back cover & picture pages… a short story collection.”
Oh, and possibly the best part is that the backing band is none other than Ryan Engleman, RC Edwards, Gabe Pearson, and Hammerin’ Hank Early—in other words, the Turnpike Troubadours. Recorded in Norman, Oklahoma with Wes Sharon as producer, it also features guest musicians such as Ian Moore, Byron Berline, Kevin Foster (of Jason Eady and Sunny Sweeney fame), and Dan Walker, known for playing keys for Heart.
Folks close to the project are saying this is not meant to replace the Turnpike Troubadours, but is also not meant to be some half-cocked side project either. Kyle Nix is swinging for the fences here, and putting himself out there as a serious singer and songwriter to go along with his reputation as one of the most revered fiddle players in country music. And from the snippets I’ve heard so far and the lyric sheets available on his website, Kyle Nix has been Turnpike’s secret weapon this whole time.
“Kyle Nix’s new album is an inspired and relevant work that easily takes it’s place at the forefront of red dirt music,” a quote from Jason Boland reads on Nix’s website. “The performances, lyrics, and production are downright amazing on these must listen tunes.”
Folks who were following the Turnpike Troubadours right before their indefinite hiatus can attest that Kyle Nix found another gear in the turmoil, doing what he could from his capacity as a side man to help hold the thing together, and give performances that extra boost. It’s that same passion that he appears to have brought to this project.
Don’t be surprised if there’s some official announcement on the album soon, along with a debut single, and if serve holds, even more surprises. Kyle Nix and Lightning on the Mountain and Other Short Stories just became one of the most anticipated releases of 2020.
Pre-Order Kyle Nix’s Lightning on the Mountain
3. Lightning on the Mountain
4. Sweet Delta Rose
5. Prelude: Meet Your Match
7. Blue Eyes
8. Shelby ’65
10. The Wolf at the Door
11. Little Miss Jones
12. Good Girl Down The Road
13. If Ruby Ain’t Happy
14. Woman of Steel
15. Lonesome For You (Widower, Pt.2)
16. Old Joe Clark
17. Reprise: Hacia El Ocaso