Such searing, contemplative songs as "Closer to the Bone" and "Hall of Angels" gained a melancholy resonance in the days following the completion of sessions for the album. On May 9, 2009, Bruton one of Kris closest friends and musical associates for four decades died in Los Angeles at the age of 60 after a long battle with throat cancer. The album is dedicated to his memory.
"He was there while I was recording, and he was in great spirits at the time," Kris says of Bruton, who replaced Billy Swan in his band at the age of 20. "Stephen was more like a brother than a guy that worked with me. We went through a lot of years, a lot of laughter, a lot of heartache. I really felt close to Stephen. His spirits on the album."
Was says of Brutons unique contributions to Kris sound, "He and Kris just had a lock that Kris is never going to be able to get with anybody. Its what comes from 40 years of playing together. They just had a way of weaving together."
Kris New West albums mark the culmination of a distinguished career that has encompassed the authorship of such classic American songs as "Me and Bobby McGee," "Sunday Morning Coming Down," and "Help Me Make It Through the Night"; stardom in such feature films as "Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid" and "A Star is Born"; honors including three Grammy Awards and a Golden Globe Award; and years of outspoken political and social activism. This November, he will be feted as a BMI Icon at the performing rights organizations Country Awards.
In the wake of the rave reviews accorded This Old Road, the now 73-year-old performer has undertaken a vigorous schedule of international solo appearances.
Kris says, "I was overseas doing a film when I got the opportunity to work in Ireland, and I didnt have time to martial the troops. So I went out by myself, and it worked. Ive been really surprised at selling out the shows everywhere. People are filling up the houses.
"Something was making a direct communication with the audience," he adds, "and I guess it must be down to the essence of the songs. Because God knows, theres better guitar players and singers. But it seems to be working with my material -- just me and the song."