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More Info:In the summer of 1997, Kris Kristofferson spent a few days in Texas recording stripped-down versions of his best-known songs. Released by Atlantic Records in 1999, The Austin Sessions pairs the acclaimed outlaw country songwriter with a band of studio aces and guest harmony vocalists for intimate versions of classics like "Me and Bobby McGee," "Why Me?" and "Sunday Morning Coming Down."
Rhino Records celebrates these powerful recordings with an expanded version of the album that features remastered sound and includes two unreleased session outtakes. Fred Mollin, who produced the original album, tells the story behind the sessions in the collection's liner notes, which also feature several unpublished photos from the time.
Kristofferson recorded The Austin Sessions at Arlyn Studios in Texas with a group of session veterans from Los Angeles and Nashville who were hand-picked by Mollin, who also plays acoustic guitar on the album. Kristofferson's longtime touring guitarist Stephen Bruton appears on several songs as well.
Mollin recalls: "I knew in my heart that I could pull off a great under-produced production and give Kris the album he always wanted to make: one that felt like it had the uniqueness and rootsy feeling that Dylan accomplished on his early electric albums."
Several guests join Kristofferson on the album, including Jackson Browne ("Me And Bobby McGee"), Steve Earle ("Sunday Morning Coming Down"), Vince Gill ("Help Me Make It Through The Night"), Catie Curtis ("Nobody Wins"), and Mark Knopfler ("Please Don't Tell Me How The Story Ends").
Left off the original album, "Best Of All Possible Worlds" and "Jody And The Kid" make their debut on the expanded version. Mollin says the songs show different sides of Kristofferson' songwriting. "One is lighthearted, dry, sarcastic and one of the greatest examples of Kris' humor and storytelling, while the other is just deeply emotional and shows the true aching heart that can be felt like an arrow, from Kris to the listener."